Marriage has a way of going from ultra-happy to various levels of happy, maybe even some unhappy. But I think if most people would ask you, "Is your marriage happy?" you'd say, "Well, my marriage is happy. I'm kind of happy."
Marriage is an institution that we cannot take lightly, marriage is an institution we cannot take for granted. Marriage must be nurtured in order for it to be happier. So the title of this sermon is, "Your Marriage Can Be Happier." Because I'm assuming you're happy, if you're not happy you can still be happier right? Happier than unhappy is maybe happy, so if you're happy, it will be happier, if you're happier it might be happiest! Either way you can't lose. For those who are not married yet, please take note because these seven points will do you well as you look at and look around and consider whom you will marry. These seven areas are very important to marriage.
I brought several books along with me, I'm not going to read them, I will quote out of a couple of them, but they're very important books. One, Why Marriages Will Succeed or Fail by John Gottman who did a study over, I think it was like 27 years of married couples to see what made them tick and what made them work. Another one by Mark Goulston and Philip Goldberg is entitled The Six Secrets of Lasting Relationship . Another one you're familiar with in all likelihood, Gary Chapman's book entitled The Five Love Languages and one that I often recommend to young couples before they get married is entitled Before You Say I Do by Wes Roberts and H. Norman Wright. So I'll be making just a few quotes from those as I go along.
What are the seven essentials to having a happier marriage? Let's take a look:
1. Probably an issue we understand intellectually but we don't somehow internalize, that is, marriage is for two people, marriage is for both partners . It isn't, "Let's get married so I can be happy." You notice what happened? We went from "us" to "I" – we went from plural to singular, let us get married so I can be happy. Is marriage just for one; is marriage just to satisfy the man? OK, I've got this wife, now I don't have to do my laundry, I don't have to do my cooking, I don't have to do my cleaning, I don't have to do anything, if I just get married, I'd find somebody who is my perfect slave. Is that what it's about? Is every decision made by the man for the man? Or should every decision made in the family be for the family? Should the whole family be taken into consideration? It takes two to tango, not one. Sometimes you see Geico ads, "Does it take two to tango?" And you see three people out there dancing. Well I'd like to see one person out there dancing – you can't do it with one– it takes two. Marriage is for both partners. It's a major key –how many times have I seen marriages have difficulties because the man assumes everything is for him – all of the decisions are made for him. After all, God does say she should submit to him in everything ? Isn't he in charge? Yes. But how he's in charge will make a huge difference as to whether that marriage is happy or not. Marriage is for two, both, it takes two to get married, you don't marry yourself and marriage isn't certainly for just one, it's for two. Genesis 1:27-28 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.  And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
See All... – it takes two. God said it at the beginning and we believe it.
Genesis 1:27So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. See All... – God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him, male and female He created them. V. 28 – the first wedding!
V. 28 – And God blessed them …I believe in that blessing was marriage, otherwise He would have been telling them, you become a baby generator to Adam and Eve, you become a baby producer , a generator and a producer, they had to be married before they could start having children… and said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth, subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the fowl of the air and over every creeping thing that moves upon the earth. " He said to them , He didn't say to Adam, He said to them, I give you authority over these things – it takes two. Genesis 2:24Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. See All... - following a little more complete explanation of this.
Genesis 2:24Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. See All... – Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother, shall cleave to his wife and they (not he!) shall be one flesh. They shall be together – they shall be one – not he shall be one. They shall be one. It's two.
V. 25 – And they were naked, the man and his wife and they were not ashamed . Why should they be ashamed? They were married.
Two – it takes two to get married. It's very important that you realize marriage is for both. It's not for one. It's not for the other. It's for both. A domineering wife could say this marriage is for me. "It's all about me. Everything is about me. Everything is for me." That's not what marriage is about. A domineering husband: everything is for me. "I'm the king of the household and you're nothing." And you say, "Big deal! You're king over nothing!" "I'm king, you're nothing!" Marriage is for two. It's for both. And when that point alone is realized, the whole complexion of the marriage will change, because couples will realize we're both in this together, not just one or the other. We're both in it, together. We're both in it to make it work. Ephesians 5:22-24 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.  For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.  Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.
Ephesians 5:22Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. See All... – Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as to the Lord, for the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the Church, He is the Savior of the body .
How is Christ the head of the Church? He's out to save it, He's out to help it, He's out to purify it, He's out to help it be the best it can be. He doesn't blast the Church. Read through Revelation 2 and 3 – the letters to the seven Churches. "I know your works…." He didn't kill them. He didn't slay them. He just urged them to repent – urged them to change. He still said, "I'm with you. I know what you're doing, I know what you're all about, but you're still My people."
