How To Have A Joyous Marriage Essay

How To Have A Joyous Marriage! Essay, Research Paper How to Have A Joyous Marriage! by Roderick C. Meredith Here are “keys’ to help make your marriage special! These insights and tested

How To Have A Joyous Marriage! Essay, Research Paper

How to Have A Joyous Marriage!

by Roderick C. Meredith

Here are “keys’ to help make your marriage special! These insights and tested

principles will help you build your marriage into a precious relationship of joy

and beauty.

HJM4 Edition 1.3, May 1996

This booklet is not to be sold! It has been provided as a free public

educational service by the Global Church of God

? 1993 GLOBAL CHURCH OF GOD All rights reserved. Printed in the U.S.A.

Editor in Chief

Roderick C. Meredith Executive Editor

Raymond F. McNair Managing Editor

Jeffrey H. Patton Associate Editor

Gary Foster Associate Editor

Thomas E. Robinson Assistant to the Editor

Bradley J. Mitchell Contributing Editor

Ronald B. Nelson Art Director

Karen Myers Art Assistant

Donna Prejean Business Manager

J. Edwin Pope Circulation

Wayne Pyle Technical Advisor

Eric T. Myers Information Systems

Sanford Beattie Information Systems

Rob Carrico

With tears in their eyes, dozens and scores of women have told me how miserable

their marriages were. They obviously wish with all their hearts that things were

better, but they don’t know what to do.

“My husband won’t really open up and talk with me about our problems”, many

women say.

“My psychologist told me to go have an affair and I would feel better,” one

woman said. “But I know that’s wrong and I just can’t do that!”

In our “now generation,” most folks don’t think of the long-term consequences of

their actions, and our acceptance of “quickie” marriages and divorces only

compounds the problem. Why try to work through all the problems in your marriage

when you can just divorce and feel better right now?

In an outstanding recent article, former Secretary of Education, William J.

Bennett, made these insightful comments: “…but during the same recent 30-year

period there has been a 560% increase in violent crime; a 419% increase in

illegitimate births; a quadrupling in divorce rates; a tripling of the

percentage of children living in single-parent homes; more than a 200% increase

in the teenage suicide rate; and a drop of almost 80 points in SAT scores….!”

If you wish to avoid the misery of this foolish generation, then read carefully

and prayerfully the pages to follow. For we are going to discuss seven vital

keys to building and enriching the very basis of all decent society–your

marriage and your family.

I. Commitment is basic

The expression “till death do us part” may seem old fashioned or pass? to many

young people. But those same couples may be suffering loneliness, emptiness and

misery if they leave that concept out of their marriages.

Yet today, most people take for granted the modern option of leaving their mate

and forsaking their marriage vows. Many couples plan for the eventuality of

divorce by having a lawyer write up a prenuptial agreement. Then they promise to

stay together for life, but insist on acting “prudently” to protect their assets

in case the marriage doesn’t last.

This idea may seem wise and prudent, but is it really?


The common acceptance of the “escape hatch” of an easy divorce creates a vicious

cycle. The more some people divorce, the easier it seems for others to do

likewise. And the breakdown of a society has begun!

Nearly all thoughtful men and women realize that a stable home and family is

basic for a decent society. As our homes and marriages come apart, so the

wildness, ruthlessness and violence in our society will increase.

It is vital that we all grasp that the basis for marriage itself is the supreme

purpose of our Creator! That’s right! If you leave the great God who made us

male and female out of the picture, then human reason is the only basis for

anything–and absolute chaos will ensue.

It is God who said:

“Let us make man in our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion

over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over

all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God

created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and

female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be

fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish

of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on

the earth” (Genesis 1:26-28).

God instituted marriage

We see here that it is God who made us male and female. And His first command to

humans was to “multiply”–obviously implying marriage and home.

God the Father is the Author of marriage. In Matthew 19, Jesus gave us some

principles concerning marriage. The Pharisees tested His teaching on the subject

by asking, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?”

