Written by: Stephen and Emeline Bellaire.
"Did I Marry the Right Person?" Those were the words I (Stephen) had rushing through my mind like a freight train on New Year’s Day at 12:30 AM. I did not sleep a wink that night. I was in anguish and in total survival mode.
I (Emeline) was feeling uncomfortable around my husband that night. Disappointed and sad about my discomfort around him, I couldn’t figure out why I was feeling this way. I was in total survival mode.
Have you ever felt this way?
Maybe you've been left wondering how to know if you've married the right person? Maybe you’re realizing it was easy to fall in love with your spouse, but much more difficult to maintain a healthy and successful marriage when real life sinks in.
Many marriages are stuck in survival mode. Yet, Jesus said, “The thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy. I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10, NIV).
The question is, how do we have “life to the full?” How do we thrive? What's the key to maintaining a healthy marriage long term?
We believe a thriving and happy marriage has healthy rhythms: Rest, Community, & Discipleship. There are many healthy rhythms to help married couples thrive, but we will dive deeply into these three specifically.
God is supreme in the rhythm of rest. In Genesis 2, it says “God rested from all His work” (2:2, NIV). Although taking a nap or relaxing on the couch are good ways to rest together, rest doesn’t always have to look like “doing nothing.” You can rest through recreational activities such as playing a game, a walk in the park, or watching a movie. Find something you both like doing and do it together!
Implementing a regular date night is a great way to make space for rest and encourage a healthy relationship. Fancy and extravagant are not required to spend time together. A restful date night is always full of “presence.” It’s about the full presence of each other and the presence of God. You could go on a picnic, go stargazing, or drive down back roads singing your favorite songs (we prefer classic Disney love songs). The point of a date is to simply have fun, spend quality time together and enjoy one another!
Taking vacations with just your spouse can be a refreshing and bonding time for a marriage. Having extended time away from the chaos of everyday life is a great way to become closer to your spouse. It can be hard to get away for a long time, but even if it’s just for a weekend, it’s worth it.
Marriage was meant to thrive in the context of community. Hebrews 10:24-25 says, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
Consistent time in a community of Christians transforms us and our marriages to look more like God does. Participating in and contributing to a group of followers helps us to live out our identity as the family of God. We can’t give up on this!
A thriving marriage has solid friendships outside of the marriage that help foster accountability and discipleship. As we are life-on-life, we will see the brokenness in ourselves, our marriages, and one another. The good news is, Jesus’ presence and power are always available to us to live like a healthy family.
A thriving marriage is always in the process of discipleship within the community. Discipleship can be defined as the increase in obedience and worship of Jesus Christ. What does God use to increase our worship and obedience to Himself? He uses our whole life. Our communication, calendars, finances, fun, work...the list goes on and on! Do we see our marriages as a representation of what God is like?
There is a huge difference between thriving and surviving in a marriage. When God created marriage, He created us to be one with each other. Not just physically, but emotionally and spiritually too! He created us this way because He knew that when we are one with each other, we can bring Him the most glory and live in His abundant blessing here on earth and into eternity. Creating healthy rhythms in your marriage will help you grow, increase in the fruit of the Spirit, and bring you and your spouse closer to the unity and oneness that God intended for you.
Christian Family Life is a marriage discipleship ministry. We are here to offer resources and support no matter what condition your marriage is in. Our passion is to Build, Enrich, and Reconcile Marriages. Find out more at https://www.christianfamilylife.com/
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