The husband is the head of the home. We've always taught that. In spite of the world, we've always taught that. The husband being head of the home will make a huge difference to the happiness of that marriage. How he's the head of the home will make a huge difference to the happiness of that family.
V. 24 – Therefore, as the Church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.
If the husband wanted to, boy, he could just be king and have his wife do everything – wipe his feet when he came in, put his slippers on, then when he came in, give him his pipe (we don't smoke) give him his newspaper, give him his easy chair, bring him his tea or coffee and let him sit. If that's what he expects of her, he expects that of a slave. She is not his slave. She's his partner. She's complementary to him. It takes two. That's point #1: realize that, you work together. It's not one over the other. One has ultimate authority and will be held ultimately responsible for how that marriage goes, but they work together, not one over the other, pushing the other one down.
2. Build and maintain trust . Trust is the key word. Trust takes a long time to build and can be lost in a second or two. Someone has to do just one thing and you lose trust. It takes a long time to build it, but it can be lost very rapidly. Trust - faithful, committed, responsive. Proverbs 31:10Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. See All... – when you trust somebody you know they would never hurt you. I think of my little grand dog the last few days – right around the July 4th time – she lies down on the floor, opens herself up to me. If I wanted to slay her, I could slay her really easily – just lies down on the floor in front of me. If I'm sitting on the floor with her…she knows I would never hurt her. She knows I would never hurt her. And you know what, she'd never hurt me either. Even though I play with her mouth, she'll try to bite my finger. She'll always just put her mouth on my finger, she'll never bite me. She trusts me. I remember my dad, when he was teaching me to swim, I always knew that he would never let me go under the water. He would put his hands underneath me to see if I could float – which I don't float very well – most men don't – my bottom seems to the bottom of the lake, like this. Anyway, I don't quite float real well, but he had his hands under me, and he'd say, "Okay." And sometimes he'd let go – wouldn't be touching me – but I always knew his hands were there. If I started to go under, his hands were there. It's trust. You know they would never hurt you. They would never do anything to hurt you or make you feel bad. That's something awesome. I feel safe with them. I feel secure. Safe and secure. Proverbs…. Seems like that's an advertisement on TV – every so often, during the Reds baseball game, okay, safe and secure!
Proverbs 31:10Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. See All... – Who can find a virtuous woman for her price is far above rubies …what makes her virtuous, it's hard to describe what… the heart of her husband does safely trust in her.
Trust – you know that she's devoted to you. You know that she's committed to you. You know that he's devoted to you. You know that he's committed to you. You don't worry because you know that they trust you and you trust them. Boy, does that bring happiness. I know they would never do anything to hurt me. I know they would never go out and have an affair. I know they would never fool around with someone else. I know they would never do that. I know. Happiness - sure, trust – when you build it, don't ever violate it. Don't ever violate it.
I have a book in there called After the Affair – when couples cheat and how difficult it is for couples to ever come back. Don't even start down that path. Don't even start. Trust is so important. Notice he says:
V. 11 – His heart safely trusts in her so that he will have no need of spoil.
V. 12 – She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life …what a tremendous statement! She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life. A man should do the same thing.
Do her good and not evil. I never want to do evil – don't want to hurt. When you feel safe, that's trust. They'll never hurt me. That's trust. They'll always be there. That's trust. They won't let me down. That's trust. They keep their promise. That's trust. Takes time to build, but can easily be destroyed. 1 Corinthians 13:8Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. See All.... If you trust that someone loves you…. I look at couples…. And I think of couples and weddings that I have done – and I've done a number of weddings – that no longer are together. Unfortunately – but I don't give a guarantee – the only guarantee is, I've given you the means and the information and knowledge to work with. What you do with that knowledge is up to you. You make the guarantee, not me. But I think of some of those couples who were so in love with each other, who cared about each other, who would do anything for each other, and now they hate each other, despise each other, divorce each other.
I Corinthians 13:8 – Love never fails .
Boy, you know, that person will never quit loving me. They will always love me, even when they're upset with me. They'll still love you, even when things don't go well. They'll still love you. You never hold out love. "I'm not going to love you anymore" – now I love you, now I don't, now I love you…. You always love. You may not always bless, you may not always reward, but you always love. Love never fails. Trust. If you marry someone, you're with someone, and you know they'll always be there for you. They will always love. You know what God says? He's the same yesterday, today and forever. That's a Godly trait. If you trust someone, you know what you expect. They'll always be there – yesterday, today and forever. Trust – build it, keep it, maintain it in your relationship.
3. Communicate effectively . Let me read to you a quote from Clinebell and Clinebell, from the book Intimate Marriage – Communications is the means by which relating takes place. Its quality determines how a relationship is established and whether it is continued or terminated .
