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The Key to Better Marriages

by Edwin L. Crozier
via Gospel Power, Vol. 16, No. 34, August 23,2009.

One thing I have learned about the Bible and marriage is that some of the passages that will help us the most in our marriage were not written spacifically about marriage.

The passage that will help our marriages (and all other relationships) the most is Philippians 2:3,4. In fact, the happiness of our marriages is directly proportional to how well we are submitting to it.

If we want to have good marriages, we must not do anything out of selfish ambition or conceit. Selfish ambition is politicking to put one's self forward as important and worthy. Conceit is parading one's own greatness. Remember, love is neither puffed up, nor does it parade itself (I Corinthians 13:4).

Further, the text said, "In lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself." Whether husband or wife, we must view our spouse as the most important part of the marriage. Instead of being all up in arms about whether or nto our spouse honors us, we need to honor our spouse as worth more than ourselves. We need to roll out the red carpet, placing our spouse on the pedestal.

That will lead to the final exhortation Paul made, saying, "Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others." Too much of our time in marriage is spent accomplishing our own interests. If we are going to have to have good marriages, we have to put our own desires aside and view ourselves as instruments to accomplish our spouse's desires.

Giving up selfishness in marriage is not easy though. Allow me to illustrate: I remember counseling a young man regarding selfishness in his marriage. I explained that one of three things would happen. Either 1) he would sin by getting divorced, 2) he would remain in the marriage and be miserable or 3) he would give up his selfishness, serve his wife and have a happy marriage.

His response was, "Where is the possibility for a good marriage?" I was a little flummoxed at first, but then realized the problem. It is a problem we all have to some degree. This young man was so accustomed to looking out for self that he could not imagine happiness coming from letting go of serving himself. He could only fathom some kind of manipulative approach whereby he decided to play the martyr. He would simply have to grin and bear it while letting his wife walk all over him.

No, that is not what this is all about. What this is about is learning that happiness does not come from serving self. Happiness in marriage comes when we truly want to serve our spouse. True happiness in marriage comes when we learn to be happy by making our spouse happy. Then our marriages will be better.

Let's work on better marriages this week and throughout our lives.