Great Marriages Take Work
by Contributing Author Lisa Osteen Comes
You know the saying, “Marriages are made in Heaven, but they sure take a lot of maintenance on earth!” It is so true, not only about marriages, but with all relationships. Great relationships take work and they’re worth the work.
God designed us for relationships. The most important thing in your life, besides your relationship with God, is the people in your life—your mate, children, and friends. You can have everything, but if you lack good relationships, you will be unfulfilled and lonely. On the other hand, you can have very little, but if you have friends and fulfilling relationships, you are rich.
It’s sad to say, but many people only know what it’s like to have dysfunctional relationships. There are homes that know only strife, stress, and lack of communication, but God has so much more for you. He gave you your family to enjoy.
In ministry I have counseled with people who go from one relationship to another seeking the perfect companion or mate. They can’t seem to maintain their relationships, bailing out whenever conflict occurs; later learning there is no perfect relationship.
Let’s face it—relationships can be high maintenance. If we are going to have meaningful, healthy relationships in our lives we need:
- God’s wisdom
- A willingness to invest time and effort into them
- An understating of the dynamics of relationships
Let me share some helpful principles from God’s Word that will enable you to stay connected in your relationships.
1. Work on being more patient, understanding, and compassionate: Ephesians 4:32
It is very tempting to be more patient with people outside our home than it is with those closest to us. I think it’s because we take our family members for granted. If we are not careful, we even vent our stress and “dump” our anger on the very ones we love the most. Let’s not forget that our mate and children are the most precious gifts we have. One time I was praying that God would change one of my children and He spoke to my heart and said, Your child is not the one that needs to change. You need to be more patient. That was very enlightening and this one thought changed my whole perspective on parenting.
2. Don’t go to bed angry: Ephesians 4:26
When you don’t follow this principle, the problem usually becomes magnified and blown way out of proportion. Additionally, anger builds up if you don’t deal with the issue in a timely manner. Instead, after you have allowed yourself to calm down, talk things out and make peace. You can always agree to disagree.
3. Lighten Up: Proverbs 17:22
A merry heart is like medicine and it is contagious. Don’t be too serious all of the time. Remember to laugh, play, and have fun with the people in your life every day. And don’t forget to say I love you every day! Those are words that never get old.
4. Avoid touchy subjects: Proverbs 15:1
You know what they are: politics, in-laws, how you hang the toilet paper! Some things just aren’t worth the strife! When possible, steer conversations away from such subjects and focus on positive, encouraging communication.
5. Accept people for who they are: Ephesians 2:10
We all have different personalities, gifts, talents, and needs. Many times we try to meet other’s needs according to what we like and need, but Ephesians 4:29 encourages us to build people up according their own needs. Study the people in your life and find out what pleases them and how you can help meet their unique needs.
6. Be quick to forgive: Colossians 3:13
Take it a step farther and let it go! My Dad used to say that he and my mother argued from the neck up. That meant that they never let anything get into their heart. Instead of holding mistakes against each other, choose to forgive and move on. You will find that this decision will bring great healing and freedom to you. James 2:13 reminds us that mercy always triumphs over judgment.
7. Recognize strife when it arises and stop it before it gets out of hand: Proverbs 17:14
Psalm 34:12-14 says, Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days, keep your tongue from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. You can put a stop to strife by acting on this Scripture:
- Control your tongue.
- Do good to each other.
- Seek peace and pursue it.
8. Be a peacemaker: James 3:18
Decide that you are going to be a peacemaker in your marriage, in your home, in the office, and everywhere you go. It is a choice that we make. Ephesians 4:2-3 admonishes us to be completely humble, gentle, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to keep unity and peace.
9. Develop the art of listening: James 1:19
More than anything, most people want to be heard. Many times all a friend or child or spouse needs is a listening ear. I will never forget one day I was multi-tasking as my daughter was talking to me. She kindly, but firmly took my chin in her hand and said, Mommy, listen to me and look at me. Needless to say, I stopped and gave her my full attention. It was a reminder to me that I need to make a better effort to not only listen, but to give my full attention and concern to the one who is talking.
10. Pray for one another: Romans 12:12
I have found that relationships are easier when I am praying earnestly for people. My perspective changes and I begin to see the person through God’s eyes. Let your loved ones and friends know that you care enough to spend time in prayer for them. Make sure they know you accept them, approve of them, and desire God’s best for them.
All successful relationships require time and effort. Make it your goal to apply these spiritual principles in your daily life, asking God to help you be the mate, parent, and friend that He desires.
Lisa Osteen Comes is associate pastor at Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, the largest church in the United States.
Well known for her practical, easy-to-understand messages, she is no stranger to the ordinary. She’s survived both a birth defect and a mail bomb explosion that made headlines around the world, and she has overcome many other challenges with hope and optimism. She speaks to Lakewood and thousands viewing its services via broadcasts around the world.
She and her husband, Kevin, live in Houston with their three children, Catherine, Caroline, and Christopher.
For more about Lisa’s latest activities, to read her blog, and to sign up to receive her free Inbox Inspiration emails, visit her website: www.lisacomes.com. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.
You can also view highly informative programs in our media center by clicking below:
If you liked this article you might also like: