marriage musts . . .

Had a sad conversation the other day. A guy in his late twenties, one of the guys I play basketball with, told me that it looked like his marriage was over. He’s been married like seven months . . . 

Let’s be real, marriage is not an easy thing. Any time you take two sinners (something we all are) and place them into life’s fiery furnace, either the relationship will go up in smoke or you’ll both come out of the flames more purified in Jesus. Gary Thomas’ book Sacred Marriage points to this reality. In it, he poses the following insightful question: “What if God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy?”911231_38718064

Great thought. God uses marriage to burn away our selfishness and make us more holy. He uses marriage to torch our independence and arrogance and make us more holy. He uses marriage to show our desperate need for Him, for we need His love and compassion and grace to live out a holy marriage. In 1 Peter 1:15-16, we read:  ”You must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. For the Scriptures say, ‘You must be holy because I am holy.'” Flip a few pages and you come to 1 Peter chapter 3. It starts with practical instruction for husbands and wives and concludes with the apostle’s insights into suffering for doing good. Will we do the good thing for our spouse even when it hurts? Will we pursue holiness and not simply happiness?

As I think about this whole holiness thing, here are some “musts” God has taught me in my marriage to my wife Lynn:

  • I must recognize that our marriage is a sacred union before God.
  • I must die to self, and love my spouse as Jesus loves me.
  • I must humbly and respectfully work through conflicts—not run from them or try to ignore them.
  • I must seek what’s best for my spouse, not what is easy or self-serving.

How has God made you more holy through marriage? What are some of your marriage “musts”?

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67 Responses to “marriage musts . . .”

  1. Tom–very powerful. Marriage conferences and books are valuable tools, but only insomuch as we have the core message right. God didn’t give me my marriage to complete my life. If I believe the Word, then my sole purpose is to exist for the glory of God.

    Scott and I are deeply burdened for marriages, especially in the younger generations. Books and movies have sold us a false ideal in romanticizing what real love is. Sadly, the desire to escape if happiness eludes pervades even in the church. I have no greater joy in my husband than to know he is relentless in his pursuit of God. But should things ever change, my security comes not from Scott’s choices, but from the One who faithfully changes me.

    • temmyvic says:

      Please do pray for/ with me. I’m getting married in about 6 weeks. And going thru these post n I realise(though I’ve always know) that except the Lord builds this house, it cannot stand. Must say I’m a little scared, uneasy to think that marriage isn’t to make me happy. While I know and want to live to bring God glory, while I crave holiness, I also want to be happy. I’ve prayed for this severally, did even before I met my fiance. These two don’t have to be mutually exclusive. I can have both, I believe. Please pray for me that as I’ve included in my vows, God will be the Third strand in our cord, that we may NEVER be broken. Please pray that God will help us to love Him first and best. And that we through His love may learn to love each other. Please pray for me, us. Thank you.

      • tom felten says:

        temmyvic, you and your future husband are in my prayers. Regarding happiness and holiness in marriage, please note what Gary Thomas wrote: “What if God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy?” The “more than” is key. In other words, God loves us and wants us to experience a rich and satisfying life—including happiness with our spouse (John 10:10). But He will also use marriage to make us more like Jesus . . . more holy! May He bless you and your fiance!

        • tink4 says:

          This is a really good thought of marriage being designed to make us more holy. I suppose my question is then how do you stand firm in God in a marriage that is verbally abusive and you are called names, told you are hated etc on trival things. How do you stand in God when you are told it is your fault for the others response? By no means am I perfect and I get frustrated just as the next person but the name calling and cutting down is really getting old and it is hard to not let it get to me. It is also hard, as I have been reading in the Bible, to pray for my husband, to heap burning coals on his head…how do you become like the woman in Psalms despite all of this going on at home? It is hard to communicate with my husband without being told that I do not, bascially, mean what I say or that I do not think what I think. I ask myself what is God trying to teach me and show me. Being bold in love like Jesus is not easy, it is painful, at least for me.

          • tinkerbellski says:

            Dear tink4,
            I too deal with the verbally abusive husband. It DOES wear on you. My self esteem is non existent at this point and I have had to really pray and cling to God to get me to a point of doing anything on a day to day basis. I encourage you to stay strong and pray every minute of the day. I love my husband and I think he loves me too, but the words hurt and change a person. I have little “tricks” that I do to deal with it. Would love to share them with you privately if you wish. Email me if you want to, otherwise I will be praying for you, just know that you are NOT alone. God is with you and now, so am I! :-)

  2. bigtrocks says:

    My wife Ann and I went to a marriage conference a couple of months ago. I never thought that God and a relationship with Jesus Christ was the key to a good marriage. I have been sold on self for the longest time. It took that conference to open my mind beyond self. It was like today’s reading (3/16/09), on Our Daily Bread. I said to Jesus, “my Lord and my God”?

    Some “musts” we talked about tonight.
    1. We must seek forgiveness.
    2. We must accept each other’s differences. I am a free spirit, she is a meticulous planner.

  3. adamlj says:

    It always helps to have some healthy marriages modeled for you openly, and realize early on which marriages are the ones you would like yours to be a reflection of. I am so very grateful for you and Lynn to have allowed me into your lives.

  4. tom felten says:

    Adam, it’s a huge blessing to see Jesus in the center of your marriage. A “healthy” marriage will never be a perfect marriage due to our sin nature. And that’s true of my marriage to Lynn. But, by God’s grace, we can grow to be more like Him even as He teaches us and molds us through “sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part.”

