The other day I was talking to my friend who is happily married and she said something to me that I could not argue.

“I can count on one hand the couples our age who are still in love.”

We are in our late 50’s.  What a sad, sad, statement.  Now think about it – she is talking about the 50% of couples who actually stayed married.  The other 50% didn’t make it.

Do you agree with that statement?  Can you count on more than one – or even two hands – couples you know who are still in love?  I don’t mean the ones who are just – married.  Count the number of couples you know who love each other as much – or more – than when they got married.  What number did you come up with?

Now – let me ask those of you who are married a question:

If you could do it all over again…

would you chose to marry the person who you are married to now?   

I am guessing that some of you are not so sure about your answer.  Life has a way of pulling couples apart.

Statistics will tell you that 17% of marriages are happy. How many of you are truly happy in your marriage?  Happy meaning:  You are best friends , you have fun together, you get along well, and you are emotionally and physically intimate.

Happy is very good – but being in love is even more.  Being in love is when you feel really happy when you drive into the garage and his car is already there.  It is having great respect and admiration for him.  It is when your favorite thing is  to go on dates with just the two of you.  It is when you feel like you are the luckiest girl in the whole wide world because you are married to him.

So – I ask you again.  Are you still in love the way you were on your wedding day?

What is it the missing ingredient that some couples lack – yet others seem to possess?

Are you ready for my answer?

10% of people who have Christ at the center of their marriage end up in divorce.  

Did you read that carefully?  Only 10% of people who have Christ at the center of their marriage end up in divorce.  Another way of putting it is that 90% of couples who have Christ at the center of their marriage stay the course until the day they die.

Other statistics will tell you that Christians have the same divorce rate (about 50% ) as non-Christians.  This statement is also true.  A Christian might attend church or believe in Jesus – but not all Christians have Christ at the center of their marriage. There is a big difference.

What does a marriage look like that possesses the missing ingredient?  

Couples who have Christ at the center of their marriage…

#1 – Are accountable to God.

When I don’t feel like being accountable to my husband – I am still accountable to God.  Living to please God contributes in a positive way to my marriage.

#2 – Pray together.

Couples who pray together stay together.  Through prayer they become knit together in Christ. Prayer binds together the husband, wife, and Jesus. Ephesians 4:12 tells us:

“A strand of three cords is not easily broken.”  

#3 –  Get better with age.

When Christ is at the center of our lives we become better people.  As the years go by, a true believer will become easier to get along with, less judgmental, less critical,  more forgiving, more willing to say “I am sorry”, more content, more patient, and more considerate.  A man or woman of God will be honest, loyal, possess integrity, be positive, peaceful, and look for the good in all people and all circumstances.

These kind of qualities contribute to a strong and fulfilling marriage.

#4 – Continue to grow.

Couples with Christ at the center of their marriage regularly read the Bible and attend church.   They take the things they learn and apply them to their lives.  They don’t just hear the messages – they actually do something with it.  Applying Biblical truths causes them to grow in wisdom which helps when raising kids, making decisions, organizing priorities, relating with others, and having the ability to look at the bigger picture.

#5 – Weather the storms of life.

Storms come.  Storms have away of breaking people down and tearing them apart.  Couples with Christ at the center of have marriages that are built on something stronger.  Their marriage is more resilient because of Christ in their life.

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.

 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.  The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”  – Matthew 7:24-27

What about those of you who are kind of lumping along in your marriage?  Is it possible to turn things around?  Yes.  Start with you.  Get into your Bible – read your devotional – apply the things you learn – pray for your spouse every day.  Allow the Lord to come into your life and help you to change how you relate to your husband.

Changing the course of your marriage does not begin by having a long conversation where you carefully choose just the right words that will help him to understand your point of view.  Applying the following verse to your life can be a powerful tool for turning things around. It might very possibly be the missing ingredient in your marriage.

 I want to forewarn you that this verse has the dreaded “wives submit to your husbands” phrase.  And before you go getting your undies in a bundle, you need to understand that the meaning of this verse is very different from what you and I might believe.   Let’s read the verse first and then talk about what it means in Greek.   Here’s the verse –

“Wives, in the same way, submit yourselves to your husbands, so that even if they refuse to believe the word, they will be won over without words but by the behavior of their wives.” – 1 Peter 3:1 

At first read, I don’t like the sound of this verse.  I have never been too keen on being a slave girl for my husband.  But that’s not what it means.  Submission does not mean “to obey” or “to give in”.  Please read on.

The Greek word for “obey/obedience” is hupakoe, which means to listen to or to harken to.  Submission (hupotasso) means to get under and lift up, or to put in order.  

Can you – will you do that?  

Will you listen?  Will you harken to?  (give heed or attention to what was said)  Will you get under so that you can lift up  (encourage) and get your marriage in order?  Every man needs to be the guy on the white horse.  He needs to feel respected, loved, and admired.  Will you get under by coming down off your high horse and look at him the way that you used to?

You may wonder if it’s possible for a couple to have a good marriage if they don’t believe in Jesus.  Yes, it happens.  I have met a few couples who do not follow Jesus but they have very successful marriages.   The problem is…those couples who are still head over heals in love will only be able enjoy each other in this life.  They will not be able to carry on their relationship throughout eternity.  If they don’t include Jesus in their life here on earth – they cannot expect Jesus to include them in Heaven.

Lots to think about when it comes to marriage.  Are you willing to go after the missing ingredient in your marriage? This is the way I see it – the more I grow in my walk with the Lord – the better wife, mom, and friend I will become. And if my husband is also growing in his walk with the Lord – he will also a become a better husband, dad, and friend. Knowing the Lord overflows from your life into your marriage.  It makes it a lot easier to be married to each other.

Fill yourself up with Jesus…and may your cup overflow.

Lovely couple holding cup of coffee in hands on wooden background

 “If I get married, I want to be very married.”  – Audrey Hepburn

Until next time,