(Matthew 19:3).

In other words, can a man put away his wife for just any reason? They distorted

what Moses had said in the Old Testament about putting a wife away, and would

even use a pimple, a wart or almost anything as an excuse to put their wives


And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at

the beginning made them male and female,” and said, “For this reason a man shall

leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become

one flesh”? (verse 4-5).

God made the man and the woman for each other. He created the man and his wife

to complement one another physically, psychologically, emotionally and mentally

so they could live a balanced and happy life together.

Jesus taught that a man should leave his father and his mother and cleave to his


If you do have to bring senile or infirm in-laws to your home later, after the

marriage is firmly established, then that’s different. But at the beginning, and

certainly for the first several years, normally, you’re to leave relatives and

cleave to your wife or your husband.

Throughout your married life, always remember that it is GOD who made you “one.”

In a true marriage, a man and woman covenant before God to take each other as

mates for life. Under all normal circumstances, you should stay together. If

need be, you should pray and work to save your marriage.

In Malachi 2:13-16, our Creator shows why He sometimes withholds His blessing:

You cover the altar of the LORD with tears, with weeping and crying; so He does

not regard the offering anymore, nor receive it with good will from your hands.

Yet you say, “For what reason?” Because the LORD has been witness between you

and the wife of your youth, with whom you have dealt treacherously; yet she is

your companion and your wife by covenant. But did He not make them one, having a

remnant of the Spirit? And why one? He seeks godly offspring. Therefore take

heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously with the wife of his youth.

“For the LORD God of Israel says that He hates divorce, for it covers one’s

garment with violence,” says the LORD of hosts. “Therefore take heed to your

spirit, that you do not deal treacherously.”

Notice that God says plainly that He hates divorce!

So should you. That doesn’t mean you hate divorced people. Neither does God.

Rather, He pities them and wishes that we humans would quit fighting and arguing

and learn to love one another.

If we would truly do this–and make a real commitment when we marry–then we

could work out any problems that might arise. We could learn the lessons of

giving, sharing and forgiving in a way that only marriage can teach. Our

faithfulness to our mates shows our Maker that our commitment to Him will also

be lasting.

II. Communication is vital

One of the greatest shortcomings in literally millions of marriages is the lack

of open and loving communication. Note that I said, “open and loving,” not

shouting, criticizing or threatening.

This lack is especially discouraging to many wives. A young man will put his

best foot forward during the courtship. He will walk and talk for hours with a

pretty young woman he hopes to marry. His hormones are raging. So he will

confide in her, encourage and flatter her, do almost anything to get this

beautiful young woman to say “yes” and marry him.

But, not too many days or weeks after the marriage, a man may begin to withdraw.

He seems to forget that his sweetheart agreed to marry because she honestly

thought she was liked and respected as a person. She expected and hoped to be a

full partner in life with her future husband–sharing with him their mutual

plans, hopes and dreams.

However, when “hubby” starts coming home late with liquor on his breath and has

nothing to say, or when he eats dinner quickly and silently and then plops

himself in front of the TV, or when he spends most nights away from home playing

pool with “the boys”–that hurts!

So before you even become officially engaged, you had better become “best

friends” with your future mate–and mean it. You had better find out if you

truly have a whole range of interests in common–besides sex and romance!

In a truly happy marriage, the two individuals are to become like one person.

There is to be a oneness of mind, body, emotions, attitudes and a sharing in

nearly every aspect of life.

This doesn’t mean that a man can never play basketball, handball, pool, or cards

with other men occasionally. Good masculine companionship once in a while helps

a husband to be more of a man. This gives him more confidence and more of a

release for a particular part of his nature that ought to be expressed with

other men.

But if a husband is always playing cards, basketball, baseball, or pool with

other men–or away from home trying to make it big on the job–then this takes

him mentally, emotionally and physically away from his wife and children. A

continuing practice of this is wrong! It is breaking the commandment of Christ

that a man is to cleave to his wife.

