Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today- August 6, 2010
“If a man has recently married, he must not be sent to war or have any other duty laid on him. For one year he is to be freed to stay at home and bring happiness to the wife he has married.” Deuteronomy 24:5
The first year of marriage is foundational for newlyweds. Our attitudes, actions and habits define us for our entire marriage. If we start out with the habit of seeking to understand the other and quickly applying forgiveness when misunderstandings arise, chances are we will continue with this pattern. Love learns to forgive and start fresh.
Why not take the first year of marriage and really get to know one another? Limit your outside activities to church and close friends. Spend your time as a serious student of one another and what God’s word teaches about marriage. Discover what makes your spouse feel honored and loved. For her it may be a Saturday outside your home doing yard work. For him it may be a nice dinner discussing future goals and aspirations. Be students.
Furthermore, make sure the first year you thoroughly leave your father and mother. and cleave to one another. Talk with your husband first—not your mom—about how he has disappointed you. Talk with your wife first—not your dad—about how she has let you down. Learn to work through conflict.
What are other helpful habits to develop year one? First, pray together and attend Bible study together. Develop the discipline of a daily time with God by reading His word and being in prayer. Learn how to love God more than you love your spouse. Perhaps you both serve in the church nursery (this is good birth control!).
Secondly, enjoy each other sexually. Romance and woo one another as you did while you were dating before marriage. Become comfortable with your own body and the body of your mate. Discover what is pleasing and pleasant to one another and then serve each other selflessly. “The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife’s body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband’s body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife” (1 Corinthians 7:3-4). Unselfishness in marriage facilitates sexual fulfillment.
Thirdly, take the time to listen and talk. Daily, have focused moments to spontaneously share about your day or anticipate what the calendar holds for the week. Men, genuinely listen and ask, “What is she really saying?” Most of the time she just wants to be heard and held—let me repeat—heard and held. Men, don’t immediately go into fix it mode!
And from the man’s perspective—as he struggles with issues—he needs time to process. A lot of men are thinkers and they are insecure about sharing their thoughts until they have formulated them clearly in their minds. Give him space and a safe environment of acceptance, and he will eventually give you words. Patient love provides room to think.
Lastly, have a financial game plan. One of you is probably a saver and the other a spender. God help you if both of you are spenders! Agree on a budget and stick to it. Again, let me emphasize, live within your means. Avoid debt, tithe to your church, save 10% and live on the rest. Otherwise you will never have enough, and you will live in perpetual frustration. Wise money management makes a marriage secure and satisfied.
Above all, focus on the Lord and your marriage the first year, and throughout your marital relationship. Overtime, the results will compound like invested money. You will be astounded at the depth and breadth of what God does through two surrendered souls!
“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ” (Ephesians 5:21).
What are the Lord’s priorities for our marriage? How can we develop good habits?
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