  5. kathylou says:

    One thing that really saddens me is when I hear of a marriage ending after “only 7 months…” My marriage with David has taught me the necessity of being patient and waiting. Our society has taught our young people that things in life should happen instantly–they grew up with microwaves, cell phones, computers, etc. A good marriage does not ever happen instantly, but takes work and perseverance. We learn to persevere in trials and good times….and wait on God for answers. We so easily could have given up 35 years ago but now we have a great marriage and have learned so much. It is interesting to think that God didn’t give me my marriage to be happy….but to learn holiness.

  6. saraed1 says:

    This is a very topical posting that you brought up. I just found out earlier this week that my best friend, is getting a divorce. She has been married for about 4 years. I feel very lost inside with this, not sure exactly why, but I was her Maid of Honor at her wedding and wittnessed them exchanging vows. Divorce is so permanent and leaves so many scars behind. I just hate for her to have her legacy marred by a dissolution of a friendship, of a committment. I talked to my husband of two years about it, and we both agreed that marriage isn’t easy, but we have to just leave the door of communication open. I am honestly very grateful to have a forum to express my public opinion. I am 25, and thus most of my friends are either engaged or newlyweds so this is not very topical for them. Thanks to others for sharing their musts in marriage. I agree with Adam- it helps to have a marriage role model.


    • Tiffany says:

      Sara, you raise a good point about leaving “the door of communication open.” Communication is essential if only to air each person’s feelings. Sometimes just getting it out allows both parties to get past a trivial matter which seemed insurmountable only minutes ago. I have seen deceit on the part of one partner, whether the relationship be boyfriend-girlfriend or marriage, lead to the destruction of the very relationship the transgressor claims to cherish. A girlfriend told her boyfriend of almost a decade she does not want to be feminine anymore. No, she is not referring to wanting to be a man, just that she does not want to dress or act in a feminine manner. Naturally, her boyfriend is very upset considering their dysfunctional relationship, due to her frigidness (emotional, physical, and spiritual) has caused him many sleepless nights and eventual suicidal thoughts. One evening I prayed with him and the next day he walked away from the torment to discover he was not the bad person he had come to think himself to be. His girlfriend is my best friend.

  7. Matthew S. says:

    This struck a chord with me. Me & my wife have only been married for 11 months. She has recently told me that she sees no future for us. This is partially due to the economy,I’ve been unemployed for a year,but still looking.Also has alot to do with our children. I have a teenage girl & she has 3 younger kids (2 boys & a girl).Since she has dropped this news of divorce on me. I haven’t sleep or really ate. Then out of no where,God let me know he would listen to my problem.That night, I let it all out. My wife has noticed some changes in me.Even though she is at her parents & I’m at mine because our kids can’t get along. We only talk online & still she noticed. God has made a difference in a short time for me & I want more.I want to share the joy of God with my wife & my kids,so we can get where we need to be in God’s eyes.God is Great & I will continue to follow his word even if my marriage doesn’t work out.

    • joshuadaniel says:

      Matt, I will pray for you. But I beg you to teach your young ones to put GOD first in their lives and NOT THEMSELVES. This is the key to happiness. Things happen but only when the Lord lets it happen. The relationship part of marriage is very very important. I do not know how people who were in love can ever fall out of love when they go back to their first day in love and think why they even got together. Then erase all relationship breaking acts/words, ask forgiveness from each other and start anew from that moment on and be in love again.

      I am in an arranged marriage and married 20+ years. Had heaps of occasions to walk away. Most of my adult longings have never been met. But I put them at the Lord’s feet and WAIT till he changes my longings or her actions/desires to match with mine.

      So all the best. Josh

  8. enmoredo says:

    i am already thinking of getting married…my girlfriend however was in her young age…and she felt that she’s too young…her dreams and our relationship has been battling inside her…i was afraid that she may get pregnant and she said she may not keep the baby alive…i am worried…she was 10 years younger than me…i know, i must understand her..i know i can’t control things rather than what the Lord has to put on my hand…right now…i am really hurting…she separated with me…she wants to be alone she said…one of her word is that…we are not meant to be…in my mind and heart i know she’s the one for me…i prayed…i prayed hard to find someone…until she came into my life…now i am in the brink of losing her…

    right now…I can only do is pray…and trust the Lord…but sometimes i also felt weak…or inpatient…

    i don’t know why i end-up with someone who thinks they are undeserving…who thinks they are too sinful to be with me…i am sinner as well…

    i don’t know why…every time she said…she’s not the one for me…the more i wanted to be her…the more i wanted to see her changed her views… the more i wanted her to be more closer to God…

    I know I can’t control things…I have no power to do that…

    Please pray for us…

  9. noel susi says:

    It really takes a great a commitment if you want your married life to be victorious and that victory can only attain through our daily fellowship with God .
    Since me and my wife were raised up differently but when you leave it to God ,he will unite us and we can experience the harmony in a relationship and right now I am so thankful to God because this coming July we will be celebrating our 20 th wedding anniversary .We still struggle daily in our life like meeting our financial needs on a daily basis ,thinking for the future of our 4 children,planning for our retirement ,what will happen to us when our daughters got married and some disturbing stuffs like that but themost important thing I learned is that at the end of the day before going to bed you end up thanking God and praising Him for His guidance and daily blessings.

  10. stori says:

    This is so true – i believe marriage really is designed “to make us holy more than to make us happy.”

