Dellan and I recently celebrated 3 years of marriage. Lord willing, getting married at 21 set us up to spend 70 or more years together!
We are by no means experts, but we work very hard to keep our relationship filled with encouragement, security, and affection. For now, I’d like to share one lesson from each year we’ve been taking on life as a team.
MAKE GENTLENESS YOUR DEFAULT LANGUAGE
Dellan and I argue very little, and I don’t think it’s because we don’t disagree or that we’re just really good communicators. I think it has a lot to do with our tone.
The way I see it, we can discuss the same topic in a variety of ways. We can approach the other person with ‘fighting words’ with the intention to hurt and blame. We can give the other person the silent treatment and let resentment build.
Or we can start a conversation with “I can tell that there’s some tension here. How can we fix this?”
We’ve done all of the above, but we have had much more productive conversations when using the last approach. There are several examples in Scripture of holding our tongue, listening first, and speaking with kindness. My favorite would probably be this one from Romans:
If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.
Romans 12:18 (ESV)
I love the phrase “so far as it depends on you” because it gives personal responsibility. We can’t control our spouse, but we can pursue unity through how we interact with them.
BE THEIR BIGGEST FAN
I’ve written about the negative conversations surrounding marriage before, and this point is related. It is pretty common to become stuck in the middle of a conversation centered around putting down everyone’s romantic partners. This can happen at work, among friends, and even in the company of other believers.
We know our spouses better than anyone else. We see them at their best, at their worst, and everything in between. Knowing each other well is one of the greatest gifts of marriage, and this information is not meant to be used as a weapon in these hurtful conversations.
Instead, we must take all that God has entrusted to us seriously. Then, we make it our aim to talk about our spouse as though they are the most important and beloved person we know–because they are!
Gracious words are like a honeycomb,
sweetness to the soul and health to the body.
Proverbs 16:24 (ESV)
DO GOOD AND NOT HARM
This final point comes from one of my favorite verses in Proverbs.
She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life.
Proverbs 31:12 (ESV)
Proverbs 31 is a famous passage that describes a God-honoring woman and wife, and this verse has always stood out to me because of its simplicity. I can easily bring it to mind in the middle of a task or before I speak.
When I’m about to make a comment that isn’t quite rude but also isn’t helpful: “Is this doing more good or harm?”
When I’ve had a rough day but know that he is also stressed: “How can I put aside my desires and do good on his behalf even when I don’t feel like it?”
I encourage all of the people in my life who are preparing to get married to commit this verse to memory. I have been greatly blessed by it!
What are some verses about marriage that you love? What lessons have you learned? Let’s talk about it in the comments!