You know what one of the important things is for marriage? Communication. Communication affects the whole marriage. Sex affects part of the marriage, finances affect part of a marriage, but the ability to be able to communicate with someone – to have them understand you, to have you understand them – is so vital for happiness in a relationship. Good communication is the ability to transmit and receive meanings. It is the instrument for achieving that mutual understanding which is at the heart of marital intimacy .
Let me read you another quote; this comes from H. Norman Wright on Premarital Counseling . He says, " The final trait which is necessary for a love relationship to develop and to be maintained is communication. There are differences in abilities, styles and beliefs about communication. Free interchange of ideas is essential. Communication is the ability to share in such a way that the other person can understand and accept what is being said ." But listening is also involved. Communication isn't just speaking, communication is also listening. True listening means not thinking about what you are going to say when the other person stops talking. Isn't that what someone says? You're formulating your response. "I'm ready. I'm ready. I'm ready to go." As soon as they stop, boom, you launch out. True listening means not thinking about what you're going to say when the other person stops talking. It means not making value judgments as to how the other person expresses themselves. Oh look, they said the wrong word. They used the wrong grammatical word there. They said, "They're" and it should have been "you," ha ha ha, I got them on that one" – evaluating what they're saying while they're speaking. It means if you are really listening, you can reflect back both the meaning and feeling of what was expressed. Communication – it's vital for a relationship to be happy. Of course, it's not only words. It's touch. It's nonverbal clues. Everybody knows that the actual words said are not all that is said. It's the demeanor of the person who says it. It's the character of the person who says it. It's the body tone of the person who says it. It's the tone of voice by the person who says it. It's a lot more than just words. If you just take words in a relationship…so you have a difficulty – you have a little tiff with your wife – and you say, "Is everything all right dear?" "Yes, fine. I'm fine" – now do you believe everything is fine by the way she says "I'm fine. Yes, I'm fine, don't worry. I'm OK. It will be all right." Do you think it's all right? It's not all right if you don't listen to the tone. She said it was all right, so what am I supposed to do? Listen…listen to the tone. Also listen to the tone when she says, "I love you." Does it convey love? "Of course I love you. You know I love you, don't you?" Does that sound like a person who loves the person?
Communication is really vital. Effective communication has to do with attitude. What's your attitude? It has to do with looks – how you look when you say it. It has to do with patterns of communications that sometimes we get into. It has to do with empathy. Do you feel for that person? Are you really feeling what they're saying? We have a saying in counseling that you not only listen with your ears, but you listen with your eyes and your heart. Do not just listen with your ears. You listen with your eyes and your heart. Communication is so vital. I read to you from Why Marriages Succeed or Fail by Gottmann, this is page 57.
How you communicate is so important to the happiness of your marriage. We all live in a negative world – why? Because the god of this world is negative. He's a loser. He knows he's going to lose. He, for sure, spreads that attitude of defeatism. He spreads that attitude of negativity – nothing is ever going to turn out right. And you buy into it, because you're part of the world. You're here. You're in this world. If you're not careful, you become negative and you always see the cloud. You don't see the silver lining. You always see the dark cloud. You don't see the sunshine and so you tend to be negative. And when your negativity is greater than your positive comments to each other, your marriage is heading downward. Stop and ask yourself: how do you communicate with your mate? Is it everything that's wrong? And frankly guys and gals, as we get older, ladies and gentlemen, we tend to be more negative. Why? We've lived longer. We know what to expect. We know what this should be like and we tend to look on things as crusty old men and women. And if you're too crusty, there's no happiness.
Too much negativity in a relationship will send it right down when – and this is what he studied after years of studying different groups, that's what he came to – marriages over 27 years, 700 marriages that he's studied…anyway, page 57, breaking into a thought: … that magic ratio is 5 to 1. In other words, as long as there are five times as much positive feeling and interaction between the husband and wife than there is negative, we found the marriage was likely to be stable. It was based on this ratio that we were able to predict whether couples were likely to divorce – in the very unhappy couples they tended to be more negative than positive in their interactions.
