10 Things You Won’t Find In A Godly Marriage
Could you stand up in a room and say, without embarrassment, “We’re not perfect but even so, I encourage you to follow our example in marriage?”
A godly couple can say this because of what’s missing from their marriage (and because of what’s there, but that’s another article). Sometimes it’s good when certain things go missing.
Here are 10 that have no place in a godly relationship:
1. A Sharp Tongue
It can be easy to cut with words when things don’t go our way but, in a godly marriage, neither spouse yields to this ungodly impulse. (James 3:8)
2. A Good Memory (when it comes to offenses).
A good memory can be very bad. After we repent of our sins before God, He doesn’t then commit them to memory so they can be thrown in our faces the next time we need to repent. The Bible says that God forgets our sins. When we repent and ask forgiveness of each other, they should never be referenced again. Remembering and repeating past wrongs will prevent the true fellowship that always follows true forgiveness. We are called to forgive as God has forgiven. (Col. 3:13)
3. A neglect of the Bibilical order in marriage.
In today’s culture, it’s practically hate speech by now, but if you desire to have a marriage ordered according to God’s structure and standards, read and live by Ephesians chapter 5.
4. A lack of care for how each other is doing.
Godly love engenders a genuine concern for one’s spouse. Communicating that love is as easy as, “Hey, how are you doing . . . really?” Love is kind. (1 Cor. 13:4)
5. A short temper or easily offended.
Godly couples are slow to become angry. (1 Cor. 13:5)
6. An unwillingness to sustain difficulty.
Godly couples have settled in for the long haul. Remember the old vow, “In sickness and in health?” Godly love bears all things. (1 Cor. 13:7)
Pride says, “Notice me, talk about me, and focus on me.” The first thing you’ll hear or notice from a godly spouse is, “It’s not about me.” (1 Cor. 13:4)
8. A tearing down of one another.
Godly couples are busy . . . too busy lifting each other up to have the time to tear each other down by speaking negatively to others.
9. Thinking less than the best of each other.
Godly couples love first and ask questions later. They assume the best of the other person. (1 Cor. 13:7)
10. Taking pleasure in each other’s failings.
Love doesn’t rejoice when someone sins or falls, but rejoices in the truth. (1 Cor. 13:6)
It’s easy to get busy with life and treat marriage like it is something that is happening to us, instead of something we are doing. Maybe you’ve removed all of these negative, sinful behaviors from your marriage. If so, great! But, if not, take responsibility for what you are bringing to the relationship and take action to ensure these things are “missing” from your marriage – at least for the part of the relationship God entrusted to you . . . your part.
*Check out Matthew and Lisa’s books – now available in both print and digital format – 100 Ways To Love Your Wife and 100 Ways to Love Your Husband
Thanks for this post, these are very good reminders! In regards to #2, I was wondering where in the Bible does it say that God forgets our sin? I completely agree with the point you are making but I don’t think the Bible says that God forgets our sin and I don’t think we are commanded to “forgive and forget” as it is often stated. Yes, we are commanded to “forgive” and we shouldn’t hold a grudge, but that’s different than forgetting.
Katie— Isaiah 43:25 says “I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins” the only one who remembers is US and the devil uses that against us to try to convince us that we aren’t really forgiven or give us an excuse to hold grudges both are contrary to God’s Word as is stated in the above quoted verse. Be encouraged, HE forgets so in His strength we can too!!! “I CAN do ALL things through Christ who strngthens me” Philippians 4:13 Be blessed today!
many many years ago i took a class called “Neues Leben” in english “new life”, in that class i learned to forgive even if i didn’t believe that person deserved forgiveness but knew i was called to forgive. We choose to forgive to be right with God, no one is worth not being right with God so our walk and prayers will not be hindered. So i went to God and said ” I choose to forgive, and trust you Lord to learn to forget” When one has been scarred as i was, 14 yrs in an abusive marriage, what made me stay so long is still a mystery. But what i was taught, to choose to forgive and trust God to forget has never left me, though you never really forget i can say today i can see my ex at our children and grandchildren birthdays and there is no hate, no bitter root, and i know it’s all God and His faithfulness. Faith is a great thing.
For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.
The Bible says EXACTLY that God will forget our sin.
