We’ve been discussing the devastating impact of sin on a marriage. The best marriages are the ones in which the two partners—as individuals and as “one flesh”—maintain an atmosphere of purity.
How can you establish or regain that kind of marriage? Here are a few tips:
- Take responsibility for your own behavior.
Jesus said it best: “How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye?” (Luke 6:42, NIV).
When it comes to sin, focus first on yourself. You cannot change your spouse, but with God’s help, you can change your own behavior. Take responsibility for your own words and actions.
- Do not return sin for sin.
Again, we should listen to the words of Christ: “Be merciful, just as your father is merciful” (Luke 6:36, NIV). Jesus said to do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who mistreat you.
Marriage problems will never be solved by revenge and retaliation. Those attitudes and behaviors will only make the problem worse. To keep your marriage pure, make up your mind today that you will not sin in response to whatever your husband or wife might say or do.
This allows God to use your behavior to help your spouse respect and trust you. Purity—not sin—is the best way to deal with marriage problems, because the power of love and righteousness is far greater than the power of evil.
- Admit your faults.
The same cycle that applies in our spiritual lives also works in our married lives. Honesty is a virtue in marriage. So is humility. Investing in both of those will pay high dividends. Forgiveness and purity begins when one spouse admits that he or she has been wrong.
What good is it if we admit our faults to one another if we are not then willing to offer forgiveness? Jesus said, “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” (Matthew 6:14-15, NIV).
A lack of forgiveness poisons our hearts, and that’s why it is such a major issue with God. A blessed, refreshed marriage results when we get rid of the unhealthy thoughts and feelings that stem from an unforgiving spirit.
If you want a godly marriage, you must confess your own failures while forgiving those of your spouse. Next, we’ll discuss three more ways to maintain an atmosphere of purity in marriage.