So you want happiness? You've got to think positively. You've got to reject that negativity. You may see it. It's not being pie in the sky. It's what you choose to talk about – what you choose to bring up. It's how you choose to bring it up. It's the demeanor and the attitude in which you approach the other person. If you're not careful, you get too negative, and the whole marriage starts to go down. In fact, if there is more negativity than positivity, that marriage is failing. You want it to be happier? Five to one – some say seven to one – for every zinger you give, you've got to give 7 positives. I gave my daughter Jan a zinger when she was traveling with us to see her grandparents, and she said, "Now dad, you owe me…." I said, "Okay, you look nice. You're sweet. You're nice…." It was just all trivial. And she said, "That doesn't count!" She was right. You make one zinger and you've got to take seven positives – this one says five. For every one negative, five positives – to keep stable. Think about your communication, is it positive or negative? Malachi 3:16Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name. See All.... Do you have communication or do you grunt? Do you have communication? Do you talk to each other? Do you listen to each other? Do you uplift each other? Do you encourage each other? Do you inspire each other? Or do you detract from each other? Do you despise each other? Do you condemn each other? You may have a whole system of what you do. There are four types of things…complaint is okay – "the toast was burnt today." That's complaint, but contempt is, "You always burn the toast." No, that's criticism, "you always burn the toast. Contempt is, "You're a horrible cook." Complaint is okay. You're addressing an issue. You're not putting down the person. And what do people do when they respond to people who criticize them, and condemn them, and use contempt? Do you know what they do? They stonewall. They become defensive. They may even get in the car and peel rubber as they drive out of the driveway. "I've got to go for a drive. I've got to mellow out." Sounds like Father of the Bride. "I've got to mellow out." Get in the car and peel rubber – just get away from the situation. Or they turn into a computer, feeling-less – you don't want that. Happiness is something you can have if you're willing to put forth the effort.
Malachi 3:16Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name. See All... – They that feared the Lord spoke often one to another …he's talking about brethren, he's talking about godly people….but if godly people speak often one to one another, how much should loving godly people do it? How much should married couples do it? They that feared the Lord spoke often one to another and the Lord listened and heard.
You know that God listens in on your conversations to each other? Do you know that God is aware? Think about that. When you have conversations with brethren, with husbands, with wives, with children, with family, children with children, God is listening in. And is He pleased or displeased with what He hears? Colossians 4:6Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man. See All... – the bible offers good advice.
Colossians 4:6Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man. See All... – Let your speech be always with grace …let it be graceful, let it be tasteful, let it be such that people can take it, can receive it… let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt …where it's tasteful… that you may know how you ought to answer every man.
How is the issue. Now if there's a fire, I'm not going to say, "Now brethren, we need to try and get out of this building" (in a soft voice) - I'm going to say, "FIRE FIRE FIRE, GO THAT WAY, NO NOT THAT WAY, ETC." I'm going to tell you how to get out of here. And I'm going to be yelling it, not going to say, (soft voice) "Now brethren, I think we really need to be getting out of this building, it's burning down now." I'm not going to do that. But by grace, let your speech be seasoned with grace so you know how to answer every man …every situation. Proverbs 15:1A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger. See All... – oh if we could only apply these scriptures, how much happier our relationships would be in marriage.
Proverbs 15:1A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger. See All... – A soft answer turns away wrath …think about that family members, couples - when your husband gets upset at you wife, how do you respond? Now nobody asks you to be a doormat. Nobody asks you to lie down with a block on you. But if your response is, "I'm sorry dear, I didn't realize that would bother you. I'm sorry you're upset" and stop there. Instead, what is our tendency? To fight back – respond back in the same manner, in the same strength. After all, I've got to respond. What happens if the wife is out of sorts, and the husband comes home – there's a meal on the table cooling off – getting hotter and he comes home late – didn't call her – she's upset – he says, "Well I couldn't help it. I'm in traffic. Don't you realize I'm in traffic?" What happens? A fight. But what if he does this, "I'm sorry, I didn't call you. I'm sorry." How can you fight? You can't fight when someone gives a soft answer. When people want to fight, they're looking for an opponent. If you're not an opponent…I'm not getting engaged. "Sorry, I'm not getting in the ring. I'm not putting on my gloves. I'm just going to stand down here and say, ‘I'm sorry.'" A soft answer turns away wrath, but grievous words stir up anger .
You want happiness? Communicate! Communicate effectively. I'm going to read to you from Before You Say I Do by Roberts and Wright, what they say about communication, page 52, just under the heading – listen to this very carefully. Communication is to love what blood is to life . Have you ever thought about it that way before? It is impossible to have any kind of relationship unless there is communication that is true for you, for your fiancé, for your husband and for your relationship with God. You must communicate – hear and speak – not just hear, but listen and speak. Listen, respond and speak. Communication is to love what blood is to life. If you want your marriage to be happy, it takes communication – positive, uplifting communication – open communication, responsible communication – and the effects will be wonderful.
