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Building a Marriage That Lasts!


Hello Guys!

 Sorry you have not heard from me in a while. My wife and I took a little break in May to celebrate our wedding anniversary, and I was also traveling a lot. I pray for you all often and I got several updated prayer requests from you. Please keep me posted on your progress.

 Last night I preached at Seara Ministries in Orlando. This is the Brazilian church where several of our Bold Venture brothers attend. It was great to see Pedro and Guga Codo, Marcus Emerick, Arthur Nascimiento and several others. Here’s a photo of us together last night in the church. I love hanging out with this bunch!

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Because I often pray for these guys to find the right wives, I decided to preach a message last night called “How to Build Your Marriage on the Rock.” I’ve been thinking about this topic a lot because my wife and I just celebrated 30 years together. Whether you are currently single and hoping for a wife, or if you are already married, we all need to know how to make a marriage relationship strong.

If you are going to build something that lasts, you have to use the right building materials. You also have to have a strong foundation. Jesus warned us in Matthew 7:24-27 that if we don’t build our lives on the rock, our houses would collapse in the storm. This is especially true in marriage. I have seen many marriages destroyed because people did not use wisdom to build with the right principles.

Here are four things you must use to build a strong marriage that lasts:

 

1. Forgiveness.
My wife and I never had a fight during our engagement, so I naively thought we just got along really well. But right after our honeymoon we had our first fight—and it was about something really silly. I got upset because she got water all over the bathroom sink after she brushed her teeth! I did not realize that when you live with a woman and share the same bathroom, you will discover things about her you didn’t know!

All couples fight from time to time, but if you don't learn how to kiss and make up, your marriage will unravel. Marriage is like a school of forgiveness. Paul's rule to the Ephesians, "Do not let the sun go down on your anger" (Eph. 4:26, NASB), is best applied by husbands and wives. When your spouse hurts you, talk about it, forgive and let it go. Don't keep a list of offenses. If you bury your resentments without resolving them, they will explode like land mines later.

I have counseled with many couples that got into the habit of going to bed mad at each other. That is really dangerous. You need to practice saying these words: “I’m sorry. Please forgive me.” That’s hard for some of us guys to say, but you must get in the habit of apologizing. And you must also learn that it is simply not worth it to hold onto a grudge against your wife. Learn to forgive from your heart.

 

2. Transparency.
When a man and a woman get married they bring all their past problems into the relationship. If you have things buried under the surface of your life, these secrets will become land mines that have the potential to blow up your family later. Do not keep secrets!

 

This is why premarital counseling is so important before marriage. Your marriage will be much more stable if you find healing from your past BEFORE you say “I do.” I have counseled women who married guys who seemed like men of God, but after the wedding they discovered that the man (a) had a porn addiction; (b) struggled with an alcohol problem; (c) had a baby out of wedlock that he didn’t tell her about; or (d) had mountains of debt that he didn’t mention. This is a recipe for disaster.

 

We all have areas of weakness and brokenness. But don’t ever think you can hide these things. Get in the habit of confessing your sins to a strong Christian brother who can hold you accountable (see James 5:16). Many couples try to survive in isolation. Either the husband has no friends or the wife has no support network. And I know many couples that don't have mentors to talk to when they hit rough patches in their relationship. This is dangerous! Live an open life. Accountability will provide a safety net for your marriage.

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3. Equality.
Many Christian men believe they are the "head" of the marriage, and they assume this means they can boss their wives around and demand submission. This can lead to physical or verbal abuse, and it is one of the primary reasons so many Christian marriages end in divorce. The Bible actually tells husbands to treat their wives as "fellow heir[s] of the grace of life" (1 Pet. 3:7). If you view your wife as inferior, or if you order her around like she's under your control, you are guilty of abuse. A husband's "headship," as defined by Ephesians 5:23, requires him to be humble, tender and sacrificial—not macho or bossy. If you enter a marraige thinking you are superior to your wife, your relationship with her will be stormy and difficult. Get rid of your macho attitudes and learn to value her as an equal partner.

 

4. Intimacy.
I have counseled many married guys with sexual problems, including porn addiction and adultery. In almost every case, these men stopped having regular sex at home before their problems began. Sex is a totally natural part of marriage, and it is unhealthy for couples to deprive each other of sex or to use it as a manipulative weapon. Paul told the Corinthians, "The husband must fulfill his duty to his wife, and also the wife to her husband" (1 Cor. 7:3). Healthy sex is like glue that holds a marriage together.

 

The Bible tells guys, "Rejoice in the wife of your youth" (Prov. 5:18) and then goes farther to say, "Be exhilarated always with her love" (v. 19). The word “exhilatated” means “intoxicated.” That euphoric feeling might be easy during your honeymoon, but what about when babies arrive, bills pile up, the workload at your job increases and the kids need braces and car insurance? The sizzle can turn to ice if you don't spend the time necessary to regularly stoke the fire of romance. When my wife and I had four little kids at home, we always tried to go on a date every week—even when we didn't need the extra expense of a babysitter. We still try to live by this rule now that we are empty nesters.

 

Also I have news for you: Your sex drive changes when you grow older. However I have learned that it actually can become more intense. You will discover this as you stay in love with your wife and you grow old together.

 

I am praying for each of you to have strong, healthy marriages that can weather every storm!

     Lee Grady

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