March 14, 2019

5 Foundational Keys to a Thriving Marriage

By Derrick D’souza

    By Pastor Derrick D’souza

In this post, I want to share with you five things that God has taught me in my marriage that has helped me understand and enjoy this beautiful covenant of love.

1/ Follow the First-Button Policy

Your personal relationship with Jesus will determine your level of joy, happiness, enjoyment and success of your marriage. Jesus needs to be at the Center of it all. My wife and I follow the First Button Policy – You need to put the first button right on your shirt, in order for the other buttons to fall in place. Similarly for everything else – marriage, finances, career, children etc to fall in place, you got to put Jesus first in your life. The Bible says in Matthew 6:33, Seek ye first the kingdom of God and its righteousness and everything else will be added unto you.

We counsel many believers who are going through problems in their marriage. And all we hear is now no one understands me, no one loves me, cannot connect anymore, always arguing, etc the list goes on and on. At the root of all these issues is a lack of receiving love from God and hence one cannot give each other what one has not first received. 1 John 4:19 says, We love because He first loved us.

2/ Don’t focus on changing each other

You get married because you love one another and not because you want to change one another. You are not called to change one another or make each other your personal project of change. You can only love and love, love and love and only loving will bring the change you desire so greatly. One may ask how much should I love and forgive, the Bible says 70 times 7. It means to accept one another with all your positives and negatives and allow only LOVE to lead the way.

The only person you can change is YOU; the others you are called to love.
Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God (Ephesians 5:1).

Marriage is a covenant, not a contract.

3/ Die to yourself

Marriage is crucifixion, death to self and living for the other. When you have your moments of fights and pride where you cannot agree and you feel like quitting, remember your covenant and the vows you made between God and man. The Bible says in Ephesians 5:28-29,31 He who loves his wife loves himself. After all no one hated his own body but he feeds and cares for it just as Christ does the church. … for this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife and the two will become one flesh.

4/ Don’t interchange love and respect

Husbands are called to love their wives and wives are called to respect their husbands. Never interchange the two. There are many women who are loving their husbands but failing to respect and honor them, and many husbands who are respecting their wives, instead of loving them and laying their life down for them as Christ loves the church.
God designed and fashioned men and women differently and if you meet and fulfill these requirements in your spouse according to the wisdom from God’s Word, you will see your partners bloom and flourish like a tree planted by the river.

5/ Your spouse is a gift from God

James 1:16 says, Do not be deceived my brother, every good and perfect gift comes from your Heavenly Father in whom there is no changing like the shifting of sands.

You must remember and learn this promise by heart. This will come very handy, especially when you end up fighting. To give you an example: I had prayed for a wife for many years and God finally bought my darling wife to me. One day emotions ran high, there was misunderstanding and I threw my hands up in the air and ran out of my house. I began to walk and talk to God and l started doing what my great, great, grandfather Adam did and that was to blame my wife, until God had to remind me that she is His gift to me!

All you couples must know what you have in your hand till death do you apart is God’s gift to you and not your reward for being a good person. So cherish each other!

My closing words for the husbands (or to-be) and wives (or to-be) are:

To Husbands, Proverbs 19:14 KJV – Wealth and inheritance come from parents but a prudent wife is from the Lord. Treasure her and love her only with all your heart.

To Wives, Proverbs 31:30 KJV – Charm is deceitful, and beauty is fleeting: but a woman that loveth JESUS is to be praised.

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