4. Respect – I'm going to quote to you from Six Secrets of a Lasting Marriage , pages 106-107, under the section entitled, "Why respect deteriorates." See when you first get married – when you like somebody – they're like the knight in shining armor that's always polished. She's like the apple of your eye. She's like the flower. She's like the sheep in the pasture, with her teeth white like sheep with wool. They had a different view of what was attractive! If you went up to some lady and said, your teeth look just like a sheep's…it just doesn't sound good…but this woman that you see as the princess, flawless princess. Isn't it amazing that when we're on vacation, riding on a plane, chatting at a cocktail party, we are respectful of people we meet, we are polite, we mind our manners, we listen with a minimum of judgment, if we think the other person is foolish or stupid or self-centered, we certainly don't let them know that we feel that way. Isn't it amazing that we often get more respect from and give more respect to strangers than to the people we love and live with.
How nice are you to strangers? How nice are you to your family? How nice are you to your mate? Actually, it shouldn't amaze us all. Familiarity does breed contempt. The longer you're with someone, the easier it is to discount them – the easier it is to not respect them. One article I was reading actually said that men prefer respect over love. If they feel respected, they would prefer to have respect more than love. Pages 98 & 99…I'll read this: If you doubt the importance of respect, imagine how you would feel if your partner were to look you in the eye and say, "I have no respect for you." How devastating would that be? Worse than being told you're ugly? Worse than being told you're stupid? Most people would say so. And losing respect for your spouse or your lover is no better. It can be worse than disagreeing on important issues, no longer finding him or her physically attractive. A severe loss of respect in either direction could turn a heavenly bond into hell on earth .
One more comment on respect: we all need to feel esteemed by our mates. We need to. This is my partner. Is she on my side or not? Is she for me or against me? I hope she's for you! Is she on your side? Isn't it wonderful to know the person you love the most on this earth as a human being is on your side? We want to be looked up to – made to feel we're special. We want to know our partners think of us as a good catch, and when they speak to others about us, it's with the highest regard. We thrive on the knowledge that we measure up to their standards – that they believe in us and admire us. We want them to be proud of us and we want to feel pride and admiration for them.
That's respect. Respect is so essential in marriage. Respect and honor – goes both ways. It's not just the wife having to…"Sir, deep reverence, sir, lord. What can I do for you today, lord." It's also the husband who should respecting and honoring his wife. I Peter 3:7. I'll start off with this one.
I Peter 3:7 – Likewise, you husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge …Paul's famous six times as many comments to the wife as he has to the husband because he cared about the wives, verse 7 comes down on the husbands… likewise, you husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge …knowledge of how they are, knowledge of who they are, knowledge of their strengths, knowledge of their weaknesses… giving honor to the wife …What? I thought she was supposed to honor the husband and deeply reverence him. What's this scripture doing here. Is Peter contradicting Paul? What's going on here? … giving honor to the wife as to the weaker vessel …now it's not saying, "You weakling. I always have to support you." It's not talking about that. Tthe weaker vessel is not a useless vessel. It's not a non-functioning vessel. It's a weaker vessel… as being heirs together of the grace of life that your prayers be not hindered.
If you're not working together, God's going to have a hard time accepting your prayers - husbands and wives. Respect, honor, show that person that deference, respect, looking again at them. They deserve a second look because they're so great, they're so outstanding. Ephesians 5:21Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. See All...&33. A wife is certainly told to respect her husband but the husband also is supposed to respect his wife. It is amazing in Ephesians 5:21Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. See All..., when one partner feels respected, it's easier to give it to the other. But if there is no respect, a very difficult time having respect in the home.
Ephesians 5:21-22 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.  Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.
See All... – Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. Wives, submit yourselves to your own husband. First submit to one another, then verse 22, he says, wives submit. Then notice v. 33:
V. 33 – Nevertheless, let everyone of you in particular so love his wife even as himself and the wife see that she reverences …or deeply respects… her husband .
Deep respect – but the husband already honors her, so it's easy for her to respect him, because he honors her. She feels honored. She gives honor. He feels honored. He gives honor. He's in charge of the home – no question. Respect him as the leader of the home, but respect him as a person, not just as authority. Respect him as a person. Respect her as a person. She's your wife. She's part of you. You're a team. You're one. Learn from each other. Be willing to yield to each other. Be willing to get each other's advice. Be willing to seek each other's advice. Number 4 – respect. With good respect – proper respect – there's happiness.
5. Resolve problems . Pages 148 & 149 in this Six Secrets to a Lasting Relationship – Nothing cramps enjoyment like the accumulation of anger, resentment, other negative feelings between partners. Nothing. Unresolved resentment often bubbles to the surface in behavior that sabotages enjoyment. If I'm miserable – what do they say - what's that expression – misery loves company. If I'm miserable, I'm not going to let him have a good time . Unresolved resentment often bubbles to the surface in behavior that sabotages enjoyment. The subconscious mind whispers, he or she made me unhappy so I'm going to get revenge by making sure he or she is unhappy too. I'm not going to let them get away with this, you think I'm going to let them have fun after they made me unhappy?
