Friedrich Nietzsche once said, “It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages.” For me, this seems to address one of the four root deficits I notice in the majority of unhappy marriages.

  • Lack of Prayer
  • Lack of Friendship
  • Lack of Self-control
  • Lack of Forgiveness

If you desire for your marriage to survive till you are both old and grey, then it is vital you develop a surplus of each of the preceding four areas. Let’s look at each one and see why it is so vitally important.

 

PRAYER:

AN ADDRESS (AS A PETITION) TO GOD IN WORD OR THOUGHT.

When we start to pray earnestly, God changes the negative way we look at our partner and reveals to us our own wrong attitudes.

To say that ‘prayer changes things’ is not as close to the truth as saying, ‘prayer changes me and I change things.’ God has established things so that prayer, on the basis of redemption, changes the way a person looks at things. Prayer is not a matter of changing things externally, but one of working miracles in a person’s inner nature.” —Oswald Chambers

 

FRIENDSHIP:

A PERSON KNOWN WELL TO ANOTHER AND REGARDED WITH LIKING, AFFECTION, AND LOYALTY; AN INTIMATE; AN ALLY IN A FIGHT OR CAUSE; A SUPPORTER.

The world can be a very harsh place to live in at times and our marriage partner needs to be our ally and our supporter. If it wasn’t for the solid friendship that my husband and I formed before our marriage and during the first two years of married life, our marriage would have ended in divorce.  During the tumultuous times in our marriage we often had to refer back to that friendship in order to try and re-discover why on earth we had married each other! Friendship requires mutual respect for each other.

 

SELF-CONTROL:

THE ABILITY TO EXERCISE RESTRAINT OR CONTROL OVER ONE’S FEELINGS, EMOTIONS AND REACTIONS.

It takes a lot of self-control not to lash out at someone when you are unhappy with their behavior; however, Galatians 5:22–23 teaches us that “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”

“You can measure the happiness of a marriage by the number of scars that each partner carries on their tongues, earned from years of biting back angry words.” —Elizabeth Gilbert

FORGIVENESS:

TO CEASE TO BLAME OR HOLD RESENTMENT; TO GRANT PARDON FOR A MISTAKE OR WRONGDOING.

Martin Luther King, Jr. once said something that I believe all couples should memorize before they wed:

We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies (or our spouses!). — MLK, Jr.

Unforgiveness in a marriage is lethal. If there is unforgiveness in your heart towards your spouse there is no way that your marriage will be able to grow into something that fulfills both of you.

The bottom line in marriage comes down to the fact that if we do what God commands us to do, we will live in one accord with Him and our spouse. As Matthew 6:33 states,

But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

Published by Noelene Curry