When someone says, “I can forgive, but I can’t forget” what they are really saying is, “I won’t forgive.”
It’s very important to remember that this kind of blessed forgetfulness is dependent on REPENTANCE. It is very dangerous to forgive and forget the recurring sins of an unrepentant spouse!! Thanks for the good words,Matthew!
Those who are saying that not remembering = forgetting are mistaken. It is impossible to purposefully forget, but to not remember (not call to remembrance) is completely different. It’s like me telling you, “Don’t think of an elephant.” Who of you can possibly NOT think of an elephant? However, if I ask you to never mention an elephant to me again, when you think of one, it is entirely in your control to NOT speak of that elephant. Such are past sins. God will call them to remembrance never again when forgiven. And we can follow His example by not bringing up sins we have forgiven others. God bless you all in applying the truth of His word!
Help! I’m guilty of at least seven of these and my hubby has the other three covered!!!
Thank you for posting! I am TERRIBLE about bringing up past offenses! If he did *this* and it hurt me I will bring it up in the next disagreement. I need to work on my discipline so very much!
I don’t think it’s so much your discipline you need to work on…it’s your memory.
When you remember an offense, don’t sit there and think about it – force yourself to think about something positive about him/her and his/her strengths. Soon you won’t even remember what that negative was…works for me EVERY time.
Helpful for all relationships. God help me.
9 of these are things you’ll find in successful godless marriages as well.
Keith, to say something is ‘godly’ is to say it is functioning the way God made it (as God intended). Non-Christians can (and do) do godly things everyday. Many just don’t use that language to describe it. Peace.
Even though no marriage will ever “arrive” in all these areas, I’m grateful for the very necessary reminders to pay attention to them. May we act upon the gave so abundant and freely available to us day by day.
Justin, I would ave to respectfully disagree that no marriage will ever “arrive” in all these areas. My husband and I have been married for almost 23 years. We have had our share of ups and downs and good and not so good times. However, I can say that we are both successful in each of these areas. Why can I say that? Because we have worked hard to make sure that when we are interacting, even if we get upset, we think first before we speak. There have been times, when my first thought has been to say something that is sharp-tongued. However, before I say those things, I ask myself how it will make my husband feel or react. Knowing that a negative attitude and negative responses to my husband are not productive to building him or our marriage up, I CHOOSE not to respond in that manner. I truly believe that every marriage can ‘arrive’ at every one of these steps if we choose to. But it takes effort, faith and the benefit of having the Holy Spirit in the midst of your marriage.
Marianne, I would agree it takes effort, but not everyone has the same level of maturity in both spouses. I return kindness to many of my husband’s heartless, snippy comments. My concern and loving attitude is generally snubbed or, worse, ignored.
Is it possible for a relationship that began with adultery to ever be a godly marriage?
Absolutely. The Holy Spirit looks for contrition like the moth to the flame. He is that intent!
You start by yielding to His Word and the positives will win out.
Absolutely yes! My marriage is living proof of that. It happened when we were married almost 7 years and we are now getting ready to celebrate our 23rd and we are closer and stronger than ever! And that is only by the grace of God and because we leaned on Him to improve our marriage,
Discernment needs to be used across the board here. If your spouse regularly tears you to shreds, then there is a deeper issue that will not be fixed by having the victim continually “forgive and forget” and lay themselves open for continued abuse.
If you’ve got to constantly beat yourself up with these “rules for being a Godly spouse”, and constantly work at it like slave labor — that might be an indication of bigger problems. The most loving, healthy couples that I know don’t need to constantly be reminded to treat each other right. They just do. Couples on the “sliding scale” of health certainly need some encouragement. But if you have to drag yourself into your pastor’s office, crying for help, we need better Biblical wisdom than the simple points listed above.
