Building a Happy Marriage: It’s Not Just About You and Your Spouse

Creating a happy marriage depends on each spouse living for God and seeking to serve the other. It’s not all about what you get from it.

Our wedding day. The day we get married, we see ourselves entering a happy marriage and living an amazing life together. Most of us don’t consider the storms that will be thrown our way and how we hope to conquer them. We view our marriage as being just the two of us. Some may include God at the wedding, but many forget about Him in the marriage.

Marriage has become another thing we use to make us feel good, give us what we want and need, and dump once it no longer serves us.

My husband and I have had our share of storms–including one that nearly destroyed us. At the time, neither of us understood the full weight of what our marriage meant, not just to God, but also to our children, our community–and ultimately ourselves.

It isn’t just about us.

Marriage is a union that is a bond of three: God, husband, and wife. In its most holy state, a happy marriage should demonstrate complete love and unity to the world. We must always aim to mirror holy matrimony.

Working with God inside your marriage will refine you, challenge you, and set you face-to-face with who you really are compared to who God is calling you to be. Marriage is meant to be beautiful and holy as you build it on the foundation of God’s Word.

It’s not always blissful because two sinners in the marriage will end up at odds with one another. That’s why it’s so important for both spouses to always go back to God and His Word as the foundational center of their marriage.

We need to lay ourselves aside and consider the bigger picture.

Here are 6 ways a happy marriage is about more than the husband and wife:

1. Marriage Symbolizes Christ and the Church

“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.”

Ephesians 5:31-32

Your marriage relationship serves as a symbol of the relationship between Christ and His church. The sacrificial love of a husband for his wife mirrors Christ’s love for His bride, the church. The submission of a wife to her husband reflects the church’s submission to Christ. Each spouse needs to keep their hearts aligned with God in this, or selfish desires will creep in and twist up what God has created to be holy.

2. Fulfilling God’s Purposes Makes a Happy Marriage

Has not the one God made you? You belong to him in body and spirit. And what does the one God seek? Godly offspring. So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful to the wife of your youth. “The man who hates and divorces his wife,” says the LORD, the God of Israel, “does violence to the one he should protect,” says the LORD Almighty. So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful.

Malachi 2:15-16

According to this verse, one purpose of marriage is to raise godly children who will honor and serve the Lord. Thus, marriage is a partnership in fulfilling God’s purposes for the family and raising children in the ways of the Lord. Children are watching and taking in the state of your marriage. If you believe children are not affected by marriage, you are mistaken. They are greatly affected by it. How you choose to approach your marriage matters to them.

The second part of this passage emphasizes to the husband why being unfaithful is so detrimental. Being unfaithful doesn’t just mean sexual infidelity. When you marry, you vow to love and protect one another. Being unfaithful also means neglect, broken trust, spending money in secret, or being irresponsible with it, to name a few.

3. Honoring God’s Design for Sexuality

Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.

Hebrews 13:4

Marriage provides a God-ordained context for sexual intimacy and the expression of love between a husband and wife. By honoring the marriage covenant, spouses honor God’s design for sexuality and relationships. Both spouses must keep their sexual desires within the boundaries of their marriage because it honors God and also honors their spouse.

a happy marriage

4. Glorifying God Through Unity

Then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.

Philippians 2:2

Unity within marriage glorifies God by demonstrating His love and unity to the world. Unity is only possible in a marriage when both spouses seek God, separately and together.

God uses unity to indicate that we are His and He is ours and we belong to each other. Division in marriage opens the door for the Enemy to use your marriage as a playground for his plans.

5. Community Building

Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full respect.

1 Timothy 3:2-5

A community cannot function with integrity and good character if it is led by men and women whose marriages are in disarray. If we cannot care for our own personal and most important earthly relationship, we should reconsider leading others. There is more to leadership than good leadership skills.

Strong marriages create a sense of belonging and interconnectedness within neighborhoods, schools, and our churches. We should be what people want to have when they watch us, because we are following the path God has called us to walk. Our marriage should speak loudly of God’s love to others.

6. Role Modeling

Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.

Titus 2:3-5

Married couples often serve as role models for others within the church community, especially for younger generations. A healthy, loving marriage can inspire others to prioritize commitment, communication, and mutual respect in their own relationships.

As people watch your marriage and grow with you, they rely on your wisdom and may consider you a godly standard. This is the way God designed the Church community to function. There is a healthy balance in this. You can be honest about struggles and solutions without divulging all the details.

A Word of Caution on Abuse

Abuse inside marriage is being uncovered more and more inside the Church. While this is a sad tragedy, it is good that sin is being brought out to the open. Men and women need to be held accountable to trusted people within their church communities. Accountability is a gift and a necessity to help keep us on the path God has called us to walk.

While much of the uncovering of abuse is aimed at husbands, let us not forget that wives are just as capable of abusing the marriage with deception, disrespect, manipulation, control, emotional affairs, financial irresponsibility and so on. We each have a responsibility to the other.

If you are in an abusive marriage (physical or emotional), please seek godly counseling from someone trusted who will lead you both back to the path of God. A marriage is a lifelong commitment. Pray that God would restore you both and work in you and your marriage. He is big enough. If that isn’t possible, let God lead you. I didn’t think it was possible for my marriage, but God specializes in the impossible. Don’t underestimate all He can do!

Joyfully His,

Christin Slade

A 52-Week Devotional for the Deeper, Richer Marriage You Desire

An intimate, loving marriage is so much closer than you think

Imagine if, at the end of the year, despite your busy schedules and all the demands on your time and attention, you and your husband were more in sync, more connected, and more in love than ever before. Sounds amazing, right?

That kind of marriage is what is waiting for you as you read through the fifty-two weekly devotions in Loving Your Husband Well. Each entry includes a specific theme, related Scripture, a powerful devotion, thoughts for further reflection, practical ideas, and a prayer, all designed to help you love, cherish, and serve the man who shares life’s journey with you.

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