The solution to most of the marital discord in today’s home is found in one line from the Bible. It is, “Take heed to your spirit” (Malachi 2:15). If our attitudes and dispositions are right, then we can live in love and peace in any relationship, including marriage.
What kind of spirit do we need to develop and maintain a good marriage?
1. A trusting spirit. A good marriage is built on faith and trust. Therefore beware of jealousy. We are empowered with certain protective emotions. Fear is one—it makes you careful as you cross the street. Anxiety is another—it makes you prepare carefully that speech you have to make. Jealousy is a third—it makes you watchful over the relationship upon which your security and happiness depend. These are all perfectly good and natural when kept within limits. But when jealousy becomes too strong, it can make life miserable for all concerned. Behind irrational jealousy there is always insecurity. If jealousy is your problem, seek help. Don’t let it ruin your marriage.
2. A sacrificial spirit. The Bible urges that we live “in honor preferring one another” (Romans 12:10). We are to love one another as Jesus loved us. Sacrifice is at the heart of such love. Avoid a selfish spirit. It is marriage enemy number one. Instead of being selfish, seek to please one another.
3. A reasonable spirit. Don’t expect too much of one another. Allow for some mistakes and failures by your partner. Avoid a critical and nagging spirit. When polls are taken to discover what unhappily married men and women object to in each other, nagging on the spouse’s part almost always heads the list. No one can continue to feel affection toward a spouse who nags them. It only produces coldness and hardness.
4. A forgiving spirit. It is not possible to avoid disagreements in marriage, but they need not canker into resentment. Avoid a grudging spirit. “Let not the sun go down on your wrath,” says the Bible (Ephesians 4:26). Learn to say “I’m sorry” and “You are forgiven.”