Jamie if your husband has hurt you, rather than use it as ammunition, you need to communicate in love how he’s hurt you or not met your expectations. Burying your head in the sand and pretending you don’t have emotions that God created you with will only lead to unresolved resentment. You have to have integrity to be honest about how he is treating you and making you feel, but it’s always in the delivery and timing. Once you’ve said it and hes received it, then its done to be spoken of no more.
donald l jacobson
Yes, yes, yes! I have seen that this is possible in my 80 years of life over and over and over again. Their must be a willing forgiver and their must be one that is willing tp ask for forgiveness from God and the one that they have sinned against. After they have both come before the Lord to bless their marriage then both must take every thought captive that Satan will temp them with. ( 2 Cor. 10:5) Jesus forgave the woman that was caught in adultery. (John 8:4-11) When one asks forgiveness should we do less then Jesus did? (Matt 11-26) I pray that God’s work helps you Mattie I also would turn you to Time warp wife web site to let Darline Schacht tell you her story.
donald l jacobson
Hay, Jyll, I love your comment. We can all relate to it. The Lord bless you both. And what it is worth trade places with your husband. Give him seven and you take three for a while, He is suppose to be stronger any way.
It always interest me that the church thinks women are without sin but though they aren’t known for pornography or aggression, they are so often guilty of holding on and not letting go.
All exceptionally good reminders. My first tendancy when I read anything like this is to think – oh my husband does this or that. Thank God that only last for 1/4 of a second before I go – uh, no no no what about your own offenses Tonya. The Lord has blessed me and my marriage tremedously but there will always be room for improvement.
– at least for the part of the relationship God entrusted to you . . . your part.
In a Christian marriage there is no “your part” or “my part”. When you are married you become one. It’s ONE life that you work on together. Sometimes one person has to give more than the other. It’s never 50/50.
Forgiveness is a choice!
Whenever I’ve tried to bring up how he hurt me or the children he has an amazing way of denying what I say and turning the topic so that he is the one who got hurt and was offended. On top of that, he has ways of punishing us (retaliation, condemnation, scorn, ridicule in public and private) if we insist on what we said. I have learned it’s much better to not express a view on things if at all possible and just agree with whatever he wants to do or say. I’ve also learned that if I really want to disagree or have a dif viewpoint then I bring in an outside expert (such as have him talk to a nurse on call).
ZXC, those are classic symptoms of an abusive spouse. Not all abuse is physical. What you describe is verbal/emotional/psychological abuse.
Oops, email addy.
Thank you so much for this article. The Lord has been working in my life in many areas and I believe this article was written for me. I have always been afraid of losing myself so I think I started my marriage of 10 years now in a defensive position. It has always been about me. I have been seeking the Lord about my selfishness and this article makes everything much clearer to me. God Bless.
I don’t know why my original post wasn’t approved. The following link does not have any viruses or anything and is produced by the same people who produce Our Daily Bread. It has some excellent insight and dispels several lies that women have been told over the years.
My email is attached. Please provide an explanation, TWW.
It was held back and marked at possible spam because it was a link to a PDF. Thanks for the explanation. It’s been put through now.
Thank you. I had a feeling that was probably the case.
I very much relate to SPs assessment that women are very prone to bringing up the past offences of others whom they have purported to have forgiven. Sadly, I’m inclined to have little choice but to picture The Kingdom of God to be almost void of females.
Your post actually made me laugh out loud. As a mother of two daughters and a son, I can assure you that it’s just as difficult for the girls to find godly young men as it is for my son to meet a godly young woman. As far as you’re concerned, Roger, in a godly Christian relationship the man should be the leader. If the dance isn’t working, you probably need dance lessons.
Are you serious??? That is an EXTREMELY unbiblical point of view. And men are every bit as likely to bring up past offences. My ex, who had an affair and still wanted a divorce after I said I wanted to work things out, continually brings up anything I did wrong in the marriage — more than I ever bring up his affair. He will not let me get away from it and tortures me with it, even though he got his divorce, his other woman, the house, and EVERYTHING ELSE. No matter how much I pay the price, he won’t let me get away from it. So I don’t want to hear that.
Tell me where in the Bible you see any of that — and tell me where in the Bible it says the Kingdom of God is almost void of females. I would LOVE to see you cite it.
This has me SO angry and disgusted right now. I am sure you consider yourself a “godly” man, and yet there is nothing godly about this kind of response.
I have family that keeps bringing up my past saying you did this and you did that. I keep trying to tell them that’s the past leave it alone and live in the present. But I guess they think if I did it they think they can do it. I wish I can get through to them that I’m trying to get myself right with the lord and trying to let them know he’s coming sooner then people think.
Very good and so true. Been married for a very happy 8 years and going very strong – Praise the Lord!
