Staying Married Over the Long Haul–Requires Putting Jesus Christ First!

Today is my thirty-seventh wedding anniversary. For nearly four decades I have been married to my best friend.

I am among the most fortunate of people because I have endured the adventure of life and find myself still in relationship with my original team-mate.

You might ask me, what makes a strong Christian marriage?

And, my answer would be, two good Christians, and by this I mean two people who both love the Lord Jesus Christ with all their heart.

It is my belief that a strong marriage must have as its foundation two lives where Jesus is the priority. If this foundation in place then you have the ability to faithfully, together, pursue a path of obedience to Jesus Christ and His plan for your lives.

Marriage is first a commitment and then it grows into a deep love.  And, the base of the commitment in marriage, is first of all, not to each other, but to Jesus Christ and His will.

Centuries ago the prophet Malachi warned those who had cast their marriage commitments aside,

You cover the altar of the Lord with tears,
With weeping and crying;
So He does not regard the offering anymore,
Nor receive it with goodwill from your hands.
Yet you say, “For what reason?”
Because the Lord has been witness
Between you and the wife of your youth,
With whom you have dealt treacherously;
Yet she is your companion
And your wife by covenant.
But did He not make them one,
Having a remnant of the Spirit?
And why one?
He seeks godly offspring.
Therefore take heed to your spirit,
And let none deal treacherously with the wife of his youth.
“For the Lord God of Israel says
That He hates divorce,
For it covers one’s garment with violence,”
Says the Lord of hosts.
“Therefore take heed to your spirit,
That you do not deal treacherously.”
You have wearied the Lord with your words;
Yet you say,
“In what way have we wearied Him?”  Mal 2:13-17 (NKJV)

Marriage is, first and foremost, a covenant before God and as soon as you get married, Satan will come after you.  He will target you because the bottom line is–he would love to destroy the covenant that you have made and the family that you have established.

In the end, the best way you can protect your marriage, is to develop a deep personal relationship with Jesus Christ as the bedrock for your own life. A marriage between two people with Jesus Christ as the true center is the best protective insulation you can have against the assaults of this world.


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5 responses to “Staying Married Over the Long Haul–Requires Putting Jesus Christ First!

  1. Mitz

    Thank you for adding the conclusion of developing a deep personal relationship with Jesus Christ as the bedrock of your own life. There are times when we get married young and truly do not think of the future. We are not where we should be with the Lord. We may think so at the time, but we’re not and unfortunately we find out all too soon neither is the person we married. I think that’s when Satan can really come after those relationships. Like you said, “we need a deep personal relationship with Jesus Christ as our bedrock for our own life.” He will see us through. I know He always sees me through. Of course, it helps to have those wonderful strong Christian marriages displayed before us like yours. Now for that, especially during this season of thanksgiving, I am thankful for. I am always thankful for you and your Godly advice Maryellen. I believe prayers truly change things. Maybe not in our time frame, but ultimately in God’s and that’s what matters most!

    Love, M

  2. Claudia

    Wow! Thirty seven years. Congratulations!

    I’ve always loved the illustration that our premarital counselor shared with us. Picture a triangle with Jesus at the top corner and you and your spouse at the bottom corners. As you and your spouse individually pursue a deeper relationship with Jesus and get closer to His point on the triangle, then you both become closer to one another!

  3. Maryellen Stipe

    Dear Mitz and Claudia,

    Thanks for the validation of this short blog. Mitz, how right you are about the fact that many think they are close to Jesus when they are young but may or may not stick with that commitment. Tom and I have many friends who started in the ministry with us but have not persevered with either Jesus or their mates. I am grateful that at age 18 somehow (we were way too young???) by the grace of God I made a great choice and so did Tom. It so easily could have turned out badly, but God is faithful and so were we and I can only praise Him for that!

  4. Jessica

    Thank you for sharing that passage from Malachi. Whenever I start to wonder why is seems like God doesn’t want my “offering” or He isn’t listening, it always comes back to the same thing. I’ve forgotten my first love, Jesus. May Christ alone continue to be at the center of your marriage and at the center of my marriage.

  5. cassie

    we would all be so lost in our marriages if it weren’t for our savior. i am so thankful for this “protective insulation” that our lord has given us through his son.

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