You know what? Talk about the unhappiness. That's called problem solving? Too many marriages, too many couples, too many spouses or mates run away from problems. "I don't want to talk about that. That's unpleasant. I don't want to bring that up. That's unpleasant." At the right time – the right set of circumstances – bring it up, in private, with each other – not in public places, but in private, bring it up to each other – talk about it, get it out, clear the air, so there's not this accumulation of baggage. Learn from one another. How do you reach each other when you're in trouble? Do you deny? Do you avoid? Do you flee? Do you yell? Some people just yell and stomp off. That solves it. Yeah, always solves problems, doesn't it? Doesn't solve problems. It makes the other person angrier and you walk off unsatisfied. Does yelling solve…there's no problem here…when you know there is? There's a white elephant lying in the middle of the room that you have to go around all the time because you've not solved it. Resolve problems. Some people don't like to solve the problem right away. Some mates make it worse because they insist on getting this solved right now, because that's good for me. When somebodies hurting, you do what is the way that's good for them. You let them stew if they need to stew for a little while. I say don't stew over a day. If you want to hold your anger the longest, stew – let it simmer longest – have an argument just after sunset, then you've got a whole day to hold it, because it says don't let the sun set on your wrath. If you have an argument just before sunset, you have very little time to solve it! Choose when you argue, if you like to stew, and let it simmer. But one day, that's all. The Bible says, "Don't let the sun go down on your wrath." Some people like to take time. Some people like…"Well maybe this isn't important to bring up…maybe it's my fault. Maybe I just need to take some time to pray about it. I need to think it through. Let's see, how will I verbalize it?" If you attack them right away – "We've got to get this solved right now" – they're going to come at you on emotion and they're not going to come at you with well thought out comments. Some people don't have a quick mind. They're brilliant. They're bright. But they're not quick. Give them time. Don't force your style of solving the problem on them. Give them time. I usually take time. My wife…she's pretty quick about it. She's Germanic and she's usually pretty quick. But she doesn't force me. I take time. You know…"Is this really worth bringing up? Maybe it's not. Maybe I should think about it a little longer." Then I'm willing to talk about it. I don't like to put things under the rug, because you know you get the picture of the rug – so much dirt under the rug. What happens to the rug? It gets a mound. It's obvious to see there's a mound under this rug because you keep sweeping enough dirt under it because you don't want to admit there's a problem. Resolve your problems. Don't avoid them. Don't run away from them. Don't yell. Don't pretend. Don't sublimate. "I'll just do something else over here to get my mind off it. I'll just distract myself from this." It's still a problem, isn't it? You can distract. That's fine. It's still a problem. In fact, it's still a problem you didn't get rid of the problem by distracting. You didn't get rid of the problem by yelling, by avoiding, by denying, by sweeping it under the rug. The best way is to level with them, with humility, with willingness to talk. Do you know what marriages last the longest? Those who are friends. Those who have a friendship, because they can talk to each other. They want to get this solved. They don't like being at odds with their friend. They find they can solve the problem. "I'm sorry" are two great words – one's a contracted word – three words – "I am sorry." Three great words to know in marriage or in any relationship. "I'm sorry" and mean it. Never hurts, always helps.
Matthew 18:15Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. See All... gives you the solution how to solve problems.
Matthew 18:15Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. See All... – " Moreover if your brother shall trespass against you …or your husband or your wife… go tell him his faults between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother …we'll just stop it there.
What is the advice? Tell them about it. Talk to them about it. Some men might not know that they hurt you. Some men might not even know – they might not even relate to it – that you're upset because you spent hours making this wonderful sauce for the steak and they didn't even comment on it. They just ate the steak as if there was no sauce there. And you spent hours trying to put this, that and the other thing in – some concoction to make this steak sauce – and they never said a word. And you're sitting there…he didn't even say anything – didn't even appreciate it. Why doesn't he appreciate what I do for him? What's wrong with him? Maybe I'll just throw the food out there, not cooked well. I won't care about doing this anymore. Why don't you tell him? "Honey, do you like the sauce? I spent four hours making that sauce for your steak. Did you like it?" Why not say something? He might not even know. He might be more interested in reading the sport section of the newspaper or watching the baseball game or something – maybe the work he's going to do in the yard that evening. He may not remember. He may not notice and you're upset about something he doesn't even know. Talk to him. Let him know. Resolve your problems between you and him.
Matthew 5:23Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; See All... – " Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar and you remember that your brother has anything against you, leave there your gift before the altar and go your way and first be reconciled to your …husband or wife, I substituted for brother, they're your brother or sister too …. and then come and offer your gift .