Thank you for these reminders, if we would realize when we do something, would we talk or treat Jesus like this, because if you are His child He lives within you! I’m trying to remind myself and family of this. To answer Mattie’s question about if you can have a Godly marriage when it started by adultery, all things are possible through Christ, when we repent and receive Jesus’ forgiveness He remembers our sins no more. Guilt and self condemnation can keep our past in the present, forgive yourself and trust in His word.
Some very valid points. Its true, we become one and sometimes its more than 100%/100% of each other…. one thing I think was left out and is very important. One must never have a best friend of the opposite sex. This can destroy your marriage and quick.
Thanks for another excellent, thought provoking, soul searching, edifing and convicting post;0
OH! Encouraging too.
No doubt our Poppa G-d forgives totally and unconditionally, no stings and forgets, He obviously chooses not to hold it against us. Its not like it slips His memory like with us created humans.
And I can attest, He heals our wounds, feelings, memories, and can even help us forget..for real. However, I got to say a few things here. Big, deep, horrific sins can be totally forgiven. Even if not ever forgotten. And that does NOT mean the person is sinning or being unforgiving. Even if a person never repents, or asks for the forgiveness we hold out to them, or sometimes that they mock us for holding out to them. Forgiveness is a choice, and an act of faith. And sometimes we must remind ourself and those pesky rebellious angels and even those we have forgiven-that a hurtful act or word is under the Blood. Then the work of resistution can take place.
We Christians must NOT pretend that real forgiveness is easy. It is painful to the forgiver. We ‘take’ the offense. Take it to JESUS! He understands! He took it on the cross first, before we were even born! Before the offender was born too. I am often reminded by the Spirit of my Living Savior, “I know it hurts Baby Girl, I KNOW. Will you trust ME with your hurts too? I have a plan, a good plan for this evil…”
He has never let me down. He will never let His Bride down.
Trust and obey…He will not only reward us He is our reward in the difficulty, our constant trustworthy Friend.
I don’t think that things like this are overly helpful to people, obviously no-one is perfect but to say that if you don’t fulfil these 10 things then you don’t have a Godly marriage which eve though might not be the point i can guarantee that a lot of people will look at it that way. Though what is said is true i don’t think that if you miss out on one or two or even 10 in one day that you dont have a Godly marraige, it would be like saying if you sin you are not a Christian, I find it very frustrating that so many people and even pastors and churches these days push this unachievable perfection upon us through moral implication they don’t’ if you don’t do this you are failing’but they way that they present their information implies it. Jesus said love the lord your God with all your heart mind and strength, and Love your neighbour as yourself,’ if you apply this as best as you can to all situations then there is no doubt in my mind that you are Godly as you can possibly be at that point in time, i also think that poeple forget that it is a journey of very high high’s and very low lows, so somthing like this can and does send others into backslide’s because of de moralisation. but it is true stuff 🙂
no. 10, Taking pleasure in each other’s failings. I do not take pleasure in my husband failings but what to do when your husband doesnt think he is cheating when he is on FB looking at pictures of women and posting comments and i mean porn pics. He doesnt think i know that he is doing this i have been praying for him but it is getting worst. i dont know what else to do? ty for listening.
You should do a follow up article, titled:
The ONE Thing You WILL Find In A Godly Marriage:
Because whether in thought, words or deeds, we will probably fall short of most if not all of them. But it’s a good reminder of what to strive for.
Wow. If this is THE make it or break it A-list then me & hubby are done. I think forgiveness & repentance covers all these blunders. This list seems like a list on how to live the perfect Christian life. I think equating this list with ungodliness is a bit of a judgement and sentence to all of us who strive with sin nature in our marriages and daily try to fail forward. I don’t know that I would ever describe my marriage as godly….I wouldn’t want to invite a fall flat on my face.
This article is based on the premise that outside of Christian beliefs there is no rational reason to be good.
This implies that human nature and the rest of reality working together are amoral or immoral, which implies that creation itself (and therefore the creator) is morally flawed.
I’ve been happily married for 35 years while living successfully and joyously. Morality requires rationality, common sense, courage, and hard work, not blind, irrational, belief.
