Recently I was asked what I felt were the top six qualities that would go into making a great marriage. It wasn’t too hard to come up with six, and even more. Below in fact are what I believe to be the top 12 characteristics of a successful marriage. Looking ahead to the New Year, I plan to write in detail about one of the 12 characteristics each month. Might I suggest that you focus on that one area for each month, praying and seeking God for change in you and your marriage. I believe if you do, this will prove to be a great year for you and your spouse. Join me and let’s get started!
12 Characteristics of a Great Marriage…
1. There is the unwavering element of commitment to the marital covenant.
2. Each spouse is committed to praying together daily.
3. There is a growing ability to forbear with those things in your spouse you don’t like rather than demanding they change.
4. Humility is central in each partner.
5. There is the ability in both partners to forgive and be forgiven.
6. Both spouses increasingly believe and hope for the best in each other.
7. Romance is rebuilt back into the relationship.
8. There is a growing ability to communicate well.
9. Death to self occurs more and more frequently as the years go by with a growing conviction to serve rather then be served!
10. Both spouses have a strong drive to grow in character through Christ.
11. Both are growing in self awareness and committed to learning more about themselves and marriage as a whole.
12. There is a sense of mission together outside of themselves.
I start off the year with the challenge to be unwavering in the commitment to your marital covenant. Obviously this is necessary to experiencing a great marriage. Where there is no commitment, there is no chance at success! I tell couples all the time in pre-marital counseling – if there is an option for divorce, there will come a time when it will be THE option taken!
The first and only time I thought about divorce was during the 5th year of our marriage. I was working far too many hours, and Zerrin was consumed with the care of our first child. We had grown apart and I wondered what I would do if it never changed. My first thought was “I could get a divorce.” That thought only lasted for one second however, because it was immediately followed up with “Well – that’s not an option, so now what?” And because it was NOT an option, I decided we’d better make some changes. We were forced to look at what had happened in our marriage, and what adjustments we needed to make in order to get our marriage back on track. Had we taken the avenue of divorce, we’d have missed discovering the steps we needed to take for improvement.
If you don’t have the unwavering commitment to stick it out, you too will miss out on all the opportunities necessary for growing in the midst of the pain and heartache. Challenging times – if looked at squarely – reveal areas where we stand most in need of maturing. So if necessary, do it now – before God and your spouse – renew that vow you originally made declaring once again for it to be “till death you both part!” And begin taking an honest look to see what needs to happen in order to bring about a lasting change for good!