All of the luck in the world can not guarantee a great marriage, and some of the advice couples receive may or may not be sound. Many romanticized what marriage is all about, and then are shocked when things do not go as planned.
And while marriage is one of life’s biggest adventures, a little guidance is sometimes needed to help build a life together that will last.
Marriage counseling is required for most couples getting married in local churches. We asked a few local pastors to share some of their best advice for couples in marriage counseling.
Rev. Travis Gray of First Baptist Church of Eupora said marriage was a big part of God’s original plan.
“He gave one man and one woman to each other to be united in His eyes and in the eyes of the world for as long as their physical lives last,” Gray said. “Sadly our world has distorted the real meaning of marriage. Marriage can be one of the greatest experiences possible but only when we follow His plan. Usually when a person considers getting married, they think of all the things they want in a spouse without involving God. This will guarantee failure. A question that we must ask is have we looked at ourselves? Marriage can be a real joy but only when Jesus brings a husband and a wife together and when He keeps them together!”
Rev. Tim Hudson of Clarkson Baptist Church agrees.
“Love God first,” Hudson said. “Make Him your greatest desire, and He will show you the greatest way to love and minister to your spouse!”
Hudson said there may come a time in your marriage when others will say, ‘You need to have a trial separation.’
“It’s when times are tough that you need to be together to work things through, and as you do, your bond will become stronger,” Hudson said. “Spend some time apart when times are good, if you must.”
Rev. Hugh Bland, pastor at Walthall Baptist Church, shared a few tips for all couples considering marriage:
- The foundation of your marriage must be your relationship with God, who is the source of all love. God’s love for us is unconditional and self-sacrificing. The deeper your love relationship with God, the more of His love will flow into your marriage. Spend much time meditating on 1 Corinthians 13, discussing it together and praying through it together. Build your marriage on a deep, abiding spiritual love and friendship, not just physical attraction and emotion.
- Be involved in a small group of Christian couples who can support you, pray for you and give you valuable counsel. This may be a Sunday school class, prayer group or home Bible study. Also, seek relationships with older couples who have already gone through struggles that you will encounter as a young married couple. You can benefit greatly from their advice and experience.
- Have long, in-depth discussions about your values, goals, hopes and dreams. The Bible warns about “being unequally yoked.” Make sure God is first in your lives and you are totally committed to knowing and doing God’s will.
- Make sure you have the same attitude and principles concerning money and financial matters. Take a course together on financial responsibility by Dave Ramsey or another Christian financial counselor.
- Realize that you are not only marrying the other person, but their family as well. Develop a strong, loving relationship with them during the dating and engagement period.
- Don’t expect the other person to be able to read your mind. Do whatever it takes to keep communicating. Don’t walk away in hurt or anger. Keep talking and praying together until the conflict is resolved.
- In everything you say and do, try to build each other up, focusing on the good things and praising them for those things, rather than focusing on the negatives. Love means accepting the other person as they are, not trying to change them.
- Begin your marriage totally committed to staying together, no matter what, “in the good that may light your way, as in the bad that may darken your days.”
See this story in the February 25, 2015 edition of The Webster Progress Times at http://websterprogresstimes.com/2015/02/25/local-pastors-share-a-few-tips-for-a-great-marriage/
See a portion of this story in the February 25, 2015 edition of The Choctaw Plaindealer at http://choctawplaindealer.com/2015/02/25/local-pastors-share-a-few-tips-for-a-great-marriage/
See a portion of this story in the February 25, 2015 edition of The Winston County Journal at http://winstoncountyjournal.com/local-pastors-share-a-few-tips-for-a-great-marriage/