Fight for your marriage — even if everyone tells you not to
Do you want your marriage to work, but you don’t know how? You know staying together is the right thing to do, but everything about our society makes it easier to give up and move on. Even the way people talk about marriage makes you question whether staying together is worth it:
“It’s just a signed piece of paper.”
“If you don’t like being married, just get a divorce. It’s that simple.”
It is easy for someone else to tell you to quit when the going gets tough, but only you are responsible for your decisions. And if you’ll choose to fight for your marriage, God will fight with you.
Throughout the Bible, God is described as our help, our shield, our fortress, and our strength. And in Psalm 33, the Bible promises that “the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love...”
Why God Wants You to Fight for Your Marriage
We know God wants us to fight for our marriages because marriage was His idea.
After making the earth, the animals, and man, God decided it was not good for Adam to be alone. So God created a woman, and at the first wedding ceremony in history, He introduced Adam to Eve (Genesis 2:18-25).
Adam describes his wife as “bones and flesh of my flesh,” and they were united as one.
Thousands of years later, Jesus reminds His followers that marriage has always been more than a contract with God:
“Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate” (Matthew 19:5-6).
Marriage is a commitment between one man and one woman before God to spend a lifetime loving and serving each other for God’s glory. The covenant we make in marriage was designed to mirror the unconditional, unshakeable covenant between Jesus and us (Ephesians 5:22-33). That’s why fighting for our marriage matters so much to God.
When we pursue our spouses, we are making the choice to put Jesus first in our lives. We’re choosing to trust that God’s design for marriage will exceed our own expectations.
How to Fight for Your Marriage
1. Never give up.
Every marriage experiences difficulty. Those trials are meant to deepen our love for our spouse — just as trials are meant to deepen our relationship with Christ (1 Corinthians 7:28).
If the trials seem like more than you can bear on your own, it’s OK to ask for help. Consider meeting with a professional counselor or opening up to an older, married couple who can help you through hard times.
Any good relationship takes dedication, commitment, and communication. We have to want our marriage to be great and to want to strive to make it better — no matter our circumstances.
2. Fight for your marriage, not in it.
The more you invest in your marriage, the more valuable it will be- come to you. What you invest in and value, you will fight for. Two ways to know you’re fighting for your marriage and not in it:
- Focus on yourself and what needs to change in you before pointing out what needs to change about your spouse.
- Try to not use the word “you” when you’re arguing. Instead, focus more on the word “I.” For example, “I know I have been doing this, and I am sorry,” instead of, “You know you shouldn’t do that, and you need to apologize.”
Taking responsibility for your part of the problem eliminates a lot of fighting “in” your marriage. This is how you demonstrate your desire to make a difference.
3. Guard your marriage.
God is constantly drawing people to Himself, and one day, Jesus will return to Earth to put an end to our world’s sin and brokenness (Revelation 21:4). But in the meantime, Satan will do anything he can, including attack marriages, in an effort to make Christians ineffective and distract non-Christians from Jesus’ offer of salvation.
Marriages are vulnerable to Satan because they are valuable to God. If Satan can create disunity between a husband and wife, he can cause believers and non-believers alike to question God’s good design for relationships.
Satan’s first language is deceit, creating doubts like “Does he really mean it when he says ‘I love you’?” One of the best ways to guard your marriage against Satan’s attacks is to guard your mind.
When Satan tries to get you to question your spouse, remember the apostle Paul’s advice: “...whatever is true, whatever is noble, what- ever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things” (Philippians 4:8).
4. Pursue your spouse.
The more you feed something, the faster it grows. The more you starve it, the faster it dies. Pursuing your spouse is how you feed your marriage.
Just like a healthy plant has deep roots that help it withstand droughts, cold fronts, and all sorts of storms, a healthy marriage is deeply rooted in love, allowing it to withstand all kinds of conflict. Peter, one of Jesus’ close friends, reminds us of this writing, “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8).
So what does loving each other deeply look like? Ask your spouse what makes him or her feel loved. Then, do what he or she says. Be intentional about making your spouse your first priority after Jesus, remembering that what you feed with your time and attention is what will grow. If you want your marriage to be stronger than your career, feed it more than your job. If you want your relationship to be strong after the kids move away, put it first in your family.
5. Pray for your marriage, for your spouse, and for yourself.
Prayer is a vital role in fighting for your marriage. It is a weapon Satan cannot stand up to. Prayer aligns your actions with God’s will, strengthening your obedience and faith to overcome your selfishness.
As you pray for your spouse and yourself, ask God to help you see your spouse through His eyes and to help you fix the things you need to become more like Jesus. Let God transform you, while trusting Him to do the same for your spouse (Romans 12:9-12).