Despite premarital Christian counseling, my husband and I dove right into our marriage with the deep-seated, albeit hidden, belief that the other partner existed to make us deliriously happy. And we had a miserable first six years as I focused on all the things my husband wasn't doing to usher in the wedded bliss I expected. Little did I know he was doing the same.
After some desperately needed counseling from our pastor, who kindly didn't say, "I told you so," we finally understood what he tried to tell us before we got married! Turns out, God's plan for a husband and wife hasn't changed.
Having been married nearly 24 (mostly happy) years, I love to search the Bible to see how it applies to my marriage. Not long ago, I was studying the 12 "one another" verses in the New Testament. Applying them to my marriage has greatly benefited our relationship, drawing us closer to one another—and closer to God in the process.
As husband and wife, I learned that we are to be …
Members of one another (see Romans 12:5). Paul used a unique human-body illustration to help us understand that we need one another to function effectively (see 1 Corinthians 12:12-27). No member of Christ's body is more important than another. Proper marriage fellowship works the same way and creates unity.
My husband and I are learning to recognize how we truly do complement one another. We spend more time appreciating one another's gifts and talents. I am a better person because of my husband.
- Tackle household projects together as a team.
- Spend time getting to know your spouse better (trust me, there's always more to learn!).
- Recognize your spouse's spiritual gifts.
- Every day, encourage one another to use spiritual gifts.
Devoted to one another (see Romans 12:10). Most families are devoted to one another—the family of God should be no different. This "family" concept that Paul talked about gives us a greater appreciation of what the church—and marriage—should be.
My husband regularly expresses his love for me, even in front of his boss. Recently his boss commented, "I can't believe people actually talk to their wives that way." I found the comment very sad, considering this person is married.
- Recognize your spouse as a fellow believer in Christ.
- Don't exclude the other from personal hobbies or interests.
- Look out for each other—put your spouse's interests ahead of your own.
- Be a loyal, faithful friend—let your spouse know, "I've got your back!"