    I’m in a relationship with I believe my soulmate – THE one who God has prepared for me.. we’ve both had our confirmations from God on our relationship and we cannot wait to get married.

    Before him, I had always been in troubled relationships.. ran away from most of my problems until I met him and had no choice but to confront it all.

    My core problem was trust. I gave up on trusting people, mainly men a long time back.. and it gave root to so many other issues straining my relationships.

    But being with THE ONE that finally mattered, God gave a way for me to let go and confront and the past pains.. and through that, through my relationship with my BEAUTIFUL SOUL, my relationship with God has been strengthened and I can truly say that my heart is founded in complete and utter trust in the maker of the heavens and the earth.

    God bless you all and God Bless you Tom for this beautiful post (:

  11. makks says:

    I ve been married for 11 months….within 2 months

    of my marriage i seriously considered suicide as

    a way out of my marriage,i suffered depression

    and insomnia…..i am a complete extrovert with a

    bubbly personality.

    my husband did not want us to get married in

    church and yet we are both Christians…he cheated

    on me severally with different women in less than

    3 weeks of our marriage…it was crushing,then

    came the battery…nothing in life prepared me for

    this and i began to wish him dead….

    I got a chance to go away for two months on a

    program and since i got back,i have had counsel

    from my pastor who prayed continuously for us,I

    have made different choices and shown more

    patience….today things are different and i know

    that it would get better.I agree that God has used

    this experience to humble me and refine me so

    that someday i can achieve the holiness that he

    has always desired for me.

    my marriage must would be:

    1)surround yourself with at least 3 people who

    genuinely fear God,who you can share your

    problems with,who can be honest with you

    when you are about to do wrong and who can pray

    fervently for you when despair leaves you


    2)Learn to trust God first before your spouse!

    3)Stop and listen!

    • jeannie says:

      My heart breaks for you. In my first marriage, I had a similar experience. As in your case, I was completely unprepared. I was raised in a stable, christian family (as was my husband). We married very young, and the first mistake we made was dropping out of church. When the problems started, I came back to church, but had no real support from anyone in regard to the abuse. This is where you have been blessed.

      Hang on to God, wherever He leads you. Don’t decide for yourself what is best. I ended up leaving both my marriage, and my trust in God. The big mistake was leaving my faith.

      I’m praying for you, for your protection and strength and wisdom.

  12. Sienna says:

    thank you for this article. God bless you. will buy that book, “sacred marriages” . sounds good to buy which i do not buy many books at all, thank you. it is good to get imput and to give it , we all can use uplifting words that Gloryfy God and help us to be Holy as HE is HOLY . amen God Bless you

  13. davey says:

    Hi Tom,

    I’m new to odj, but I wanted to let you know that my wife and I too are estranged. She filed for divorce in Sept of 08, but we are not yet divorced. She and I both are Christians, but I have hurt her with many hang-ups. She believes divorce to be the only way to healing.

    I am in recovery and my relationship with God through Jesus has never been this wonderful. I do not want a divorce and never have. Please join with us as we pray for God’s will. She is praying for this as well.

    • tom felten says:

      davey, praise God for the work He’s doing in your life. It sounds like you and your wife are seeking Him as you strive to heal your relationship. That’s great, because He is the one who can heal it and give you both a renewed love for each other—as you love Him with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. You are in my prayers.

  14. Hello all, am new to ODJ, love the articles.

    I agree with the ‘musts’ list above. Only being married for 2 years, i am still learning how to put my spouse first before my own wants/ needs. Selfishness and unforgiveness, i’ve realised, has been quite a strain in our marriage initially… Being an indepedent individual while growing up, it was tough for me to give in or consider feelings/ ideas/ advices, that was my weakness i had to admit and submit to God.

    It takes 2 persons to work a marriage, and my husband must-have in our marriage is to avoid being apart/ separated/ long distance for more than 3 weeks.
    Though i somewhat disagree, it is something my husband is adamant about which i now accept and understand. Being apart too long has pros and cons, and it’s mostly the cons that we choose not to take any risks.

  15. rebeccaguerra says:

    lately my husband and i have just been bickering towards each other and i feel its jus

    • joshuadaniel says:

      Rebeccaguera, are you ok. You have not finished your comment. I am worried. I lost a lovely friend of mine in Mumbai, India. She is no more so I can use her name. Ida Dias was catholic and married to another catholic ex-middle east returned bartender. He was an alcoholic and use to bash her. The last time my family and I met her we advised to be safe if the abuse did not stop but she was of the feeling He needs her. But Dec12th of 2008 he and his sisters strangled her to death, bribed the police, completed post mortem/autopsy in hours after death, removed all body parts and buried her the next day. I wrote to police, politicians, media but no result and he is enjoying his life going about spending the money she earned when he was home drinking and womanising. Hope you are ok. Will pray for you. Josh

  16. ttnana says:

    I have been married for 6 months my husband wants to leave. The reason he wants to leave is my 16 year old son. My husband don’t have any children he also is a only child. I have 4 children. Him and my son don’t get along well. I don’t know what to do because my son is out of control. I feel as if this is somthing that can be worked out but my husband just wants to run like he has been doing all of his life. I know in my heart that God is in this marriage I made a vow and I want to hold up my end of it but my husband is running not only from the situation but from God. He grew up in a family where they are jehovah witnesses. Since he met me he gave his life to the Lord Jesus Christ he got filled with the Holy Ghost with evidence of tougues. He still seems to be confused he is trying to mix what has learnes from childhood in what with his new experiance and it is not working. I love him but I won’t let go of what I believe I know where God brought me from. He aslo struggles with anger I just need some help maybe someone could give me some advice. I want to save my marriage!!! ttnana

