Have you ever heard the saying that the Bible is the greatest love story ever told? Many people think of it as a good book of moral teachings, but when it comes down to it, it is the story of a God who created and saved his people out of the world's most perfect love, barring absolutely no expense. Studying my Christian faith, I have learned a lot more than history or the rules for getting into heaven. I have learned the ways in which God intends me to lead a fulfilling life that, above all, is based in loving relationships with him and others. Even if you are not Christian, so many of the messages in the Bible—such as the four described below—can help you lead a more rewarding, healthy, and happy marriage.
Turn the other cheek.
""But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil. When someone strikes you on your right cheek, turn the other one to him as well." Matthew 5:39
As part of his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus tells his disciples to disregard the standard teaching of revenge, "An eye for an eye, and tooth for a tooth." Instead, he implores them to humbly accept others' hurtful words or actions without retaliation. While this, of course, shouldn't be literally applied in the case of habitual abuse, it can be applied to the occasional harsh tone your husband takes on while under pressure, or the insult he lets slip out in the heat of anger. Rather than adding fuel to the fire and snapping right back at him in defense, you can allow him his moment and give him time to cool down. Chances are that he will come back with an apology later, and hopefully your kindness will make him think twice before he lashes out at you again.
Don't spend too much time worrying.
"Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span?" Matthew 6:27
Here, Jesus encourages his disciples not to worry about things of the world, but to trust that God will take care of them. Though most of us will never follow this teaching to the letter because we will inevitably worry about how to put food on the table and pay the bills, many of us spend much too much time worrying about the future. In fact, worry about things that are out of our control often consumes us so much we can't enjoy the present. My husband and I have been affected by my concerns about when we should have children, and whether we are even able to. If I left things in God's hands, I would be less anxious and stressed and have more time and attention to give to my husband.
"Then Peter approaching asked him, 'Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times?' Jesus answered, 'I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.'" Matthew 18:21-22
Just today, I had trouble forgiving my husband for a repeated offense—not following through on something he'd promised to do. The straw seemed to have broken the camel's back, and although he apologized from the heart and promised he was trying to be better, I still carried a grudge against him for the better part of the day. This is not what true love is. We all make mistakes for which we deserve to be forgiven, but our tendency is to be so offended by the injustice of how we were treated, we can't let it go, which stifles the growth of the relationship. If your husband seems to keep letting you down in some way, show him love through forgiveness and work with him to improve.
Love with a sacrificial love.
"I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another." John 13:34
When I realized the true meaning of what Jesus is saying when he tells his apostles to love one another as he loves them, my entire understanding of relationships changed. I suppose I always thought it just meant to love each other a lot—simple enough. But Jesus actually loved us enough to die for us. He literally sacrificed everything, including his very life, out of love for us. This socks me in the gut when I refuse to do something as simple as rub my husband's feet or grab him something he needs from another room. If we are meant to love each other as Jesus loves us, we are meant to set our selfish wants aside and gear all of our thoughts and actions toward the good of the other.
Though these teachings might sound trite, overwhelming, or altogether impossible, they have the power to transform relationships. Even applying each of these messages in a small way can bring new meaning and more depth to your marriage.
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