Every married man has the God-given responsibility to spend time at home with

his wife and children. Is this where a considerable amount of your time and

interest lies? Or is it always somewhere else, doing something else?

Where is your “heart”? How and where do you spend your time?

Spend time alone with your mate

Husbands and wives need special time together–sometimes apart even from the

children. Get a babysitter, if you can, and go out to dinner or to a concert

once in a while. You can walk, hand in hand, as you used to do when you were

courting and dating–dance together, talk together and love together.

You can even take short trips together. Then you will appreciate the children

more, because you’ve been away from them for a few days (not several weeks or

months) perhaps once or twice a year. This doesn’t hurt them at all, if they are

properly trained and your family is emotionally close as it should be.

Look at some examples in the Bible. You’ll find that men like Abraham, Isaac and

Jacob were away from their children far more than many of us today. It’s a

matter of correctly training the children while you’re with them, and giving

them a stable atmosphere and foundation for the remainder of their lives.

Of course, many don’t have much opportunity to go someplace together, or can’t

afford it. But there are other ways you can be alone together. You can begin by

sending the children to bed by eight or eight-thirty in the evening. Then you

will have an hour and a half or two hours together–before you go to bed.

You can listen to music together, read the Bible together occasionally, and do

other things together. Sometimes you can have a babysitter watch the children

while you and your wife take a long walk together.

A little thoughtfulness and tenderness can help a great deal!

Many of you men who have marriage problems should court your wife as you used to.

Practice the art of trying to cleave to her, and spend time together. Then you

will really understand your wife, and she will feel close to you mentally and

emotionally. Both of you will have more of the mutual understanding and

affection you used to have when you were first married.

But you do need to communicate in all those activities! Remember, love does not

automatically make one a skilled mind reader.

Men, be sure you don’t let other things distract you–or create situations which

excuse you–from talking openly and genuinely with your mate about your deepest

interests and concerns in life. Let her know if you think something is missing

in your relationship. And truly listen to her with your heart as well as your

head when she talks to you about similar matters.

If you love your mate, tell him or her–say it frequently. Open up. If you share

your hopes and dreams with the love of your life, then your love will grow

deeper and be even more meaningful.

III. Set family goals together

A truly meaningful home and marriage ought to have a number of goals in mind

besides sexual fulfillment. Too often, young people are so consumed with sexual

interest that they neglect to build a home, an enduring family and a meaningful

life together. So when the sexual fireworks start to slow down after a few

months or years of marriage, these people feel a sense of letdown or betrayal.

God mentions one of the reasons He made man and woman one in marriage. Notice

again the inspired words of Malachi, “But did He not make them one, having a

remnant of the Spirit? And why one? He seeks godly offspring. Therefore take

heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously with the wife of his youth”

(Malachi 2:15).

A young husband and wife normally ought to be planning for children, a real home,

a sense of family, stability and all that this implies. If both husband and wife

are working, they need to plan together to set aside money so she can stop

working for several years, at least, in order to have and rear children.

Couples should discuss what kind of home, education and family activities they

feel will work out best for them. They should regularly set little goals to work

on together. Then, as partners in their family enterprise, they should see that

these smaller goals all fit in with and support the fulfillment of their major

family goals.

An illustration of working toward a smaller goal might include planning together

a summer vacation trip. Each partner might wish to do some reading and research

separately, talk to different friends, get ideas. Then, together, they can spend

time discussing alternatives, planning a tentative trip budget, and finalizing


This type of goal-sharing and planning is obviously increased when as couple has

children. Then they need to discuss regularly the childrens’ health, development,

education, friends, neighborhood problems and their respective goals in life.

That is one reason, among many others, why having children often serves to give

greater strength and stability to a marriage.

