When it comes to building a strong and lasting marriage, most couples immediately think of communication, finances, and physical intimacy as the key ingredients. While these elements are certainly important, there are deeper roots to nurturing a marriage that stands the test of time.
Here are three unexpected pillars for building a marriage that not just survives but thrives:
Acknowledge That Marriage is a Covenant
More than just a piece of paper or a legal contract, Christian marriage is a sacred covenant made before God. The Bible explains that in marriage, “a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). Jesus reiterates this by saying, “What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate” (Matthew 19:6).
When challenges inevitably arise, viewing your union as a covenant reminds you that your marriage is built on something much stronger than fleeting emotions or difficult circumstances. Marriage is a lifetime promise, not just until situations get hard or feelings fade. God takes faithlessness in marriage very seriously, as seen in Malachi 2:14, “Because the Lord was witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant.“
Defining your marriage as a covenant changes everything. You fight against the temptation to escape during trials because you acknowledge the authority of God’s word over your union. His grace empowers you to weather every storm hand-in-hand.
Discover Your Shared Purpose
Beyond loving each other and raising children, every marriage has a God-given purpose. The Apostle Paul reveals, “This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church” (Ephesians 5:32). Your union is meant to shine the light of Christ through how you love and serve each other and others.
When you and your spouse are united in living out this holy purpose, it transforms every part of your life together. You relate to each other with more grace and selflessness. You parent your children with wisdom and compassion. Your love overflows to bless friends, family, and neighbors.
Discovering and embracing your purpose fuels you to endure hardship and celebrate victories arm-in-arm. You are reminded that your marriage is part of a much greater Story.
Cultivate Willing Hearts
When it comes to communication, intimacy, and sacrifice, willingness is key. In Exodus 35:21, the Israelites showed their willingness to contribute to the building of the Tabernacle, as “everyone whose heart stirred him, and everyone whose spirit moved him, brought the Lord’s contribution to be used for the tent of meeting, and for all its service, and for the holy garments.“
Willingness means offering your best even when you don’t feel like it. It means responding with patience and kindness even when your partner falls short. It means overlooking offenses and disagreements for the sake of unity.
This kind of wholehearted willingness flows from walking closely with God. As you grow in humility and embrace the calling to love one another, willingness comes more naturally. You recognize that giving your heart freely is a gift that builds lasting love.
Building an unshakable marriage requires going deeper than surface-level satisfaction. When you anchor to biblical principles like covenant, purpose, and willingness, you create a foundation to weather every storm and savor each moment together.
The years ahead will bring challenges and changes, but your marriage will thrive as you keep God at the center. You will share in the amazing privilege of glorifying him through your faithful, enduring love.
Aaron and Jennifer Smith
Aaron and Jennifer Smith are the authors and founders of MarriageAfterGod.com. We are passionate about encouraging couples to set their eyes on God while boldly asking the question, “God, what can our marriage do for you?” In our books, we share personal stories of failure and victory from our own marriage while pointing to the wisdom in God’s Holy Word. We have been married for over 16 years and are raising five young children, and we are no strangers to the enemy’s attack on marriage. We hope to equip you to be prepared, inspired, and encouraged to live boldly, chasing after God’s purposes together. Ever since we got married, we have purposed to serve God and build His kingdom together. We blog, write books, and host a weekly podcast urging couples to say yes to God and to be used by God for His extraordinary purposes.