Christian Marriage Counseling – Pay Now or Pay Later

Deuteronomy 24:5 “When a man has taken a new wife, he shall not go out to war or be charged with any business; he shall be free at home one year, and bring happiness to his wife whom he has taken”.


Identify and guard your marriage pillars

Marriage (and life) is not just about the feels. But the feels matter. They matter a lot actually. I know I said that making personal fulfillment the sole motivation for marriage is a bad idea, and it is, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t an important component. God’s design for marriage and everything else tends to produce life and joy. Which means our marriages should be happy. In order to live this out, you need to be intentional and identify what good and godly desires you have motivating your marriage choice. And then you guard those desires. You invest in those desires, you nurture and grow them. These desires are your pillars of marriage, they are what makes your marriage happy and feel worthwhile. Maybe you desire your marriage to include shared activities, sexual intimacy, or deep emotional connection.

Whatever the case, take some time to think about what it is about your spouse (or spouse to be) that you love. Why did getting marriage sound like a good idea? What makes you excited to get married to this person? Write these things down and then choose to be intentional about protecting and investing in them. Likewise, learn what your partner desires and appreciates about you, so you can take personal responsibility to guard and grow these things.

We can categorize all of these desires or marriage pillars into two groups – relational and individual. For example, a relational desire would be good sexual chemistry whereas a corresponding individual desire might be appreciation for how attractive your spouse is. Another example might be a relational desire for deep emotional connection or shared activities versus an appreciation for how outdoorsy or emotionally in tune your spouse is.

Regardless of what you come up with, I’m going to suggest a few items that frequently come up as areas that need investment and protection.

Emotional Connection/Personality Attraction

Sexual Fulfillment/Sexual Attraction

Mental Connection/Communication Ability

Spiritual Unity/Faith harmony


For each one of these, I’ll walk though how to:

  • Deliberately Appreciate
  • Learn More Fully
  • Protect
  • Nurture and Support

These are the things you need to do in order to keep your marriage not just alive, but strong and joyful. In a way, these steps are some what self explanatory. Choosing to appreciate your spouse’s good qualities every day is a fairly straight forward proposition. The trickier stuff though, is how to keep and maintain chemistry. How do you generate and develop happiness? That’s the magic you want in your marriage, and it involves more than a thankful for list (though that is good!). It will take work, some change in how we think, priority shifts, sacrifice, boundaries and communication – but it’s worth it.


For now – how can you appreciate what’s on your marriage desire list?

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