Some years ago, in an effort to draw on the experiences of those who havelived together harmoniously as husbands and wives, we asked married couplesto participate in an informal study. More than six hundred people agreed tospeak candidly about the concepts and methods that have succeeded in theirhomes for thirty, forty, or even fifty years. They each wrote comments andrecommendations, which were carefully analyzed and compared. The advicethey offered is not new, but it certainly represents a great place tobegin. In attempting to learn any task, one should begin with thefundamentals—those initial steps from which everything else will develop.
What, then, according to our seasoned panel of experts, is the single mostimportant key to enjoying a successful marriage—the one thing most likelyto guarantee a lifetime of intimacy and love?
The answer is to establish and maintain a Christ-centered home.
When a husband and wife are deeply committed to Jesus Christ, they enjoyenormous advantages over a family with no spiritual dimension. Everythingrests on that foundation. Only through a spiritual connection to Him can weexperience genuine love and begin to fulfill all the potential of therelationship we call marriage.
I once received the following letter:
Dear Dr. Dobson:
My husband recently left me after fifteen years of marriage. We had a greatphysical, emotional, and intellectual relationship. But something wasmissing…we had no spiritual bond between us.
Please tell young couples that there will always be a void in their livestogether without Christ. A good marriage must have its foundation in Him inorder to experience lasting love, peace, and joy.
Since my husband walked out on me, I have tried to rebuild my relationshipwith God. I am now growing steadily in my walk with the Lord, but I amalone.
There is great truth in this sad letter. Our Lord, after all, createdmarriage, one of the most marvelous and enduring gifts ever bestowed onhumankind.
This divine plan was revealed to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden andthen described succinctly in Genesis 2:24, where we read, "Therefore shalla man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: andthey shall be one flesh" (kjv). With those twenty-one words, God announcedthe ordination of the family. Five thousand years of recorded history havecome and gone, yet every civilization in the history of the world has beenbuilt upon it. To expect a loving, intimate marriage without relying on theLord is foolhardy indeed.
To expect a loving, intimate marriage without relying on the Lord isfoolhardy.
In contrast, the couple that depends on Scripture for solutions to thestresses of living has a distinct advantage over the family with no faith.The Bible they love is the world's most wonderful text. It was written bythirty-nine authors who spoke three separate languages and lived in a timeframe spanning fifteen hundred years. How miraculous is the work of thoseinspired writers! If two or three individuals today were to witness a bankrobbery, they would probably give conflicting accounts of the incident.Human perception is simply that flawed. Yet those thirty-nine contributorsto Scripture, most of whom never even met each other, prepared sixty-sixseparate books that fit together with perfect continuity and symmetry. Theentire Old Testament makes a single statement: "Jesus is coming." And theNew Testament declares: "Jesus is here!"
By reading these Holy Scriptures, we are given a window into the mind ofthe Father. What an infallible resource! The Creator, who began withnothingness and made beautiful mountains and streams and clouds and cuddlylittle babies, has elected to give us the inside story of the family. Hetells us in His Word how to live together in peace and harmony. Everythingfrom handling money to sexual attitudes is discussed in Scripture, witheach prescription bearing the personal endorsement of the King of theuniverse. Why would anyone disregard the truths revealed therein?
The Christian way of life lends stability to marriage because itsprinciples and values naturally produce harmony. When put into action,Christian teaching emphasizes giving to others, self-discipline, obedienceto divine commandments, conformity to the laws of man, and love andfidelity between husband and wife. When functioning as intended, marriageprovides a shield against addictions to alcohol, pornography, gambling,materialism, and other behaviors that could be damaging to therelationship. Is it any wonder that a Christ-centered relationship is thebest ground floor for a marriage?
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, that great Soviet dissident, once wrote, "If I werecalled upon to identify briefly the principal trait of the entire twentiethcentury, here too I would be unable to find anything more precise and pithythan to repeat once again: Men have forgotten God."
Don't let this happen in your home.