“Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know” (Jeremiah 33:3 NIV).
Prayer doesn’t just make you intimate with God, it builds intimacy with your partner in a spiritual way. Prayer improves your spiritual knowledge because revelations flow in prayer. Prayer is a place God’s imparts His knowledge into the heart. Prayer is a place where assurance is born in the spirit. It is where strength is renewed and hope revived. There’s an old saying that couples who prays together stays together. If you can’t pray, you will become easy preys of the enemy. Prayer is where you sort out issues that are beyond the two of you. Prayer is where you dialogue with God. Prayer is where you bring up His Word to His remembrance (Isaiah 45:11). It is where you provide Him with strong reasons He must intervene (Isaiah 45:21). Prayer is much more effective than just talking. It will impart obedience into your children if you balance it up with instructing them in righteousness (Proverbs 22:6). It takes care of the spiritual forces that are behind unpleasant physical life situations.
2. STUDY AND KEEP THE WORD:
“Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do” (Joshua 1:8 NLT ).
You see, one reason several marriages fail is that the couples involved will not give the Word the first place in their union. God is the Author of marriage and there’s no better book to follow than His Manual, the Bible. Now, it is of vital importance for you to seek to grow together with your partner. Cultivate the habit of studying the Word together (Psalm 1). I once interviewed an elderly pastor’s wife who told me that if there’s anything she desired to be adjusted about her husband, it is the way he wouldn’t study the Word with her. That pastor would always consider his wife as spiritually immature but he failed to realize that it was his duty to develop his wife spiritually. That’s how some folks are, they would fail to cultivate their woman and then envy the spiritual vibrancy in the wives of other men who developed their own women.
Your wife is your first ministry; don’t put the people before her. Get into the Word together and make provision for Study Bibles and other materials that will improve the understanding of the Word in your family. If only you will work at the spirituality of your family, several other things will improve with it, the more spiritual your family becomes, the stronger they get. Don’t neglect your children in this area too, carry them along, and make provision for them at their level. Your kids won’t learn to pray from your sermons, they will learn best from observing you praying. Pray with your children. Take family devotion serious. Be good examples because it’s natural for them to take after you. Keep the Word!
3. DIALOGUE TOGETHER:
“Can two people walk together without agreeing on the direction?” (Amos 3:3 NLT).
Dialogue is very important in any form of relationship at all. You and God can’t really relate successfully without dialogue. Prayer is the place of dialogue with God; it is where you pour out your heart. Dialogue with your partner should be down to heart. Don’t withhold your pains, voice out everything warmly and frankly. Do not make decisions alone, involve your partner. Nagging won’t work on your partner but dialogue will. If you’ve been using so much word and there’s no improvement, then try prayer, if dialogue with your partner isn’t improving anything then dialogue with God about them. You can’t fix them but God can so don’t play God.
4. ENCOURAGE YOUR PARTNER:
“Everyone enjoys a fitting reply; it is wonderful to say the right thing at the right time!” (Proverbs 15:23 NLT).
Don’t be a downer in your relationship, encourage your partner. Be supportive in a humble way. A woman shouldn’t jump her husband’s front. Stay beside him. Don’t lead him, follow him. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t contribute your own opinion but let him make the decision. Don’t wound his ego. Let him feel like the man he is, not your puppet. You will enjoy him that way. He won’t compete with you in being the home keeper but he won’t let you lead him. Encourage each other no matter the situation. Even if something goes bad, that’s not the time to start reminding your partner of all your advices they’ve ignored.
5. WATCH YOUR WORDS:
“The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing” (Proverbs 12:18 NLT).
Words can be both constructive and destructive. They can build up or bring down. Words can be the cradle or the grave, they can kill or make alive. Words can bring out the best in your partner and they can equally bring out the beast in them. Who are you speaking to in your partner? Is it the beast or the best? Well, your answer is in whichever one is answering you. The Bible says a gentle response turns away wrath but grievous or offensive words stir up anger (Proverbs 15:1). Whatever response you attract from your partner through your action and expressions is what you will live with. Be careful of the kind of words that you use under your roof, they will determine the atmosphere in your home and the kind of spirits you will attract into your habitation. Also, your children are products of your spoken words, they will become as you say, don’t let them provoke you to use words that will nullify the effects of your prayers over them. Watch your confessions.
6. BE NAKED AND NOT ASHAMED:
“Now the man and his wife were both naked, but they felt no shame” (Gen. 2:25 NLT).