Think about how God thinks of you. You've got this problem with your husband or this problem with your wife, and you're kneeling down, and you're talking to Him about how great He is, how wonderful He is, how great His kingdom is going to be, and you know what He says to you? Stop – stop, go talk to your husband or wife. Go get that sorted out, so when you come to Me, you'll be totally devoted. Stop, go talk to them. That's what He says here.
V. 23 – " Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar …you brought something to give to God… and remember that your brother has anything against you …there's something there, either you have something against him or he has against you… leave your gift at the altar and go your way and first be reconciled to your brother, then come and offer it .
Get it solved. Don't sweep it under the table. Remember, "I'm sorry" goes a long way.
6. Show love to each other . And I don't mean you have to drape yourself all over them every Sabbath when you come to services to show people you love them. But don't be afraid to show affection to the one you love. A hand hold, stroking, little things that are appropriate in public. It's wonderful! And before your kids…. Do you know what kids feel like when they see dad kiss mom? Dad loves mom! Isn't that nice for them to know? "I don't want the kids to see me kissing my wife." I don't mean "making out." I don't mean that. I mean a display of affection where your kids see you hug your wife, where your kids see you pat your wife on the back, or as she walks by give her a little swat on the tush. Maybe she scored a point you know – they do in basketball – give a little swat. Let your kids know and see that you love each other. Show each other affection. Don't just think about it.
Now the other side – I worry about people if I see them draped over each other all the time in public. I don't mean newlyweds or individuals like that. I mean after they've been married awhile. This one lady in Pasadena always – her husband couldn't even get to the Bible - turn to I Corinthians 14….he couldn't get to 14, because she's draped over him! It was like push her over here! It was like ivy – clinging vine – "Get her off of me." I'm not saying that. But if you love each other, show it – to each other mostly – but don't be afraid to show it, too. Comfort, solace when they need it, encouragement. You know the book, Five Love Languages , very good book – five love languages, some people like words, words of affirmation, just nice words, they melt with words. Some people melt with words, some people don't. If you melt with words, you might think everybody melts with words….that might not be their love language. What is their love language? Is it time spent – just time spent with this person – by just spending time with you, does that do it? I love people to spend time with me. They might not want you to spend time with them. That might not…I mean lots of time, they might love words. What is their love language? It's not what is yours. It's good for you to know yours, too, but what do they need? Do they need gifts? Sometimes give them something – not all the time – give gifts, but that might not be their love language. What about services – just do something for them. Take out the trash. "Oh, I love you so much, dear. You took the trash out." Is it service? What is it? What is your love language? What do you appreciate? Is it touch? Is it affection? Is it the holding of hands? What is it? That's the five love languages he brings out - very good book by Chapman, Five Love Languages .
Ephesians 5:25Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; See All... – Husbands, love your wives …I think a woman tends to have, to be more in touch with her feelings, than a man is. I think they have an easier time displaying their feelings than a man does. I think they tend to be more affectionate than a man is. And it makes it easier for them to show love and affection. In fact there is only one part, one place that God says a woman could love her husband and that's only kind of like the elderly woman should teach the younger women, to love their husbands. And for husbands, God gives this direct order, Ephesians 5:25Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; See All... - Husbands, love your wives …doesn't say husband love your wives, he says…Husband s , love your wives, so if we make it singular and say husband love your wife or husbands love your wives, but the point is, he does say love… even as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself for it – expended Himself on behalf of the Church.
Love. Show it. Don't be afraid. Do they feel special? Do they feel warm by being with you? Do you warm their heart and their soul, their being? (And I don't mean soul, immortal soul; I use it as an expression) Do they warm you by their presence? Glad to see you, do you feel the love they have for you? Titus 2:4That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, See All... is the scripture I referred to...love, of course, real love is not possible, true love is not possible without agape love – you have human love. Do you want Godly love behind it? You know, raise me up to be more than you could be. Do you want to have the right love in your marriage? You have to be raised up. You've got to bring it to a Godly love – agape – which means "I care about you more than I care about me." It's agape – it's with that – the eros – the romantic love – mixed with that, the brotherly love, and you've got complete love. So in Titus 2:4That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, See All... we read this:
Titus 2:4That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, See All... – That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children …so it's ok for wives to love their husbands…if my wife only promises to submit to me. "Honey, you don't have to love me, you just promise to submit to me."