    • joshuadaniel says:

      TTnana, I will pray for you. Disciplining a child starts young as infants. In the word it says spare the rod and hate the child. Love, affection as well as authority, humility and obedience is learnt when young. Yes it is painful to discipline a child. I have spanked my daughters and have shed tears behind closed doors as I love them.But the Lord has given you a job to do and that is to grow and nurture loving, God fearing and obedient children. I will pray for your husband and son that the Lord speak to both and change the situation. I just saw it has been a year. Any updates? God bless you. Josh

  17. graceofGod says:

    Hi Tom,
    Thank you for giving me another way of looking at marriage, as designed to make us holy rather than happy.
    Reciting the marriage vows before God is very easily done. Being true to those vows and upholding them before God is very very tough. It is so easy to say for better or for worse, but what if the worse is to face an unfaithful husband day after day for 4 four years now and God tells me to be still when I first found out about his affair with his ex-girlfriend. The Lord not only wants me to stay in the marriage but also to forgive and continue to love my erring husband. His affair is still ongoing.

    The world has placed emphasis on love as a feeling, but I learnt that love is actually a choice, so is forgiveness. I could not have survived this far if the Lord has not sustained me and lifted me up each time I sink into depression and is overwhelmed by pain.

    • tom felten says:

      graceofGod, I grieve with you the choices your husband continues to make in your marriage. To repeatedly break the vows he made before God, you, and others is something far beyond normal marital struggles. I trust you will seek out godly, biblical counsel on how to address your husband’s destructive behavior. Perhaps your pastor or a local Christian counselor would be a good resource. As far as forgiving him, I would suggest that Scripture suggests we can only forgive one who is truly repentant (Mathew 18:15-17). Without this approach, you run the risk of enabling your husband to continue in his sin, instead of experiencing the tough love and consequences that he truly needs.

  18. graceofGod says:

    Tom, I did try to correct him when I first found out, then time and again for the next three years. Each time ( except for once) he would flare up and respond with hurtful remarks. He turned against his mum when she tried to advise him, saying that she is also a sinner and therefore in no position to judge. He declined when I suggested going to speak to the pastor. It may seem ironical but each Sunday, he still goes to church.

    Come 14Feb2010 we would have been married for 24 years. His ex-girlfriend is also a married woman with 2 teenage boys.

  19. makks says:

    I finally left him and while i feel much more peace

    now,i would love to ask everyone who can take the

    time to please pray a line for me….just one line.

    I am deeply leaning on the word ..Barricade the road

    that goes nowhere, grace me with your clear

    revelation. Psm 119:29 (The msg).

    PS:Thank you Jeanie for your response.

  20. pjack4 says:

    I have read your comments here, and I am in the same position. My husband is cheating on me and sees nothing wrong with what he is doing. I don’t know how much more I can take of this and I look to God to help me. I know God is there and will bring me thru all o this. But I get so down when I see this continue and feel all alone. It has gone on for 20 years of and on.

  21. unionwife says:

    I’m new to ODJ and was looking to see if I could find something on my particular situation – a believer married to an adamant non-believer. I have been cheated on, verbally abused, and emotionally abused. I love my husband deeply but understand that his shortcomings stem from something that I alone cannot change. The only thing I can do for him is pray – pray for work (union tradesman out of work for 3 years), pray for patience, and pray that the Father will open his heart. I have my work cut out for me – he grew up Catholic in a very unstable home. I had the exact opposite – a loving Christ centered family.

    I knew when I met him he was the man I was supposed to marry (I was not following God at the time and was very backslidden I’m ashamed to say). Even in the marriage vows it states for better or for worse. I got the worse. The better is around the corner.

    As for the rest of it – the physical cheating was a one night stand. The emotional cheating took much longer to address (I had to leave for it to stop) and is an on going battle. The fights we have are epic. I had a roommate threaten to call the police on us we were bickering so violently. I have to be very careful and very aware because until he knows the Lord, it will never completely stop. All i can do is follow God’s word and know that God will be there no matter what. Even if my husband is mentally or emotionally absent.

    As for divorce? We both decided after his one night stand that DIVORCE IS NOT AN OPTION. So either we work together, or we don’t work at all.

    I feel so selfish asking, but pray for my husband. I can see the man of God he would become. It would be a fearsome thing :)

    • tom felten says:

      unionwife, you are in my prayers today. May God give you and your husband a spiritual breakthrough. I will pray that He will turn to Jesus and receive salvation, and that you will both find joy in Him in the days ahead.

      • unionwife says:

        Here is an update from the time I wrote the post. On February 17, 2011 my husband passed away from laryngeal cancer. He was diagnosed five and a half months after the post was written. I cannot say whether he accepted Christ in this life as he was in and out of consciousness the last week and a half he was alive, but there are two things that I can say with complete certainty:

        God and the Holy Spirit was a huge presence in the house before he passed.

        I know with unshakeable faith I WILL SEE MY HUSBAND AGAIN.

        As I am a believer who has accepted Christ, this can only mean one thing: my husband made peace with God and accepted the grace of Christ before he left. His final days were between him and God. But I did absolutely everything I possibly could to show him the love of God and the deep love I have for him. I miss Patrick every day, but he is never far from my thoughts or my heart. As we were an Irish family I believe in things that can’t be readily explained. A part of Patrick is here with me, and will be until it’s my turn.

