By Laura Evans
I’m coming up on 14 wonderful years of marriage in just a few short weeks—August 26. At least 11 of them have been great. The first few were rocky, because I wed young (I was 18 and he was 25) and we were both still foolish in many ways. Of course I don’t pretend to be an expert. I certainly celebrate all that my husband Alvin and I have learned together and how we have grown throughout these years that have passed so quickly. I know there is much more wisdom to gain, and many milestones to enjoy.
So in celebration of our anniversary, I asked other women of God I know who have been married 20+ years to contribute their thoughts to this article. Below, I have compiled their answers, full of wisdom, to formulate my list of “9 Bible-Based Marriage Rules Every Wife Should Know.”
Never Go to Bed Angry.
"In your anger do not sin": Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry” (Ephesians 4:26)
No matter how lovey-dovey we are and how amazing our marriages may be, we all butt heads with our spouse from time-to-time. There are days when you want to ring his neck and he yours. Differences of opinion create tension, but you still have to live with each other and love one another through it. So in those times when your personalities clash, be careful not to let your emotions control you to the point where you become vengeful, mean, inconsiderate, abrasive, cold, and unfeeling. Get things right before you go to sleep. After all, tomorrow is not promised to any of us!
Seek First to Understand, then to be Understood.
“Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” (James 1:19)
When you’re communicating, if you’re fighting to get your point across without understanding where the other person is coming from, that’s a recipe for disaster. Some arguments and heated debates can be diffused before they ever get started if you take time to understand the perspective of your spouse. Often, we end up bickering because both parties want to be heard and no one wants to stop and hear. As my grandmother, who was married 60 years before my “Pop-Pop” died, always told me, “God gave you two ears and one mouth for a reason.”
Don’t Ever use your Words to Tear the Other Person Down.
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” (Ephesians 4:29)
I must confess. Being too quick to speak has been a vice of mine for some time. God has really dealt with me over the years and He is yet working on me in this area. I know there is no such thing as a perfect person and we all “offend in word” sometimes as James 3:2 clearly states. But experience has taught me that apologies don’t erase hurtful comments, so we have to be careful what we say. Wounding someone with our tongue takes only seconds, but reversing the psychological and emotional damage caused by words hurled as weapons, can take years to heal. Sticks and stones break bones, and misused words break hearts and spirits.
You are Responsible for Building a Strong, Healthy Home.
“The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.” (Proverbs 14:1)
I had a friend of mine that used to call me at all times of the day and night. She wanted to chat for hours. She would drop by unannounced and it was really beginning to bother my husband. I had to nip that situation in the bud to preserve the peaceful and happy environment of my home. Every day we have the opportunity to make choices that will impact our home life. We must ask God for the wisdom to choose rightly, thereby strengthening our marriage.
Keep Others out of your Business:
“A prudent man keeps his knowledge to himself, but the heart of fools blurts out folly.” (Proverbs 12:23)
If all your family and friends know your business, that’s going to come back to bite you. This is one the most important lessons I have learned through trial and error… lots of error. Loved ones can be detrimental to a relationship if you don’t set boundaries. Once you disclose your thoughts on private matters in your marriage, their opinions and input can sway the way you handle situations, often with negative consequences. Just like a dish can be ruined in the kitchen if too many hands are in the pot, a marital union can be undermined by too many outside voices and ideas the mix. The rule in marriage is “Two is company, but three or more is a crowd unless that third person, of course, is God.” He should be first in everything.
Resist the Urge to Quarrel and Nag.
“Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.” (Proverbs 21:9)
For the most part, women are natural communicators. We like to air out our feelings and share what’s going on in our heads, which is a lot most days. Many times, our talks can turn critical when our husbands aren’t doing the things we think they should be doing. We’ll end up asking a barrage of questions: why didn’t you take out the garbage when I asked you to? How did you forget to pay that bill, again? Do you have to chew that loudly? Before you know it, there’s a laundry list of things we’re dumping on the poor man who just wants to run for shelter. Learn how not to be a nag. That doesn’t mean not expressing yourself, but know when to be quiet if it’s not that serious. If you don’t, you’ll be beating him over the head with complaints and driving him away.
As Parents, Present a Unified Front to the Children.
"Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand.” (Matthew 12:25)
Moms and dads are not alike. In many cases, some, not all, women are more nurturing, gentle, and protective. Your husband’s way of relating to the children isn’t the same as yours. His style of disciplining, interacting, and conversing with the kids is very different. Inevitably, he will say or do something with which you don’t agree. But undermining him in front of the kids by overturning something he has said creates division. Always be united while your children are watching. Get things together later, behind closed doors and do so sweetly.
Be Quick to Forgive.
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32)
If you expect to remain married until death do you part, you’re going to have to forgive. Just as you offend him at times, he will do the same to you. In fact, serious violations in a relationship happen sometimes. You never know what you’ll face. But if you want to last, you have to be willing to let some things go and move on. If he says he’s sorry, accept his apology, and ask God to help you release any resentment, unforgiveness, and bitterness that come to undermine your union.
Fruit of the Spirit:
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23)
Everyone goes through changes in marriage, both good and bad. But the only way to survive and thrive in your relationship is to exercise the fruit of the spirit. Being led and governed by God’s word will help you avoid common pitfalls that break up what were once rock-solid, strong unions. Galatians 5:16 says if you and I walk in the spirit, we won’t fulfill the lust of the flesh.
There you have it.
Please share what some of your “rules” for your marriage are in the comments section. I would love to read them.