Seven Steps to Purity in Marriage, Part 2

Seven Steps to Purity in Marriage, Part 2 February 14, 2019

I listed four steps to establish a pure marriage. They were: (1) take responsibility for your own behavior; (2) do not return sin for sin; (3) admit your faults; and (4) forgive.

I believe there are three additional steps to purity once you have worked through the cycle of confession and forgiveness. They are:

  1. Speak the truth in love.

Early in our marriage, when Karen or I did something that bothered or offended each other, we would only talk about it once we got angry. At that point, our words were hurtful. We’ve learned since then that there’s a better way to deal with problems: talk about them before they explode.

There are many times in marriage when a husband and wife simply need to sit down with each other and discuss frustrations that arise. Just like ignoring sin is dangerous, it is also dangerous to let hurts and annoyances build up.

You don’t have to agree on everything, of course. But you do need to allow free expression of feelings without being turned off or feeling attacked. Talk it out, with grace and understanding. That’s what it means to speak the truth in love.

  1. Pray for each other.

Sometimes there are things in your spouse’s life that loving discussion or forgiveness can’t change. When a stubborn problem or sin remains, we may resort to manipulation, intimidation, or domination to enforce our feelings. But those actions only harm the relationship further.

A better approach is prayer. “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed” (James 5:16, NIV). Ask God to handle it. He can change your heart and your spouse’s without damaging the relationship.

  1. Seek righteous fellowship.

If you have children, you understand that impact that friends’ actions and attitudes can have on your son or daughter. Marriages are similar. As a couple, what kinds of people do you associate with? After all, “bad company corrupts good character” (1 Cor. 15:33, NIV).

I remember a couple who thought it was innocent fun to go out dancing and drinking on Saturday nights with other couples. It wasn’t long before the innocent fun turned into drunkenness and adultery.

Am I telling you to become legalistic about associating with “sinners”? No, because even Jesus spent time with the impure. But be careful. You need friends who will encourage you to seek God and love your spouse rather than seduce you into sin. We become like those we spend time with.

I’ve counseled hundreds of couples, and I’ve learned there is no perfect mate or marriage. However, as we speak the truth to one another, pray for each other, and surround ourselves with righteous people, we give God a strong foundation on which to build a pure marriage.

A marriage marked by purity is one in which love and intimacy find their deepest and most beautiful expression. Is there anything impure in your marriage? If so, take the steps now to return to God’s plan.

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