In our early marriage ceremonies they never asked the wife if she promised to love her husband! We just said, do you promise to submit? Mr. Armstrong was taking it from Ephesians 5, he took it from there, but I incorporated Titus 2:4That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, See All... in the new Church of God ceremony, when it was being written, a couple of us put our two cents in, my two cents was, it's okay for a wife to love her husband, so we ask the woman, do you promise to love him. My wife didn't promise to love me, so I can say, "You didn't promise to love me. You only promised to submit. As long as you do what I ask you to do, you're doing your job." But it's ok if she wants to love me too! The rest of you better love your husbands. Okay. Love is very important. Titus 2:4That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, See All... - … teach them to love their husbands, to love their children…
I want to read you one quote. It's entitled Kissing Power . It comes from Rich Hardison of the Tabernacle Church of Norfolk, Virginia. Husbands who kiss their wives every morning before leaving for work usually live five years longer than those who do not. A kissing husband has fewer automobile accidents, loses up to 50% less time from work because of illness and earns 20-30% more than a non-kissing husband . Do you want an automatic raise? Start kissing your wife before you go to work guys! 20-30%. No statistics were available for benefits to kissing wives. Perhaps along with special rates for non-smokers and non-drinkers, there will soon be a special rate for kissers from insurance companies !
Kiss, show affection, give affection to your wife, build that marriage, or to your husband, you build that marriage, make it work and make it happier.
7. Welcome God into your relationship, welcome God into your marriage . Is God a part of your marriage or are you doing it all yourself? Do you ask God for help to be the best husband you can be? Do you ask God for help to be the wife you can be? Do you ask God for help to be the best mother or best father or best brother or best sister, best grandparent? Do you bring God into it? Do you ask Him for help? I Corinthians 11:3 – I'm reminded of a…remember when Mr. T – the one with the Mohawk, the A Team, big bruising guy – he was receiving this award for whatever it was, I remember seeing him on television – you know what he said? He said, "I thank God that I can receive this award. Because without God, if you don't have God in your life, you are nothing." Without God you are nothing – that comes from a man built like a brick building, powerful and strong, talented. Without God in your life, you are nothing. Make God a part of your life, make God a part of your marriage, after all, He is the author…. Over in I Corinthians 11:3, let's read this first because He is the author of marriage. If you ask, "God, we don't know how to make this work. Can You help us make it work? You invented marriage. You can help us through this." Invite Him into your marriage. Invite Him to be a part of it.
I Corinthians 11:3 – But I would have you know that the head of every man is Christ and the head of every woman is the man and the head of Christ is God.
Notice – the head of every man is Christ, the head of the woman is the man, and that of Christ is God. God the Father, Jesus Christ, the husband and the wife. God's involved. God wants to be a part of your relationship. Hebrews 13:4Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge. See All... – He can help you through the rough spots, He can give you the strength to make it through difficulties. He can help you enjoy the joys even more.
Hebrews 13:4Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge. See All... – Marriage is honorable in all …in every way… and the bed undefiled …what a husband and wife do on their wedding bed and in their marital bed is their business, and blessed by God… but whoremongers and adulterers …those who are fornicators and adulterers… God will judge – because they're taking a privilege that belongs in marriage and using it without.
And I'm appalled at the attitude now in the world – that it's okay to have sex, teach your kids to have good sex, making sure you know that they're protected…. There's no protection guys and gals! You will get a venereal disease. You will get an STD. There's no protection. The only protection is NO from strangers. He says marriage is honorable. Why is it honorable? Because it was made by the honorable God of creation, which we saw in Genesis 2. God's the Maker, He built Eve and brought her to Adam, He said it's not good for man to be alone, as I mentioned individuals who are married. Let's see if I have that here. Yes, single death rate is two times higher between the ages of 25 and 34 when married and between 35 and 44 it's almost three times. Married men live longer, because marriage is good. God made it. Does that mean you should run out and get married to the first person out there who will say yes? No, it does mean to develop a friendship. Develop friendships. Take God into consultation. Ask Him to give you the wisdom to see the right person for you. Make yourself ready and ask God to help you find the right person for you and let Him send her or him. And He will one day. I've seen Him do it too many times. And there they are – sometimes they were right under their noses, sometimes they were a few years younger than the person – and they found them. They were surprised. voila , there they are!
Marriage is necessitated, brought into existence by God – created by God. Welcome Him into your marriage. It's a type of God and Israel. It's a type of Jesus Christ and the Church.
Those are the seven keys to having a happier marriage, I'll refresh you - marriage is for both partners – #1, #2 –build and maintain trust, #3 – communicate effectively, positively, #4, show respect and honor to each other, #5 – resolve problems, don't sweep them under the table, #6 – show love to each other, kissing power, remember husbands who kiss their wives live longer, have greater success and less accidents - and #7 – welcome God into your marriage.
Marriage does take effort to be vibrant and happier and successful. Use these seven essential keys and have a happier marriage.
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