        I finally understand fully how to lose my life in order to save it. I no longer fear death, but I am in no hurry for it.

        Dia sinn a choinneáil i pailme a láimhe agus faoi na maintlín ar a ghrá.

        • tom felten says:

          unionwife, thank you so much for this update. Your faithful witness to your husband is inspiring—it’s apparent that you lived out God’s grace before his eyes. May the comfort of Jesus help you in your sorrow. Peace.

  22. omolola says:

    I don’t know if it’s everywhere but where i come from society puts pressure on young folks to get married and this tends to lead to a lot of mistakes. I am single and already in the age range where people are expecting me to invite them for weddings and i am already feeling the pressure. It’s so bad that sometimes i even consider chatting up my ex-boyfriend who betrayed me but still claims to love me in the hopes that i’ll finally enter the ‘enviable’ class of the married and people will stop asking me when i’m getting married. I don’t really blame them because i find myself saying the same things to some of my unmarried friends.
    Maybe if we feel really free to decide if and when to get married, it will increase our chances of having successful marriages.
    I try to be patient because i’m someone who has romantic views on marriage[i imagine myself in my 70s sitting on the porch with my husband and still finding things to giggle about] and i never want to settle for less than the best. I definitely don’t want to marry just anybody for the wrong reasons because from what i’ve seen, marriage is hard enough even when you are married to the right person.

  23. tspean says:

    Marriage is very difficult and as much as people would like to think they are prepared they are nevery truly prepared.

    When I got married, I took my vows seriously, however, i thought things would just work themselves out as most people tend to think. During this time i was not fully in the church, but my husband was. This got us through several miscarriages and a lot of hurt and pain. My husband then fell out of church when his mother became ill with Cancer.

    I then came to grow closer to God, and that has helped us weather the storm of infidelity and remain together. Marriage is two people coming together, which is not always easy, however, through God’s grace and mercy it can be done. Life is a journey which takes time. There will be many obstacles, but by placing God as the head you can get through them.

    When being holy in marriage, one becomes humbled and understanding of your partner as you begin to recognize that god is doing the same if not more for you.

    My husband and I have a long way to go. I am human just as he is. At times, my hurt and disappointment can become overwhelming. It is at those times, that I try to go to my quiet place and mediatate and pray for God to soften my heart and allow me to love again.

    Continue praying for marriages, even those you don’t know of. There is power in prayer.

  24. r. panahon says:

    Ako at ang aking asawa ay dalawangputlima na taong kasal (25 years) tunay na mahirap dahil dito sa Pilipinas bihira ang lalaki na tutulong sa gawain ng kanilang asawang babae pero ang babae dapat tumulong sa gawain o responsibilidad ng lalaki. Ngunit nagagalak ako dahil sa kabila ng ganitong kalagayan, dito sa aming bansa ay malaki ang pagpapahalaga sa kasal. Ang bilang ng kasal na tumatagal ay mas marami kumpara sa hindi. Naniniwala kami na kung sino ang pinagsama ng Diyos ay di dapat paghiwalayin ng tao.

  25. sayit4them says:

    Thank you for those inspirational thoughts.

  26. onlifesroad says:

    I’ve just recently been thinking very seriously about leaving my marriage. This is my second marriage and I love my husband dearly but it seems he doesn’t feel the same way. He says that he loves me and can’t figure out why I need his reasurance or affection. He is not emotionally available because of some past issues.
    I say all that to say that I found this blog and was reading the comments from Tom and felt God pricking my heart. I was in an abusive marriage the first time for almost 20 years and stayed for the children. Niether of us were saved. I am now saved but my second husband is not. I have made so many mistakes when it comes to marriage and want so badly to break this cycle. I believe that God can heal me and my marriage if I can just let Him. Please pray for this situation. I too will lift up all of these situations to our Wonderful Father in heaven.

  27. hello says:

    Hi, I am single. But, would like to know more about marriage and why marriage is holy and a reunion of God?Can someone share to me or any books can recommend me to read?Thanks.

  28. Ramesh Gohil says:

    Marriage arranged by God.Thanks for good ideas for healthy marriage.May God bless U.
    We have to hard work for healthy and strong marriage with God’s help.

  29. AManofGod says:

    Matthew S you stay strong and keep your faith in God. Divorce is of men but marraige is of God! He can restore your marraige to what it once was….in fact He can make it better than it ever was! Never give up……NEVER. You cannot control your wife’s action and if she chooses to leave she may go, but know in your heart that was HER choice and not of God. He will give you ALL that you need and desire.

  30. Natalia123 says:

    Please pray for me so God will hear my prayers for a solution to my marriage. I have been believing that my husband has been cheating on me with his ex girlfriend that is a married woman living not far from him. My husband and I have been married for 16 months and we live far away from each other. He is in the States and I’m in Indonesia. In my heart I have been feeling that he’s not serious in working on the visa to take me to be with him and his son for a reason of still having a relationship with his ex girlfriend. Everytime I tried to ask him about the visa and my feelings and emotions, he would get so mad and cuss me. We talk only on messenger. He never calls or supports me anymore. Thankfully I am a working woman. He always stays up late being online and I have been feeling that’s because he’s been talking to his ex girlfriend. A few times he even ignores me on messenger around the same time I suspected him to talk to ex girlfriend. This is killing me and bringing me so much pain. I have told him how I feel about it and how I long to be together with him but he always takes it the wrong way and told me that I was being disrespectful towards him. I am at a point where I want to just quit this marriage. I have talked to my parents about it. I want to be a good Christian but being far away from each other and how my husband just doesn’t care makes it even difficult for me to stay in the marriage. I love my husband and his son, our son, but I can’t bear the pain and the thought on how heartless he’s been by treating me this way and the thought of having to go through with it for as long as I shall live with him. It seems that my marriage has no future since I am still far away from my husband.
    Thanks for reading and praying for me.

