A recent article in the Wall Street Journal provided information about how to have a happy marriage. When we were married 60 years ago, we decided to make our marriage based on Scripture. During those years, we have never had a major argument or disagreement. I point this out to confirm what Scripture teaches. If you were to ask how that is possible, my reply would be the discipline and control over one’s pride and self-centeredness.

Ephesians 5:21 – 29 “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church.”

Having worked with thousands of employees and being a high school coach, everyone wants to know: “How am I doing?” You may remember Ed Koch, the mayor of New York City, asked everyone: “How am I doing?” I have given many appraisals telling an athlete their strengths and weaknesses and the areas they needed to work on. In management I have given possibly a thousand appraisals to employees explaining how they were doing. I believe everyone needs to know how they are doing and especially married couples. How often have you heard, she left me and I have no reason why she did? In many cases it was a lack of communications.

The WSJ paper gave an example of an appraisal that married couples should give to each other on a regular basis. A question one might ask: Is there anything I do that annoys you? Each is asked the question. Next, do I fulfill your needs? You could come up with ten questions that you could ask each other every three months or as needed. Remember that pride; “I am always right” can put stress on a marriage. Or self-centeredness, you are not giving me what I need.

It didn’t take long in our marriage to realize that we think differently. However, I realized that my role as husband was to let my wife know how much I loved her and showed it and told her every day. That love had to be as similar as I could get to Christ loving the church. As a result, my wife was extremely supportive and submissive allowing me to lead spiritually and assume the role as head of the household. That is a leadership role and not, I am the boss. Above all, I was extremely proud of my wife as she was unusually talented, having been a school teacher and a choir director in practically every church we have attended. I point this out because respect and being proud of your spouse is a must. If there is a problem here, it needs to be one of the questions on your marriage appraisal that needs to be pointed out. If your husband eats like a slob in public, it needs to be covered. If he loves you as Christ loves the church, he will not accept it as criticism and make a change. As a Christian, it is his obligation to change if it annoys you. His and her job is to make each other proud of their spouse. This is one purpose of the appraisal.

How important is a peaceful home for your children? I believe, to some degree, one can measure the success of their marriage by how their children behave. There are always exceptions. Some children are born being bipolar, medically impaired, etc. We are extremely proud of our adult children and our grandchildren. How can a couple not get along if they are praying together and reading their Bibles daily? If you are praying daily, from the time your children are born, that God will give them purpose and direction in their life, you will see your prayers answered. Pray that they make the correct spiritual decisions and put God first in their lives and others as themselves. Pray that they meet the right mate in marriage. Of course, parents must set a Christian example for children to believe in God’s promises. Parents must teach loyalty, accountability, respect for authority and the Golden Rule.

If children see prayers answer and supernatural events occur, it gives them the basis to be believers. One of our children was saved at the age of eight. Remember, the Bible says that our legacy can be carried on to fourth and fifth generation. How important is it to follow the Bible in being married? If you do, it is everything God promises.

May I stress to Christian parents with children, pray “together” daily, aloud for their children. It may be best the first thing each morning or the last thing prior to going to bed. Then years later see if God doesn’t keep His promises. It will give your marriage a peace like nothing else.

P.S. Mons and dads are you praying together for your children? Matthew 18:19 – “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.” Do you want them to be adult believers? God promises your prayers will be answered. Try doing this every morning or before going to bed at night.

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