Dr. Rogers once said, “The greatest miracle of love is not ‘love at first sight,’ it’s love after a long, long look! Marriage is that long, long look. There’s no better advice for couples today than to submit to the Lordship of Christ in their home.” In this article he shares six secrets from God’s Word to develop a lasting love.
1. Fortify Faith
Build each other up in the faith. Ecclesiastes 4:12 says “a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” A three-fold cord is a man, a woman, and God. God must be first in your life and hers. If God is first in your life, your wife will be even more secure in your love. You can love her more by putting her second than you ever could by putting her first.
2. Remember Roles
God made us different that He might make us one (see 1 Peter 3:1, 7). He made the husband with a hard exterior and the wife more gentle — but not inferior. The husband is the head of the home, as Jesus is the head of the church and gave Himself for it (Ephesians 5:23-25). It is servant, not dictator, leadership. There is no male superiority and female inferiority when it comes to God. Most women won’t mind submitting to a man who loves her enough to die for her and shows it by the way he lives for her.
3. Cultivate Contentment
Learn that you can do without anything except God, one another, and the basic necessities of life. Joyce and I decided to get married after our first year in college. We worked our way through school and did a lot of doing without. But we were happy.
A wise man once said, “To whom little is not enough, nothing is enough.” If you’re not careful, your marriage is going to be until “debt” do us part. Learn to be content (see Philippians 4:11-12).
Every home is going to be attacked. Ours has; yours will, too. There are no problems too big to solve, just people too small to solve them. If we would banish bitterness and attack the problem rather than one another, our families would be a lot better off. Don’t go to bed angry with your backs to each other. Ephesians 4:26 says, “Be angry and do not sin: do not let the sun go down on your wrath.” Joyce and I have tried to practice that. Sometimes we’ve stayed up for three nights in a row, but we have worked through our bitterness!
Communication is so important because it is truly what builds intimacy in marriage. 1 Peter 3:8-10 has much to say about the communication a couple needs to have in order to enjoy a lasting love. Joyce and Adrian are very different. We took a psychological profile — the very areas I was the highest in, she’s lowest in. In many ways we are total opposites. Yet this is typical. What attracts two people before marriage is often what drives us crazy afterwards.
Have a good date life. There are three kinds of dates every spouse should keep: a daily date with God; a regular date with each child (if there are children); and a regular date-night with each other.
Keep the love light burning. So many couples stop courting one another after they marry. Never let it end. Compliment one another. Because I am a man, I have more to say to men about what they can do to keep romance alive. Men, never cease flirting with your wife and never flirt with any other woman. Keep your wife “first” above all other women. Respect and be courteous to her at all times. Open the door for her — and not just when people are looking.
1 Peter 3:7 tells the husband to “…dwell with them with understanding…that your prayers may not be hindered.” (emphasis mine).
Joyce and I started out our marriage praying together and continue it this way, praying in the mornings for each of our children and grandchildren by name because we know the Bible says, “Unless the LORD builds the house, They labor in vain who build it; Unless the LORD guards the city, The watchman stays awake in vain.” (Psalm 127:1).
To the men who may be reading this, let me say that most men don’t want to pray with women because we have a hard outer shell. But husband, I implore you to humble yourself. Get down on your knees with your wife and practice prayer. Let her know you are praying for her. Let her hear you pouring out your heart before God. It will give her great confidence and comfort.If you are married or are contemplating marriage, prayerfully ask God to enable you to do these things. In doing so, you will be creating a love that will last.
When we come to Him in repentance and faith, we are empowered-and expected-to live the Christian life not by trying, but by trusting. Faith is not only how we receive salvation, it is how we walk, day by day, in grace. Only by faith can we extend forgiveness to others, share God's truth, and leave a godly legacy. As the tapestry of your life unfolds, may you begin to see the wonders of living each day, moment by moment, a life of faith and forgiveness.