Jesus Christ said to His disciples, “No longer do I call you servants, for a

servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends,

for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you” (John


Even the Son of God did not withhold from His friends the plans and programs He

and the Father had in mind. So you men, especially, open up and bring your wives

into the planning process of how and where you want to live in the future, where

you hope your career may take you and the goals you have in mind for yourself

and for the family as a whole. Make them feel like an integral part of the big

programs in your life.

IV. Marriage means giving

One of the greatest joys in life that everyone ought to experience is the joy of

giving: is seeing the deep appreciation, the radiant smiles and the joy of

others because you thought of them.

The Apostle Paul wrote, “I have shown in every way, by laboring like this, that

you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He

said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’” (Acts 20:35).

Marriage is certainly one of the best places to learn to give. For when you are

constantly living with another person, when you are bound by God in marriage to

that person, you desperately need to learn to give and give and give in order

for that union to be as deeply happy and satisfying as it should be!

As the one God intended to take the lead, a husband ought to take the lead in

creating, in marriage, an atmosphere of giving and serving. Then the wife should

surely follow this lead so that each party is trying to give a wonderful life

and marriage to the other, to enrich their partner’s life in every possible way.

Otherwise, if both partners are immature, selfish and just trying to “get”, then

big trouble lies ahead!

You husbands especially need to remember that Christ gave Himself for the


That He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,

that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or

wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So

ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loves his wife loves

himself (Ephesians 5:26-28). Authorized (King James) Version.

Every right-minded man certainly desires to cherish and protect his wife. She is

his sweetheart, his companion, the mother of his children. He ought to realize

that she is part of him! “For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and

cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church” (verse 29).

Realizing that his wife is part of him, a man certainly ought to have a

solicitous and protective feeling toward his wife and sweetheart. He should

constantly be thinking of her welfare so that she does not strain or overdo; so

that her grace and beauty may be preserved throughout all of their married life.

A real man will notice when his wife is overworking and lighten her burdens

whenever possible. He will leap to action to lift heavy things for her, scrub

those burnt pans or vacuum for her when she is tired or over worked. He will

help her when she is sick, and protectively and lovingly watch over her in many

such ways!

Of course, a man should not do this because he is nagged or henpecked into doing

it! And no right-minded wife would knowingly do this. If a wife makes demands

beyond reason upon her husband, it is his duty as the family’s leader to set his

foot down and restore a proper balance in their relationship–though, as much as

possible, he still helps her out in sincere love and concern for their life

together. The woman also has her responsibilities, her particular duties in the

household, and she should gladly do them. But, help from her husband comes in as

an act of love–freely and fully given when she is sick, downcast or is suddenly

faced with an object too heavy to lift, a job too difficult for her to

accomplish without the physically stronger partner of the marriage giving of his

help and strength in love to his wife and sweetheart.

Learn this lesson, men! Your wives will repay you in a thousand ways over the

years to come if you learn to give this help when it is needed–and give it

freely and in kindness.

The Christian wife

Certainly every Christian woman ought to think about serving her husband–about

caring for his health and personal needs, about encouraging him, loving him and

helping him grow as a husband and father in every way she can.

One of the great tragedies of our inflationary society is that millions of young

wives are virtually forced to work outside the home! Often, they come home tired

and bedraggled at night. A wife in this situation lacks the zest and energy to

cook special meals, keep the house as she would wish to–let alone be an

enthusiastic sweetheart, companion and lover for her husband.

Each of you who read this need to meditate deeply about the quality of life you

desire. Think carefully about building a real family with children–and a wife

that is able to stay home and rear that family as our Creator certainly


The apostle Paul was inspired to instruct the older women:

That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love

their children, To be discrete, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their

own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed (Titus 2:4-5) Authorized

(King James) Version.

As Proverbs 31 tells us, a woman like this who gives herself to her family, to

building a real home–will indeed be honored both by God and by man. “Her

children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her”

(Proverbs 31:28).

