I am a coffee lover! Whether you like coffee or not, I’m sure you’re aware that just having a coffee pot and water doesn’t mean you’re going to have coffee. You need to add grounds in order to have a cup of coffee. And not just any old grounds will make a good cup of coffee! You need good quality coffee grounds, and the right amount if you want your coffee to be a thing of delight.
Marriage is much the same way. Just having two people who get married does not guarantee that the marriage will be successful, much less delightful. It is a sad truth in our society that many marriages do not last. And even those who “stick it out” are often not happy in the process. This is not the way God intended it. God says that marriage is honorable (Heb. 13:4), and should bring rejoicing (Pro. 5:18). A godly marriage is a picture of Christ and the church (Eph. 5:22-33). God desires that marriage be both permanent and pleasant. Our culture seems to believe that you cannot have both of these qualities at the same time, and sadly, that mindset has even permeated the hearts of many Christians.
We often hear the term “grounds for divorce” People find many reasons to justify why their marriages should be terminated. (Remember that Jesus said, “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder” Mark 10:9.) What if, instead of looking for “grounds for divorce”, we used the same diligence to seek for and practice “grounds for delight” in the marriage that God has given us? Just as a good cup of coffee requires good grounds, so a good marriage requires “good grounds” What are these “grounds for delight?”
A truly happy home must be a home that is filled with Christ, and that is following Christ. First, you must know Christ personally. Have you trusted Christ as your Savior? If so, are you seeking to be like Him in your heart and in your home? I would encourage you not to take this time to consider if your spouse is Christlike, but rather to ask
yourself if you are Christlike.
Do I love like Christ?
Do I forgive like Christ?
Do I give like Christ?
Do I submit like Christ?
This “ground” is truly the one from which all the following spring.
This should go without saying, but it still needs to be said. We must be committed to our marriages if they are to be lasting and happy. We should not even open the door of our minds to an out; in our marriage. Think about the vows you made – “forsaking all others….for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part.” If they were truthful, most people should change their vows to “for better, for richer, in health, to love as long as you love me and treat me the way I think you should, until I find sufficient reason for us to part.” We must remember that we made our vows, not to a person, but to God. He says that we shouldn't
make a vow, and then say it was a mistake. We are to keep our vows (Eccl. 5:1-6).
We need to love and care for one another. Sometimes this is easy to do, and sometimes it is difficult, but we are commanded to love our spouses (Eph. 5:25; Tit. 2:4). If we have Christlike love, we will love them as He loves us. We will be willing to love first and faithfully (I Jn. 4:19; Jer. 3:13). We will care about the other person’s needs, and will seek to meet them (I Cor. 13).
I think this is something that is often neglected or forgotten in marriage, especially after we have been married for a while. It is not enough to just love someone. Love is shown by actions. We need to remember to be kind and courteous to one another (I Pet. 3:8). It is odd how we often treat those we should love the most with the least courtesy. We are kind to strangers or general acquaintances, yet thoughtless and rude to those in our own homes. Common courtesy goes a long way in making our loved ones feel loved and appreciated.
We need to learn to be content with our spouses and with what they give us. Ultimately, we must let our expectations be fulfilled by the Lord, and not put demands on our spouses that they cannot or will not fulfill (Ps. 62:5). Many marriages are damaged because one spouse puts unrealistic or even unrighteous expectations on the other. If we learn to look to the Lord to meet our expectations, it will free us to love our spouses without bitterness or discontent. If we are constantly murmuring and complaining, we are demonstrating our discontent, and this is not pleasing to the Lord (I Cor. 10:10; I Tim. 6:6-8; Heb. 13:5). Also, if we have the “grass is greener” mindset about our spouse, constantly comparing them to others, thinking what if, we are setting ourselves up for temptation and trouble in our marriages.
Be aware that Satan is out to destroy your family (I Pet. 5:8). He will use any tactic he can find. We need to be on guard in our hearts and minds, and not give “…occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.” (I Tim. 5:14).
This goes along with caring and courtesy, but we need to be considerate and thoughtful of our spouses. I’m sure that when you first fell in love, you were constantly thinking about what you could do to please your spouse or make them happy. We shouldn’t stop doing that once we’re married. In fact, it should be more important to us than ever. We need to learn to be unselfish in our marriages. You may be able to think of other “grounds for delight” that you can apply to your marriage. I hope you will think of more! Grab a cup of coffee, and do some brainstorming. Think about your spouse, and instead of thinking about what they have done to make you unhappy, try to think of ways that you can work to make them happy. May your marriage always be a delight!
Mrs. Niki Lott
Christian Mother, Author, composer, and pastor wife