Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm: for love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave: the coals thereof are coals of fire, which hath a most vehement flame. Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it: if a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would utterly be contemned. —Song of Solomon 8:6-7, KJV
When you first get married everything is new. You’re excited because of the uncertain future ahead of you. Will you have children? Get the job of your dreams? Buy a big house with a white picket fence?
So much is ahead, and your heart pounds with every kiss and every touch. Time goes on and that momentous wedding day becomes farther and farther away. How do you keep the relationship fresh and loving, even after the honeymoon is over? Here are a few suggestions:
Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. —Ephesians 5:22-33, KJV
Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; —Ephesians 5:25, KJV
Put God First
Always make sure that God is in the middle of your marriage. Do as you know God would want you to do, and fill the role required by God. Wives should submit themselves to their husbands––this doesn’t mean having a one-sided relationship or an unequal partnership––rather it acknowledges that each member of this union has his and her own roles in the partnership.
Additionally, the husband should love his wife like Jesus loves the Church, and show a willingness to sacrifice everything for her.
Make sure you are always talking. Find time every day where neither of you is distracted nor doing something else. Have a glass or wine, a cup of tea or whatever your pleasure happens to be, and relax together. Tell the kids to leave you alone during this time.
Make the Other Happy
Although this seems like a pretty obvious plan, once you are married, something very basic happens. You no longer do anything for just yourself. If you get yourself a beverage, get one for your spouse. If you get yourself a snack, you get one for your spouse. That’s how it goes. Try to make this part of your marriage a contest. With both of you competing to please the other, there is no way you can possibly lose. This way, you are both getting served instead of it being one-sided.
Participate in Each Other’s Dreams
Once you know what it is your spouse is dreaming about, get involved. See if there is anything you can do to help them realize their dreams. Life is short and it passes you by faster and faster as you get older. Don’t miss out on something that can make a significant difference in the life of your spouse and you. Make it happen.
Face All Trials as a Team
Again, this may appear to be obvious, but it is in fact, crucial. Remember that it is “in sickness and in health” that you signed up for.
If one of you is ill, it is the responsibility of the other one to remain strong and be the rock for the other to lean on. If your children are going through trials or finances begin to fail, it is important to face the challenges together, as a team, without blame or resentment. The more support you give each other, the easier your married life will be.
The goal of marriage is to strengthen the relationship more as each day passes. Put the other first, with God between you, and you can’t go wrong.