Failing to treat a little finger cut can end up costing you your finger. The same thing applies to marriage. Of course things like physical, verbal or mental abuse show signs of an ailing marriage—but other seemingly small factors put a marriage in that category too. It is always wise to give your marriage a health checkup or evaluation at least yearly to treat and prevent problems from growing out of control.
Spousal Loyalty and Priority
In-law’s, extended family and friends should never determine the course of a marriage. It is vital that married couples remain loyal to each other first, always and at all costs (excluding cases of abuse). Neither spouse should have separate sets of friends either. Phrases like “my friends” must become “our friends,” and that typically includes other married couples. No friendship is so important that it should contradict the marriage commitment, especially those with the opposite sex.
Aware of and Walking In Purpose
Cooking and baby-making are not a wife’s only purpose in marriage, neither is bringing home money and physical protection a husband’s. Proverbs 31:10-31 shows a woman who also “designs and sells” and is “quick to assist anyone in need.” Proving a wife has talents (and should exercise them) and passion (that should drive her to help others outside the home too). The scripture also shows a man who “deliberates with the city fathers.” Proving a husband should also be worthy of respect outside the home and influential in society and culture.
A strong marriage is made of a husband and wife who understand and walk out their roles. Numerous scriptures in the Bible define what those roles include (1 Peter 3:1-7, Ephesians 5:31-33, Ephesians 5:25, Genesis 2: 18-24, Proverbs 31: 10-31) so the marriage functions orderly. When one spouse takes on the responsibilities of their partners role, it invites conflict and confusion into the marriage.
For example, a woman should not bear the financial burden of the household while her husband, who is able to work, chooses not to contribute financially. Women are not called to be head of the family (1 Timothy 5:8). She can contribute and may even earn higher wages, but when it depends on her she bears severe stress for having to play a role she is not called to; this breaks down intimacy and communication greatly.
Active Sex Life
Unless there is some medical problem or emotional trauma, sexual activity should occur often. Social surveys show nearly 20 million married couples are not sexually intimate because of psychological, physical and emotional reasons. It is crucial to seek counseling so you resolve serious issues that prevent a pleasurable sex life; those not so serious issues require fervent prayer in order for them to be cured (James 5:16).
Established Prayer Life
Praying for each other, and for the will and power to serve more than seeking to be served, centers marriage. Two people who put each other first never come second. So it takes two for a marriage to work, and if one will not “work” the other must intercede on their behalf until the change comes (1 Peter 3:1). God has placed strengths in one spouse to develop weaknesses in the other.
***This is not an all–inclusive list.
Editor-In-ChiefZara Hairston is your favorite author, teacher, and creative. She holds a bachelor of arts in Journalism from Temple University, and a master of arts in Christian Counseling. Currently, she resides in the Atlanta area with her husband Anton "Eshon Burgundy" Hairston and their three children.