The Ten: Biblical principles for a happy marriage

Tips to help a marriage last a lifetime.

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1. Work to keep Christ at the centre of your relationship

Hearts that are genuinely filled with God’s love won’t stay angry for long. Actively seeking Him—both individually and as a couple—is the greatest thing you can do to maintain a strong marriage (Psalm 127:1).

2. Create a new family unit with your spouse

When you get married, it’s important to create a home together and learn to navigate life’s responsibilities as “one flesh”. Finding independence and forging a family culture of your own is important (Genesis 2:24), even in cultures where you may not physically leave your parents’ home (or they join yours).

3. Learn to pray together

The Bible encourages us to pray together (Matthew 26:41; James 5:16). This practice allows your spouse to see and understand what is on your heart and will help you to remember what you prayed for, which may help you see His answers more clearly.

4. Spending quality one-on-one time together

The Bible encourages men to praise their wives, and wives to please their husbands (Proverbs 31:28; 1 Corinthians 17:34). It goes without saying that doing this requires intentionality and spending quality time together.

5. Guard and manage your thoughts

The Bible warns us that our thoughts can become self-fulfilling prophecies (Proverbs 4:23, 23:7). Often, it’s not life’s circumstances that affect our emotional wellbeing, it’s how we think about those circumstances. The devil loves to tempt us with negative thoughts or make us discontented in our relationships, so identifying and constructively reframing those thoughts is important.

6. Try to find balance and order

Overwork can take a toll on your marriage, as can laziness. Being overworked can lead to eating poorly and lack of sleep, causing you to become moody and difficult to live with. But laziness can also lead to resentment from your spouse. It’s important to find a balance between hard work and relaxation in the day to day (1 Corinthians 9:25-27;
2 Thessalonians 3:10; Proverbs 31).

7. Never go to bed angry

The Bible is very specific about warning us not to go to “let the sun go down on our anger” (Ephesians 4:26). This is especially important when you’re sharing the same bed!

8. Speak kind and uplifting words to one another

Even when arguments arise, it is possible to resolve conflict with mutual respect and gentle words. This requires active listening, not jumping to conclusions or shutting down your spouse with harsh words and may even require some time apart before speaking to each other (Proverbs 15:1; Ecclesiastes 9:9).

9. Don’t nag or criticise each other

King Solomon likens a nagging, criticising or angry wife to being tortured (Proverbs 27:15) and says it is better to dwell in the wilderness than to be around her (Proverbs 21:19). Expecting perfection from your spouse is often a sign of deeper discontentment in Christ. Remember it is He who promises to fill your needs, not your spouse!

10. Be reasonable with money

Money is a necessity for living and can cause a lot of stress when not managed appropriately. Sharing a bank account allows couples to deepen trust but may also cause issues when there is a lack of communication. Both spouses should mutually agree on their roles in budgeting and managing finances, and it is important to take intentional time to communicate about money (1 Corinthians 13:4,5; 2 Corinthians 9:7).

What are your secrets to a healthy marriage? How do you stay connected with each other and God? We’d love to hear from you!