12 tips on strengthening your marriage from Romans 12:
- Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Romans 12:9
At the end of the first five days in the creation account, Scripture reports, “And God saw that it was good” (Gen 1:10, 12, 18, 21, 25). However after creating Adam and Eve and giving them to each other in marriage, Scripture tells us, “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good” (Gen 1:31 emphasis added). In Malachi, God says, “I hate divorce” (Mal 2:16). God hates divorce and says marriage is very good. Paul exhorted the early Christians in Rome to “hate what is evil” and to “cling to what is good.” Be like the heavenly Father in hating divorce and clinging to your marriage, which is very good.
- Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Romans 12:10
Love puts the well-being of the other before oneself. Love with the love of Christ, who even forgave those who nailed Him to the cross: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Lk 23:34).
- Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Romans 12:11
Do you view your marriage as “serving the Lord?” Serve the Lord by honoring your marriage vows zealously (with feeling, showing strong and energetic support for a person or cause) and with fervor (great warmth and intensity of emotion).
- Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Romans 12:12
Demonstrate true love by praying for your spouse when they have offended you. It is hard to remain angry at a person when you are praying for them. Prayer is a sign of the genuineness of your love for your spouse.
- Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Romans 12:13
At times, your spouse may be angry at you, belligerent and uncooperative. These are behaviors of hurting people. Your spouse is in need of your love. Be hospitable to your spouse in thought, word and deed.
- Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Romans 12:14
Pray prayers of blessing for your spouse. A great prayer of blessing is Aaron’s priestly blessing in the book of Numbers 6:24-26. Insert your spouse’s name in the place of “you” to make your prayer more personal.
- Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Romans 12:15
The key here is having empathy for the emotional needs of your spouse. Empathy involves listening to what is being said and understanding the deep feelings of another. Empathy builds emotional bridges between two people.
- Live in harmony with one another. Romans 12:16
Can you really have harmony in the midst of marital strife? Yes. Your spouse may be antagonistic but it is your job to live in harmony and peace. This can only be done through humility and a willingness to love your spouse no matter what. A close relationship to Jesus Christ, daily prayer and scripture reading is mandatory to be able to live in harmony in the midst of trials.
- Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. Romans 12:17
An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth is not helpful. If your spouse does something to hurt you, repay him or her with love. Nothing warms a cold heart more than someone who chooses to love in spite of hurtful actions.
- If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Romans 12:18
Peace and harmony go hand-in-hand. If you are acting in a loving way, living in harmony, peace will naturally follow. If you lack peace, check to see if there is any bitterness or anger welling up inside you toward your spouse. Peace only comes when you walk in the way of the Lord, loving without counting the cost.
- Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Romans 12:19-20
Revenge is the Lord’s. You are called to love your spouse and to do loving acts of kindness for him or her. In doing so, “you will heap burning coals” on their head…a sign of purging from sin and purification in the Old Testament (see Isaiah 6:5-7 and Malachi 3:2-3) for “love covers over a multitude of sins” (1 Pt 4:8).
- Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:21
Overcome evil by doing good. Christ overcame sin and death by giving up His life for the salvation of humanity. He loved even those who hated Him and nailed Him to the cross. Christ is your model of love. Ask Christ into your heart and let Him shine His love into the heart of your spouse. Lives are changed through the power of His love. May He first change you into the person that He wants you to be so that you can be the person your spouse needs and desires. Amen!
Love is victorious! May God bless your marriage as you try to outdo each other in kindness.