If you can use your marriage and your family as a “training ground,” to

unreservedly love, share and give to others, you will develop the greatest

characteristic of all. Then, from a strong, happy marriage as a base of strength,

that love can flow out from you and your mate to the rest of your family,

friends, neighbors and associates.

In every aspect of your married life, learn to practice the way of give. You

will not be sorry.


To be happy and remain happy in marriage, you must not only give but also

forgive. There have never been two perfect people on earth, and so no marriage

has ever been truly perfect–as all long-married people understand.

You knew full well when you married that your husband or wife was not perfect.

So you must not hold them up to some unreasonable standard of perfection. If you

do, you will both be perfectly miserable.

When there are real misunderstandings and hurts–and there will be–you must

learn to forgive. As a real Christian, you are commanded to forgive all men–so

how much more your own mate!

Jesus Christ, the One who shed His blood for us, stated, “For if you forgive men

their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not

forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses”

(Matthew 6:14-15).

You must ask God in prayer to grant you the spirit of forgiveness–the ability

to completely put away all resentment and animosity against others who have hurt

you. And then you need to practice this. Do it regularly. Build the habit of

forgiving others quickly, especially your own mate!

There are those who carry grudges. They often brood and fume and smolder over

little hurts and misunderstandings.

Are you like this?

If you are, you need to pray to God in heaven to help you get over this

tendency–and to completely forgive your mate for the literally dozens of little

hurts that can occur when two people live together.

Do you really enjoy making yourself miserable, your mate miserable and everyone

else miserable by carrying grudges around forever? If you really think about it,

very few of us really want this result.

So work on it.

Change your pattern of thinking. Don’t allow yourself to get hurt so easily.

Pray your heart out to God who is called “the Father of mercies” (II Corinthians

1:3). As He forgives us again and again, so must we forgive others–including

our mates.

The apostle Peter commands Christian men to honor their wives, “as being heirs

together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered” (I Peter


Peter then proceeds to give instructions that apply to all situations, but

especially the “marriage situation”:

Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as

brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; not returning evil for evil or

reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were

called to this, that you may inherit a blessing (verses 8-9).

Yes, we need to have compassion for our mates and forgive them regularly. We

need to be courteous and tenderhearted in marriage. For marriage is a wonderful

workshop for learning the art of giving, forgiving, kindness and mercy–if we

will prayerfully and unselfishly use it to help us build these qualities into

our character.

The apostle Peter asked Jesus, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me,

and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” (Matthew 18:21).

Think about it! Sometimes your mate will offend you (though you probably

shouldn’t be so sensitive!) many times in one day!

Jesus understood. He knew that we all need forgiveness from God and from each

other again and again. So Jesus answered, “I do not say to you, up to seven

times, but up to seventy times seven” (verse 22).

So love your mate. Forgive your mate. Don’t carry grudges.

Remember how difficult it must be for him or her to live with you! If you were

someone else, how would you like to have to put up with all the mistakes and

foibles that you exhibit almost every week of your life?

Remind yourself that you cannot be happy “hating” your mate. Learn to genuinely

forgive, forget and move forward to a truly joyous and satisfying life.

Which brings us to our next point.

VI. Romance and fun

Most courtships and marriages begin with romance and fun. The young couple

spends a lot of time together. They go to the beach, the mountains or the park.

They eat together. They go out dancing, or to the museum, libraries or movies.

Above all, they have long, intimate talks with each other–looking into each

other’s eyes, exulting in the romance of love.

And they have fun.

In most cases, they laugh and kiss and kid around and really enjoy the getting-

to-know-you stage of courtship. Life takes on a special glow because of their

attraction to each other–and because they are using that attraction to enhance

and make special the sharing of all their activities and intimate moments


But all too often–a few weeks or months after the marriage–this fun and

romance begins to leave the marriage. Often, life becomes hum-drum and dull and

one or both marriage partners start asking themselves, “What went wrong?”


There are often a number of reasons, of course, but let’s discuss two of the

most common reasons why a marriage loses its romance and zest.