What a Christian Marriage Really Looks LikeJackie Bledsoe
If you’ve been a reader of my articles here on Babble as well as on my site, you will notice a guiding theme when it comes to my beliefs on love, relationships, and marriage. That guiding theme is my Christian beliefs. These beliefs shape my views, come out in my writing, and I believe they contribute to the success of my marriage.
I understand not everybody feels the same when it comes to Christians in general, or Christian beliefs guiding a marriage. That’s fine by me, and I respect how others live their lives and function in their relationships. But as for me and my marriage…we will put in practice what we believe the Bible says about marriage.
For 12 years that practice has formed our marriage. It has kept us together, strong, and thriving. Unfortunately this is not true for all according to divorce rate statistics. The statistics appear to show Christian marriages end in divorce just as much as non-Christian marriages. What’s the deal with that?
This Your Tango article, “A Christian Look at Marriage: It’s Not What You Think,” sheds a little light on the reason this happens. It reveals the couples that actually practice their faith have a lower divorce rate then the general population. So, Christian marriages with 50% divorce rates don’t actually function according to the principles they believe set them apart. So, the divorce studies seem to be wrong.
But what exactly does a real Christian marriage look like? Below is what a marriage looks like when the principles of Christianity are put into practice.
What a Christian Marriage Really Looks Like 1 of 13
Christian married couples attend church weekly 2 of 13
Weekly church attendance is a staple in our family. The practice of worship, praying, and learning more about the principles which guide our lives helps to bring us together.
photo credit: Flickr
Christian spouses pray individually and as a couple 3 of 13
Our relationship can go as our prayer life goes. Coming together for a time of prayer brings another level of intimate connection. We also do our best to pray when we aren't too happy with each other. It is hard to kneel down in prayer, and finish still angry at the other person.
Christian married couples enjoy family meals together 4 of 13
Breaking bread is a big part of the Christian walk. Many families today, Christian and non-christian, do not make a habit of sitting down and having regular meals together. The dinner table at our house is where everything goes down: school, work, conversation, financial meetings, problem solving, and mostly eating. We know at some point each day we are going to meet around our dinner table to enjoy a nice meal, and some conversation.
Christian married couples hate divorce and live like it 5 of 13
The Bible says God hates divorce, so we take that very seriously in our relationship -- we take the same approach. We are not judging anyone who has experienced divorce, but we have agreed to not allow it in any way into our marriage. This stance of "hating divorce" was one of the things that shaped our marriage early on, and still does today. Seeing other marriages experience the pain of divorce is something that has hurt us deeply over the years, especially when it has happened to those close to us.
Christian marriages put spouses before kids 6 of 13
Some parents can't fathom the idea of putting anybody before their kids. Your kids came from you -- you created them, so it is difficult to do this. But practicing making your spouse the top priority won't leave your kids neglected. It will actually be better for your kids.
Christian married couples show respect at all times 7 of 13
I have seen many married couples that have no respect for one another; they blatantly disrespect each other in public, so I can only imagine what happens in private. This will tear a marriage down faster than anything. Treating your spouse with respect at home, in public, and all the time has to happen in order for your marriage to make it. The goal of both spouses should be to make the other look good and feel good at all times.
Christian married couples make the marriage a priority 8 of 13
Marriage retreats, couples small groups, marriage counseling, and marriage classes are things we've participated in regularly since we've been married. What we've learned about marriage, about one another, and others who have experience similar things in marriage has caused our marriage to grow and last.
Christian marriages are confident in marital decisions and choices 9 of 13
Some of you reading this article may think everything I have said is crazy, off-base, or just doesn't work. Some of our views and beliefs about marriage and life in general seem radical to some, even close family members. We understand not everyone will understand, nor agree with the way we function in our marriage. But our concern is not what other people or other couples think, it's about one another, and our kids. We make choices we believe will serve our marriage and family best, and don't waver. We expect the good to come from it.
Christian couples function as one, not two individuals 10 of 13
Yes, we are two individuals, but in our marriage, we function as one. When I hurt, she hurts. When she looks and does well, I look and do well. Losing their individuality is what scares some people away from marriage -- they think they'll lose who they are. The Bible says the two shall become one, so rejecting this principle is one way to prevent your marriage from becoming all God intended it to be.
Christian marriages practice regular fellowship with other couples 11 of 13
We currently meet once per month with two different small groups. Our marriage feeds off these interactions, and we grow closer through this fellowship. Several years ago, we learned the power of this as we regularly met with a group of married couples. Several of the couples who didn't continue to attend fellowship didn't make it in their marriages. We believe staying with the group brought a level of accountability to each couple. When that was no longer there, the couples made decisions they may not have made with other husbands and wives there to help them.
Christian couples view marriage as a ministry 12 of 13
Early in our marriage, it was just about making it -- trying to not become a statistic while trying to figure out how this marriage thing works. Since then, we've gone through several stages of marriage. I call them The 7 Rings of Marriageâ„¢. The seventh ring is called the MentoRING, and this is where your marriage becomes bigger than you and your spouse. We didn't realize marriage could be a ministry early on, but now it is a large part of our marriage as we hope to encourage, inspire, teach, and help other marriages. When you realize your marriage impacts others, it changes the game.
Christian marriaged couples make mistakes, but forgive 13 of 13
Every single day, I make mistakes in our marriage. Every single day, well maybe every other day, my wife makes mistakes in our marriage. But as Christians, we understand forgiveness and unconditional love, as Jesus Christ is our model. Practicing this may be the most important difference in any marriage that makes it, versus those that don't.
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Photo credits: JackieBledsoe.com