What can a married couple do to ensure that their marriage will last? The first and most important issue is one of obedience to God and His Word. This is a principle that should be in force before the marriage begins. God says, “Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so?” (Amos 3:3). For the born-again believer, this means not beginning a close relationship with anyone who is not also a believer. “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14). If this one principle were followed, it would save a lot of heartache and suffering later in marriages.
Another principle that would protect the longevity of a marriage is that the husband should obey God and love, honor, and protect his wife as he would his own body (Ephesians 5:25–31). The corresponding principle is that the wife should obey God and submit to her own husband “as to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:22). The marriage between a man and a woman is a picture of the relationship between Christ and the church. Christ gave Himself for the church, and He loves, honors, and protects her as His “bride” (Revelation 19:7–9).
Building on the foundation of a godly marriage, many couples find practical ways to help make their marriages last: spending quality time together; saying, “I love you” often; being kind; showing affection; offering compliments; going on dates; writing notes; giving gifts; and being ready to forgive, for example. All these actions are encompassed by the Bible’s instructions to husbands and wives.
When God brought Eve to Adam in the first marriage, she was made from his “flesh and bone” (Genesis 2:21) and they became “one flesh” (Genesis 2:23–24). Becoming one flesh means more than just a physical union. It means a meeting of the mind and soul to form one unit. This relationship goes far beyond sensual or emotional attraction and into the realm of spiritual “oneness” that can only be found as both partners surrender to God and each other. This relationship is not centered on “me and my” but on “us and our.” This is one of the secrets to a lasting marriage.
Making a marriage last for a lifetime is something both partners have to make a priority. Couples whose marriages last celebrate their commitment to each other. Many couples make it a point not to even speak of divorce, even in anger. Solidifying one’s vertical relationship with God goes a long way toward ensuring the horizontal relationship between a husband and wife is a lasting, God-honoring one.
A couple who desires their marriage to last must learn how to deal with problems. Prayer, Bible study, and mutual encouragement are good. And there is nothing wrong with seeking outside help; in fact, one of the purposes of the church is to “spur one another on toward love and good deeds” (Hebrews 10:24). A struggling couple should seek advice from an older Christian couple, a pastor, or a biblical marriage counselor.