    • AManofGod says:


      Never NEVER give up on your marriage. With God all things are possible. Talk to your husband and let him know how you are feeling. If he is a Christian speak to him about what the Bible says a true marriage should be. If he has sinned God can show him the err of his ways and bring him around to the RIGHT way of thinking.

      Sometimes it takes men a minute [or two or three....] to get their heads right about marriage. And some men get scared when the responsibility of a wife AND children really are brought to the forefront. That doesn’t mean he won’t come around! Don’t give up. Even if he isn’t a Christian don’t give up! Amazing changes can happen in people through prayer and through God’s intervention. Try this and see.

      It may take some time but be patient and let God work in the situation.

      I’ll be praying for you and for your family.


  31. acekayaker says:

    Marriage musts, forgive often, thank daily, take time daily to start each day with devotional time with your Lord, let the little things go, keep in mind the things that won’t matter tomorrow and don’t worry about them today, love your husband and children as much as you can fit in each day….you see I lost my husband to cancer a little over ten months ago and I cannot wait to be reunited in heaven with him. Until then I try to make the most out of each day since we never know what tomorrow brings. The last year with my husband was tough but I thank the Lord that we had that last year. Not everyone gets limited time with their loved one and gets to say the things that really matter. Think of what tomorrow would be like without your spouse and then capture each moment as if it were your last….take those last walks together and say that you love them, life is what you make it….make it with no regrets!

  32. Megwinkz says:

    Love this post!

    I just got married and these “musts” inspired me!

    • AManofGod says:

      Congrats Megwinkz! Read and learn from the awesome information presented here. Fellowship with Godly Christians about the roles each must play in a God sanctioned marriage. And above all love each other with the love of Christ and you will be blessed beyond measure!


  33. sonybrook says:

    The hardest thing in the world to do is trust in something that we can’t see. He is GOD. I believe that through JESUS, GOD is restoring us back to HIS intended creation, before sin. HE said the kingdom of heaven is within you. Whatever we are going through because of the sin in our lives (the sin we are aware of, and not aware of) we need to come into true repentance of sin, totally admit that we have sinned against GOD, surrender our weaknesses over to the LOVE of CHRIST, and allow the LOVE of JESUS fruit to manifest deep within us. We have the mind of CHRIST. We need to plug into the word of GOD in order to change our way of thinking, and change the old ways of handling things, which are not the way of CHRIST. That’s where we fall, and make a mess of things. Instead of appreciating what GOD has given us to enjoy,we complain about it , and think we would be better without it. Our love will always fail because of selfishness, but the LOVE of JESUS which is a perfect LOVE will never fail. WE need to stop leaning on our own understanding, and in all our ways seek HIM for HE will direct our path. GOD is not a quitter, HE has not given up on us, and we should not give up on our spouse who we are praying for. Only GOD has the power to change anything, and anyone. Our job is to put our complete trust, and confidence in HIM. For nothing is impossible for GOD. HE is the RESTORER, and HE causes all things to work out for the good of those HE loves, and are called according to HIS purpose. So let us hold onto HIS promises, and do not give up! HE will receive the glory that HE is worthy of. I pray for GOD to strengthen all who are under HIS covenet who are experiencing trials. Help us to remember we are being trained by them, and we will sow in a harvest of righteousness if we do not faint. Help us JESUS to Strengthen our feeble arms, and weak knees make level paths for our feet so the lame will not be disabled, but rather healed. In YOUR NAME JESUS we pray.

  34. saraha says:

    I’ve decided to write my partial story after I’ve read the comments/suggestions and advises given in this site and feel like they are very uplifting for my life. It is a little long but please bear with me. I am 30 years old. I was raised in church for my father was a pastor. My parents were married for 33 years before the tragic fire accident that claims the life of my dad (02/2008) and almost my mom’s. I lived with the father of my kids 4 years before we got married. Two years after we get married, two days after my birthday, my husband (who by the way is from Africa) told me that he has to go to his country to visit his family. Ever since then, he never returns. He left me (almost two years now) with two kids, a mortgage and all the other things that came with life; I only have my sisters as support (financial, emotional…). Every time we talked on the phone and I ask him about his returning date he gave some vague answer. He gave the kids false hope by lying to them, telling them that he is coming one day and then changing it the next. I got fed up and changed my phone numbers. Until today believe he may still be there.
    I got involve with someone (that I’ve known over a year; my kids coach) and I don’t know how long it’s going to last. He is 20 years my senior and showed to me (at least in my eyes) that he is sincere and wants to do good by me. I find it difficult to believe and accept after my failed relationship with my husband.
    My mom passed away 2 month ago with a sudden stroke; I was hurt alone and vulnerable and he was very helpful. It wasn’t until then that I’ve decided to get sexually involved with him. Now, I feel that I should get a divorce. Although I haven’t been with my husband for all this time, in the eyes of God we are still married. I went to the court, get the paperwork and I am reluctant to fill them. I believe in marriage but what am I supposed to do? The coach is getting a divorce also (which he’d been working on way before I knew him) and sleeping with him makes me feel like I am cheating on my husband. I get to the point where I don’t know what to do. Anyone cares to give some advises; I am very open. May God be with all of you.