I agree that all these negatives are bad, and a reminder is perhaps in order, but let’s not be unrealistic. If you’re honest, you’ll conclude that none of us have godly marriages ! I believe that the important thing is to get up when you fall and forgive these things. I know quite a few godly people and all of them have some of these things in them.
I need an article that says what constitutes a Godly marriage. In today’s world with same-sex marriage being legal and other questions popping up I would like to know how to answer them as a Christian.
We are only human and we live in a fallen world. Marriage is a God given blessing and God asks us to honor His word in how we treat each other as man and wife. His way is very clear in Ephesians 5: 30-33. A man that loves his wife as Jesus loves His church will have a wife that will be happy and fulfilled in her marriage and the husband will be happy and fulfilled in his marriage to her. If you both will do it His way then you will have a Godly marriage. I am not saying it will be easy and I am not saying you will not have your disagreements, but His way is much better than the way many marriages are today. I was a very blessed man to have a wonderful
Godly marriage for 35 years until my wife was promoted to be with our Lord because of cancer. I am comforted in knowing that I did it His way and loved my wife as he asked. Know that once one of you are gone you can’t go back and ask them to forgive you for something that you choose to do that was a sin and hurt the other. Men know that your wife is the most blessed thing God has given you after Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. So don’t waste your time together being selfish, be selfless in your oneness and be thankful for God’s awesome blessing that He has bestowed on both of you for only a short time.
I live in a world where I am ordered to do this or that. He won’t be around my family except 2 holidays a year. His family comes first. I am expected to take care of his parents and visit his family. I don’t like his family. They are arrogant and make fun of each other behind their backs. I have seen them laughing at me when they didn’t think I was watching. I can’t even have a small indoor pet. I love animals, but he doesn’t care. I only get to choose one thing and that is what I am cooking for dinner. This isn’t all, but you know what I am saying. I know adultery is the only reason for divorce, but I just can’t take it any longer. I really love the Lord because He first loved me. That’s why I’ve stayed this long. I know I’m disappointing God,. I’ve asked Him to take me home to get me out of this situation. I’m done.
Barbara, I’m so sorry to read about this. It breaks my heart to know that you are living in such a difficult situation. I pray that God will intervene in your life.
Barbara, you are in a controlling emotionally abusive relationship. God does not ask you to stay in that case. I’m not saying you have to divorce, but you don’t have to put up with that. I’m in an 8yr marriage myself just like that, that I am currently ending. My husband was emotionally and physically abusive and now he promises he’ll never be physical with me again, but is still controlling and takes his stress out on me all the time. He is not honoring his part of your covenant and it does not give God glory to see you suffer like that or worse if conditions were just right..i would advise you to separate yourself from the situation and seek counseling. I’m not saying God can’t restore your marriage, but your hubby has alot of work to do before that can happen..first and foremost being the need to have a real intimate relationship with God in order for all his other issues to truly be healed. Blessings
Do all of these hold true for a wife, when her husband has chronically committed adultery all the while claiming to be a godly man? I know the Bible allows an “out” for adultery, but God hates divorce too. What does a Christian wife do…the pain of the affairs will cause a woman to lash out.
That’s a question I think should probably be handled in counselling. If there isn’t any repentance then there won’t be a change.
So, How come you don’t mention the other parts of Ephesians 5?
Why does the church say to women, just submit and take it?
Far too many men have abused the Godly Verse of a wife submitting. That is why divorce is so high.
How come you don’t write about Eph 5:25. The man needs to lead and not the woman.
Good question. I don’t write on that topic much because I’m a woman writing to women. However, I often recommend Matthew Jacobson’s blog where he discusses a man’s role in marriage.
Submission isn’t just for women. The Bible tells us all to submit one to another. In the role of a marriage however, it specifically instructs women to submit unto their husbands and men to love their wives as Christ loved the church.
When we look at the life of Jesus Christ and the way he loved the church, we see a man who came to serve. He washed the feet of His disciples, he was beaten and bruised and hung on a cross. A man’s responsibility to love his wife as Christ loved the church is not an escape clause. It’s a weight of responsibility.
Darlene, What advice would you give someone who was married to a narcissist?
Focus on the Family has an awesome article on narcissism that might help shed some light. It also offers a list of resources and a number for a counsellor: http://media.focusonthefamily.com/topicinfo/responding_to_narcissism.pdf