You see, concerning the matter of sexuality, be very open to your partner. Express what you expect. Don’t be ashamed to talk about what God was not ashamed to create. God created sex and He made you a sexual being. Sexual desires in marriage are not temptations to be overcome; they’re appetites to be satisfied. If you engage in good sexuality, it will pay off for you spiritually and emotionally. The Bible said that Adam and Eve were both naked and not ashamed. Nothing of nakedness was reserved, they opened up about everything and they weren’t ashamed to do so. Discuss every way that pleases you, avoid offending your partner sexually and find out what way they enjoy. A woman needs affection as much as a man needs sex. If you give her affection, she’ll give you sex. Any woman can give you her body inside marriage out of duty but it takes affection to capture her heart and I tell you, God didn’t design sexuality to be fulfilling when only the body is involved. Don’t use your partner to calm your passion without minding their own desire. Get good Christian literatures on sexuality. Get understanding and improve your sexuality. If you succeed in that area, it will improve several other areas.
7. HONOUR YOUR SPOUSE:
“Give honor to marriage, and remain faithful to one another in marriage. God will surely judge people who are immoral and those who commit adultery” (Hebrews 13: 4 NLT).
Honour is rewarding. Dishonoring your partner will close their spirit against you. Don’t get so used to them that their presence no longer matters to you. Even if you have a drinking husband who comes home late, instead of insulting or tongue lashing him, thank him for coming home, some men are so terrible they don’t go home. It is the character of love to show respect, don’t claim to love someone you dishonor. (1Cor. 13:4-6). Perhaps the highest form of dishonour is defiling the marriage bed, no partner can handle that, it is sin against God and your partner, it is unhealthy and could easily kill a marriage. Treasure your union and protect it with all you can. If you get tempted in the area of lust, let your partner know, don’t try to overcome it alone, let them offer their protection and prayers, your partner should be your best friend, not someone you cannot open up to. Jesus says that you’re no more two but one (Mathew 19:6). If one falls, another will lift him up but how terrible it is to keep your falling from your divine partner who is appointed of God to you up? “Two people are better than one because they have a good reward for their efforts. If either falls, his companion can lift him up; but pity the one who falls without another to lift him up. Also, if two lie down together, they can keep warm; but how can one person alone keep warm? And if someone overpowers one person, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not easily broken” (Ecclesiastes 4: 9-12 HCSB). When you two stand in agreement with God, you’re a cord of three strands that cannot break!
8. BE WISE WITH FINANCES:
“Why spend your money on food that does not give you strength? Why pay for food that does you no good? Listen to me, and you will eat what is good. You will enjoy the finest food” (Isaiah 55:2 NLT).
Poor financial management makes you irresponsible. Be accountable to your partner. Don’t buy without bargaining and learn to prioritize. Being prosperous doesn’t mean you should be prodigal. Don’t just scatter, learn to gather. Discuss finances with your partner, financial agreement matters. Plan your finances. Invest into your children’s future. Don’t be a short time planner, plan the future. Spend your money largely on assets and not just liabilities. Buy lands and houses instead of cars if you may. Learn to know what’s appropriate. If you buy a car today, you will spend to maintain it and you can’t really resell it as high as you bought it but houses and lands appreciates. Put your money where it matters; don’t eat with your ten fingers. Do not eat your future. If you can’t tie money down through wise investments, it has the habit of flying away. Money has wings (Proverbs 23:5).
9. BEWARE OF NEGATIVE THIRD PARTIES:
“Without wood a fire goes out; without a gossip a quarrel dies down” (Proverbs 26:20 NIV).
Be careful who you allow to speak over your relationship. It is unwise to go discussing your partner with your friends. Never suppose that everyone are your well-wishers. White teeth are not white heart. Don’t sell yourself out. Shut the door of your mouth when you should (Proverbs 21:23). Negative third parties are bad influences; they can ruin your marriage. You need to really be wise with your in laws too. Also, not every church leader can be trusted; some of them will feature your private conversation in their public sermon. Let your words be few and guided with third parties. If you break your partners trust, it is a difficult task to mend it back; it isn’t like a piece of cloth.
10. LOVE, CARE AND FORGIVE:
“Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins” (1Peter 4:8 NLT).
Love endlessly, be really caring and affectionate. Forgive without reserve. Don’t go mentioning your partner’s mistake repeatedly; it is like picking a wound over and again and expecting it to heal up. Love covers offenses; it doesn’t magnify them (Proverbs 17:9). Learn to forget the unpleasant by replacing them with pleasant memories. When your partner offends you, think about all his kindness of the past and you will receive strength to forgive the moment. “Whoever would foster love covers over an offense, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends” (Proverbs 17:9 NIV).
There are no perfect spouses but there are mature ones. Maturity is the ability to handle situations maturely; it is wisdom in the heart shaping the character. It is a journey. We all can learn to show love and kindness even when we don’t feel like it. We have the ability to do so. This will be easy once we realize that character isn’t an emotion but a decision. It isn’t doing what is right because we feel so but doing what is right because it is right. Never talk to your partner like they’re your kid because they’re not. Respect them and never put any human over them. Apart from the Holy Spirit, your spouse should be the most important person in your life. Study 1Corinthians 13 and live in there. The God kind of love in our heart must be allowed to shape our character, that’s why God placed it there (Romans 5:5).