    • daisymarygoldr says:

      saraha, you have been through a lot. I am so sorry. Your story is quite similar to my grandmother’s whose husband left her and went away to another country. The only difference was that, she was given in marriage, was just 17 with a 2 year old and expecting their second child when he left them for good. She loved God and by His grace, was able to successfully raise her children on her own. I am one of the fruit of her tears.

      You haven’t mentioned if your husband is a Christian. If the unbelieving husband leaves, then the Christian wife is at liberty to remarry (I Corinthians 7:15). You haven’t mentioned if the coach is a Christian. A Christian should not repeat the mistake to remarry a non-Christian, especially if you have young children. This is to jump out of the frying pan into the fire as it will lead to more serious complications for all of you.

      saraha, at this point of your life, what you really need most is—love. God is love. God is not a man that lies, like other men do. Trust Him and receive His love that He showed to us through Jesus Christ. Let His love heal all your hurts. I’m glad you have wonderful sisters for support. Also, it is good to get back to church and seek the loving and prayerful support of Christians. No matter what you decide to do with your life remember God loves you. I will be praying for you…

    • amyj says:

      My heart hurts for you! I completely echo all of daisymarygoldr’s comments. May God bless you and may your eyes and heart be open to His path for you. Bury your heart in Him so any other man will have to seek Him first in order to find you!

  35. bereanfriend4u says:

    Very thoughtful. I have a question: What can you do if the partner doesn’t want to agree with you and/or ignores you?

    • Jeff Olson says:

      Bereanfriend4u, Good question…It’s hard to say with any certainty how to proceed without knowing the particulars of each situation…but one thing I always try to challenge myself and others to do is to remind myself that my difficult partner is still a person with legitimate needs and concerns. It keeps from copping an attitude towards them that will only make the situation worse.

  36. amyj says:

    So many comments here hurt my heart and yet so many others warm my heart. It’s obvious that marriage is universal longing in all of our hearts and a loving and healthy one at that. I want to offer some hope to those that are contemplating, or are going through divorce. My husband and I were engaged at a young age and became pregnant shortly after. We had to cancel the wedding and eloped at the courthouse. This situation started our marriage off on the ‘wrong foot.’ We struggled with jobs, we got pregnant again (having two babies 14 months apart) and then my husband developed a horrible gambling problem. He took a job in another state and I lived with my parents while he was supposed to be sending me money – which never happened. I filed for divorce, he came home and said he was coming back home and we’d make this work. I then became pregnant with our third child. When things continued to go the same with his gambling and now drinking, I proceeded with the divorce and it was done. We were divorced. We were both in a very dark place after this. We loved each other soooo much but just had NO idea how to be there for one another or let alone ourselves. My husband grew up a Christian but his father had left his mother at a young age and they moved constantly. I was brought up Catholic and my parents were married (still are) but I witnessed my mother’s extreme abuse from my alcoholic father. 3 years into our divorce, my ex and I both started seeing someone seriously, but for the wrong reasons. Separately, we both made the changes in our lives to reunite our hearts with God – I moved the kids back to my hometown and was going to church; my ex had left the casinos and bars and was using his musical talents in the church. And on one snowy winter day, divine intervention took place. My ex took the kids sledding and I stayed to chat with him. We shared with each other how God was now the center of our lives and we were learning to die-to-self. At that point, God relit the flames in our heart and led us to two care groups within our church and a wonderful Godly counselor. We were remarried in the church with our three children 9 months later. That was almost 11 years ago. Our remarriage has NOT been easy. In fact it was a huge struggle for many years. But, now we love each other more than we did back in our early years. I have learned to forgive and place him as the leader of our home and he has sacrificed his old self to serve me and our children. I believe God has used us in this way to offer hope to those marriages in distress. We long to be nothing more than be examples to God’s love and grace for we know in that a cord of three strands is not easily broken (Ecclesiastes 4:12).
    God bless you all!

  37. seeking777always says:

    Thank you for this message, sometimes human nature temps us to forget what marriage is all about, and I am grateful that when times get rough n my marriage that with God by my side we can over come those hard times and come out of them closer to each other and to God.

  38. candy8249 says:

    This is my first time here , I am touched by the responses to marriage life. Like others, I want to share my struggles in my marriage life and how God change my life everyday being intimate with Him.
    I am married to an American, Last year, March 2011 he went back to States , I didn’t expect that , that was my last time to see him. I have been believing that my husband has been cheating on me when he was in States and when he went to Vietnam early this year without my knowledge. He got mad at me when I tried to contact his friends . That time I was so depressed because he emailed me that he doesn’t love me anymore, he will not come back to me and he doesn’t care if I will get a divorce. My husband and I have been married for 14 months and we live far away from each other. I have no idea if he is in States or in Vietnam now and I’m in the Philippines. We married last October 2010 , he just visit me twice a year , we only live together for 3 months as husband and wife. In my heart I have been feeling that he’s not serious in working on the visa to take me to be with him. However, I did not make it as an issue because for me the most important thing is that, we live together . He said he wanted to live in the Philippines to enjoy his retirement benefits .As a wife I understand and support his happiness. Everything change when he came back to States, he seldom call or message me. He never calls or supports me anymore. Thankfully, I have a stable job for a living. It hurts me so badly when he told me to find a boyfriend here while he is away. He abandoned , rejected and ignored me. Everyday , I pray to God that he will give me the courage and strength to handle my struggles in life. This is killing me and bringing me so much pain everyday . There are times I want to end my life, but at the end of the day I realize God has purpose in my life. I want to be a good Christian but being far away from each other and how my husband doesn’t care for me and makes it even difficult when he said he wanted to divorce me. I don’t understand why he did this to me. I gave everything I had, I have nothing left to give. I’ve carried this loneliness for 12 months . I am not okay. Still have many questions in my mind…that only time can tell. We don’t have a divorce here in the Philippines . I am afraid that this moment come because I love my husband very much, but I can’t bear the pain and the thought on how heartless he’s been by treating me this way and the thought of having to go through this struggles alone. It seems that my marriage has no future since I am still far away from my husband and no more contacts at all. Hoping to moving forward and trying to be strong. I am being grateful to God because he never leave me alone in my struggles. I become more intimate to God everyday . I depend everything to Him.
    Thanks for reading and praying for me.

    • tom felten says:

      candy8249, I’m so sorry that you have seemingly been abandoned by your husband. Your desire to see your relationship restored is admirable and Christ-like, but if he has completely turned from you and his vows before God, then I would suggest you meet with a mature Christian counselor or spiritual mentor for support. You will have to make some hard decisions in the days ahead, and wise spiritual and legal counsel will prove to be invaluable. You’re in my prayers, and I’m sure others in the ODJ community are praying for you too!

  39. orchid06 says:

    It’s encouraging to read all these stories and know that we are not alone, there are people out the praying for goes my story my husband and I have been married for 13yrs the coming summer in 2010 he lost his father and shortly after his job. The lost of his job landed him in jail and a year long investigation kept him form find a job…with all this going on I was working a full time job and was going to school at night. When my husband lost his job I told him the Lord was trying to get our attention, I ran to the Lord and my husband ran the other way and kept going. For the next few months I tried to convince to seek God guidance but he was so furious with God. I realized that there was something thing else going on but never in a million years I would think my husband who was never a skirt chaser was having an affair and at the time I found out my next door neighbor was already five months pregnant with his was I going to break this news to our three sheltered,naive young children..To shorten my story my husband is now sitting in jail the baby is a month old and bless my childrens little heart nothing bothers husband is now telling me he loves me but there is something missing from our marriage.(God) I think but he thinks it’s passion, this young lady also told me that she loves my husband and she is not letting him go until he tells her he wants to work on his marriage, did I forget to tell you guys that he loves her too..he’s only been in there a month now but for the first two wks of his sentance he spent in confinement my Lord cornered him there he has since turned his life back over to Christ but as far as our marriage nothing has changed there but I’m expecting a miracle plse pray for us..

    • tom felten says:

      Praying for you, orchid06. Your faith in God and healthy, confident identity in Him shines in your words. May God heal your marriage as He leads your husband to a true relationship with Himself!

  40. majiyebo says:

    I’ve been married for 13years now. I must say that marriage is not usually between two perfect people. Infact, between two imperfects.
    I entered into marriage with that illussion but now know that i was selfish and arrogant with my expectations.
    Marriage must be sacrificial.
    Must draw strenght from God’s grace.
    The two must allow and recognise the ‘God factor’.
    The two must conciously agree to make it work.
    Must know that gates of hell are let loose and are constantly looking for cracks to come in and unleash the evil plans through conflicts, arguments, disargreements etc.
    Must be between two spiritually matured individuals.
    It’s my prayer that whosoever marrige that is on heat right now should recieve God’s touch. I command that peace should return to your home in Jesus name.
    That marriage will not fail in Jesus name. Amen.

    • tom felten says:

      Thanks for sharing, majiyebo. You’re so right, we must “draw strength from God’s grace.” I also encourage married couples to look for God’s grace working in each other’s lives. When we encourage each other, instead of constantly looking for another sin or mistake, it lifts our spirits and helps our marriage soar!

  41. smitty87 says:

    In 25 plus years of marriage, the most important thing we have learned is to be careful about the words we use.Words are sometimes hurtful and can be used to bless or curse….In the midst of a heated argument its best to think before we speak…. The tongue is a small member of the body but sometimes the hardest part of our body to control…. Be quick to forgive and pray together…..

  42. tom felten says:

    I’m so sorry you and your wife are having such a difficult time. As you continue to humble yourself before God and place Him first, I hope and pray your wife will join you. With Jesus at the center of your relationship, you will have the foundation to build a strong and healthy marriage. Keep trusting in Him!

  43. Matthew S. says:


    Thank you for your kind words. I actually got my wife to talk to me on the phone today,other than online. We had a civil conversation,but I couldn’t be lovey with her. She asked me not to for now. So, we talked about God & how he has effected my life so far. She was happy for me. I discussed with her that we needed God in our marriage,& she listened.She is trying to help get where we need to be. It goes back to the saying “Love is kind,Love is patient”. I believe God to be the same way, “God is kind,God is patient”, because God is Love,Eternal Love. We also talked about how we as a family need to go to church,when & if our marriage works out. After listening to what I had to say,she agreed.So as long as I stay loyal to God,He will not let me fall or fail. I ask for whoever reads this please Pray for us.God is just really AWESOME.

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