Marriage can be difficult, in particular, when you have never seen a healthy marriage up close.
Yet, this is the situation in which many young married couples find themselves. The couple, through no fault of their own, never had the opportunity to witness up close a healthy, godly marriage. I am referring to a marriage where two people love each other, and this is reflected in their attitude and behavior.
Ideally, a person witnesses such a marriage from a front row seat in their own family of origin. She sees their love for one another and observes how they function as a couple. Perhaps she even sees how they deal with each other’s mistakes. They may witness both hurt and forgiveness. Yet, many people do not grow up in such a home.
So where else can a person learn to be married?
- You can learn about marriage by observing married people who seem to be doing something well. These married people may be one’s grandparents, a brother, or a neighbor. Be a student of good marriages.
- Be a part of a community of faith which puts great value on the quality of marriages. Look for couples who seem to invest in their marriage. What are they doing right?
- Seek the counsel of an older couple who is experiencing a good marriage. Ask that couple for permission to ask questions about their marriage and the positive disciplines or habits that have contributed to their marriage.
- Read books written about marriage from a Christian perspective. Consider purchasing books by Gary Thomas, Gary Roseberg, or others who write regarding marriage.
- Spend time carefully listening to the words of Jesus in the Bible. Pay attention to what he says regarding kingdom relationships. Read the letters to various churches in the New Testament. These writers will often address some aspect of relational behavior for Christ-followers.
I often tell couples before they marry that marriage will probably be better than they ever dreamed and more difficult than they ever imagined.
Many people never had the opportunity to witness a healthy marriage up close. Even people who grew up in churches sometimes never had the opportunity to witness a healthy, godly marriage. Yet, it is possible to become a life-long learner, a student of marriage, and by the grace of God become a part of creating a marriage that will bless generations.
Who taught you most about marriage?