By Tonja and Clayton
Clayton and I have an arranged marriage. We certainly did not plan it, but GOD did!
The King Himself made sure that, in spite of us, He orchestrated our lives and caused us to fall in love and marry, to fulfill His plan. Amen!
It has not been a perfect marriage, but He is perfecting it by perfecting us daily. AMEN! We love it! We didn’t have to look for a spouse. We didn’t have to seek each other. The LORD just made sure that our paths crossed at the proper time KAIROS. And we rejoice at the work of His hands!
So below, we share some of the things that have worked to make our marriage strong.
Marriage Tip #1: Pray for your spouse. Prayer is a very powerful way to show love. When we pray for someone, that is Love in action! Even more powerful is praying with your spouse. If you’re not praying together yet, ask the LORD to give you the timing and the words to approach your spouse about that. Unity is vital in Christian marriage, especially in these turbulent times!
Marriage Tip #2: Watch your wedding video (or flip through the computer screenshots or the hard copy photo album) every six months, and repeat your vows to each other, speaking along with the video, etc. Every time Clayton and I watch ours, we realize anew how gracious God is to have brought us together.
We also are so thankful that He helped us just mount up on the Holy Spirit in having everything we needed provided–even the bread that we used in Communion was replaced by some kind person–for the wafers we’d brought became soaked in the juice in transit to the church…
We’re not sure which one of us is the bigger miracle–we’d both given up on ever being married! But GOD’s plans are much bigger than ours, and we praise Him and rejoice!
The act of revisiting your marriage video and/or photos will remind you what a gift from God your marriage is!
Marriage Tip #3: Listen to your spouse, with your full attention–even when you don’t feel like it. You want him or her to do the same for you, don’t you?
Marriage Tip #4: When listening, do your best to refrain from giving advice. Just listen. If your mind wanders, refocus. Your spouse, and your marriage, is worth it. And you’ll know more of what’s going on with them, which is your privilege and duty to know.
Marriage Tip #5: Worship together–not just at church. We are all different, but find a worship song you both like and sing together–with the music, or, if you are comfortable enough, a cappella without music. God inhabits the praises of His people. It may seem awkward at first, but keep doing it and it will become very enjoyable. Another form of worship is to repeat God’s Word out loud. He loves to hear His Word!
Clayton and I often sing in the car to the LORD, and not just on Sunday. We also sometimes go to the park, where he plays the guitar and we sing. (We’ve also been known to waltz under the park gazebo and hold hands and pray, and/or walk the path and pray. We usually have our eyes closed when we’re dancing/praying under the gazebo, but we did hear a fellow walker say once, “That is so COOL!” so, we’re being a witness, both for God and a strong marriage…Try it!)
Marriage Tip #6: Laugh together often. If you don’t already have private jokes, develop some! Rent a funny video–from a Christian store! Even then, be discriminating. It’s good to check with God first! If you don’t have peace about watching or listening to or reading something, don’t do it. The Holy Spirit is our Helper to give us discernment. He is our loving Father Who wants only the best for us. Trash in, trash out; it’s our duty to guard our hearts!
Marriage Tip #7: Try new fun foods and activities. They don’t have to be expensive. I once heard a famous worship leader share on a national Christian station that he and his wife go sample sweet snacks at various restaurants without really eating a full meal, just to have fun and be together.
My husband and I started walking together, and have started exploring healthier eating. It can be quite entertaining to see what new healthy things taste like and do for one’s body and mind, not to mention the added benefit of more energy and strength.
We’ve even experienced an infrared sauna together recently (he went once; I’m going for a full month) and plan to acquire one for our personal use when the time is right.
Marriage Tip #8: Thank the LORD every day for your spouse–especially if you are feeling upset at them at the moment. Just start speaking out loud whatever you are thankful for about them. Speaking out loud is especially powerful–for good or evil–so be sure and say the good things, the things you love about your beloved.
If you can’t think of anything good to say right then, ask the LORD to help you–and ask Him to help you not say things you don’t like! Also thank Him that He knows all, and that your spouse is obviously the perfect one –not perfect, but perfect for you–or God would not have put you together.
“Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unfathomable (inscrutable, unsearchable) are His judgments (His decisions)! And how untraceable
(mysterious, undiscoverable) are His ways (His methods, His paths)!” —Romans 11:33, AMP
Marriage Tip #9: Hold hands in church, at the restaurant, in the car, in front of your kids, as you pray together…You get the idea! I’ve also heard (or read) that it’s wise to hold hands while disagreeing, because the warmth of the contact serves as a reminder that you are linked to this person, and that it helps you stay more calm than if you are not touching or not near your beloved. We’ve tried it both ways, and believe that holding hands during disagreements is better.
Marriage Tip #10: There are times, however, if one or both partners are so upset that all of their energy is going to overcome the negative emotions that they are feeling, that it is best to not have a “discussion” until the emotions are under control. It has been proven (by me, Tonja, if no one else!) that, when the emotions/flesh are in control, that the logical mind (as in, “If I really loved this person, I would not want to hurt them with harsh words” or whatever) checks out.
The enemy loves to get Christians out of a Spirit-controlled state (walking in the peace and joy and love of the LORD) into the fleshly, carnal nature where emotions (especially negative) are controlling the person, and that can be an open door for him to shoot fiery darts/wrong, negative thoughts into the mind of the one whose emotions are out of control, and those wrong thoughts more often than not come out as harsh words.
So my husband and I have discovered that it is best to not discuss things if one or both of us feels we need to cool off first. The best and quickest way we do this is to go to separate rooms and start praising the LORD, reading the Word, reading the Word out loud, talking to God, or a combination of these things. (We haven’t always been successful at this, but we’re getting better!)
As soon as we start turning our mind on purpose to God, we are starting to get back into the Spirit. This is extremely important for everyday life, but especially before we pray together or go to services together.
Marriage Tip #11: Don’t try to pray together until you have truly made peace. In our early days, my husband and I would start trying to pray to the LORD together, but we could not get very far before we’d have to stop and just confess to the LORD and one another that we were still upset.
Sometimes we’d talk for a few hours before everything was settled. Then we’d have to repent of strife. But then we would be able to truly pray, because fellowship with the LORD and with one another was restored.
Marriage Tip #12: When the enemy comes to accuse your spouse to you (and he will), just laugh in his UGLY face and praise God that the defeated foe wouldn’t be attacking your marriage if it wasn’t already so strong, and tell the LORD you are so thankful that He has given you a spouse that loves Him and loves you, and that is a person of the highest integrity, in whom your heart does safely trust–because Daddy God gives only the best.
Also remember to cast your cares on the LORD about your spouse, for it is God’s job (not yours, as this author has discovered) to make improvements in your beloved.
Marriage Tip #13: Understand that, especially as the LORD reveals things to you that need to be corrected, the correction must be made. If one has a weakness, you must address it and ask the LORD to show you how to get and keep victory. Sometimes that involves not doing anything that would place you or the spouse in any situation to be tempted by the enemy.
There are often strongholds that must be demolished through the power of the Word, prayer, and repentance. Being brave enough to address these with the agreement of your spouse is extremely powerful. This requires extremely honest communication, and it is worth it.
Problems do not just go away. Strongholds must be torn down to go forward, and that almost always involves the agreement of both spouses to be effective.
Marriage Tip #14: Ask the LORD daily (preferably first thing) to honor your spouse through you; to minister through your words and deeds and thoughts to your beloved.
Marriage Tip #15: Ask the LORD to help you remember that your spouse, if a believer, is also your brother or sister in Christ–and anointed to be your Covenant partner.
Marriage Tip #16: Honor your spouse more than any other person in your life except the LORD Jesus Christ. This means more than your children; more than your parents; more than anyone else, except the One Who created and saved you.
Discover how your spouse experiences honor, and ask the LORD to help you do and say those things. (Sometimes honoring one’s spouse means not saying or doing certain things, within Biblical guidelines, of course. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you. He knows all things!)
Marriage Tip #17: Bind the enemy from your marriage and plead the Blood of Jesus over it daily. Declare that your marriage gets stronger every day! This is one of the most important things to do for this supreme earthly relationship.
We believe these tips, if implemented, will help strengthen any marriage. Remember, marriage represents the relationship we the Church have with Jesus Christ, our Heavenly Groom!
Tonja and her husband Clayton love God’s Word and live and love to minister it to others through teaching, books, music, art, and more. Over 50% of the profits from their business, Royal Voice Productions, goes to support ministries that advance God’s Kingdom throughout the world.