Do you need a peace-keeping force in your house to create a peaceful marriage? You know, those military police groups that go into areas of the world that are on the brink of war to try and avoid that escalation?
I doubt the UN is going to send people in to help you create an atmosphere of peace in your home. You’re going to have to do it yourself.
Being the peacekeeper isn’t easy. It’s not just keeping your mouth closed in fear of saying something that will set your spouse off. It takes strength and determination to have a peaceful marriage. You have to have a plan and work at it regularly.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Matthew 5:9
The Only Perfect Marriage
God created marriage in the paradise of the Garden of Eden. It was a perfectly peaceful place where Adam and Eve had perfect communion with God. Their marriage was not affected by sin of any kind.
One characteristic of the Garden that stands out is that there was perfect peace. Adam and Eve’s marriage had complete peace while they lived there, but once they left, the challenge of a peaceful marriage fell squarely on their shoulders.
So, in today’s world, we don’t have the perfect environment for our marriages. We live in a fallen world where we are all sinners. No one is perfect. And when we struggle against evil, we can make big mistakes that cause strife in our relationships.
You can have a peaceful marriage. No, it won’t be like it was in the Garden for the first couple, but even during quarantine, you can create something close.
Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. Psalm 34:14
What can you do to have a peaceful marriage? Today, we’re sharing seven steps you and your spouse can take to “seek peace and pursue it” in your marriage.
Have a tender heart
The most common problem in ill-fated marriages is contempt.
Contempt is “The feeling or attitude of regarding someone or something as inferior, base, or worthless; scorn.” You can also explain it as “The state of being despised or dishonored.”
Contempt comes from the heart. It demonstrates your hard-heartedness and causes you to show disgust, scorn, and disdain for your spouse. This attitude will destroy your marriage if something isn’t done. It is not an acceptable way for either spouse to behave, and it ruins your chances of a successful marriage.
But a “tender heart” is the opposite of such feelings. Contempt makes you mean and angry, but a softened heart creates a genuine kindness and affection for your spouse.
So, first, pray for a soft heart. God can make your heart fully new and change the way you feel about your spouse.
Then, take a look at the way you talk to your spouse. Would you speak to yourself that way? Would you want them to use those words when talking to you? Pay attention to your tone and your body language during stressful conversations.
Commit to change your behavior before you expect your spouse to do so.
And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. Ezekiel 36:26
Research shows that kindness is the primary trait that both men and women are looking for in their spouse.
According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, the word kind comes from the same original root word as the word “kin,” someone who is a part of the same family.
The closest member of your family is your spouse because of your One-flesh relationship. They are a part of you. So, when you are kind to your spouse, you are treating him as more than just part of your family. You treat them as “bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh” (Genesis 2:23).
Show kindness in your marriage through affection, generosity, consideration of the other, and comforting words. It’s how you peacefully live side by side every day. It helps to create a mindset where you live by the thought, “I’m in this with my spouse forever, and I am happy about it.”
What can you do to be kind to your spouse? Increase the number of positive interactions you have during the day. It takes five positive interactions to make up for one negative connection. Be thankful for everything they do for you.
Create a positive interaction at four points each day. Do something kind first thing in the morning, when you say goodbye, when you meet again after work, and at the end of the day before bed. This will help you build up your bank of positive interactions.
A man who is kind benefits himself, but a cruel man hurts himself. Proverbs 11:17
What is the most critical skill for a successful marriage?
Forgive your spouse for being lazy and not mowing the grass that day. Forgive them for losing their temper and shouting at you over nothing. Forgive them for being distracted and not listening to you when you spoke.
Yes, forgive them quickly, forgive them often, and forgive them completely.
Forgiveness doesn’t mean you accept the behavior as a regular part of life. It’s, instead, a conscious decision to release your feelings of resentment. It gives you a tool to process the anger and move on.
Forgiving them is not just for them; it is for you too. Forgiveness gives you peace. And even though it can be difficult, the ability to forgive is crucial for marriage success, especially in the times we are facing now.
Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Colossians 3:13
Ruth Bell Graham once said, “A good marriage only exists when you have two good forgivers.”
If you want a peaceful marriage, you have to be willing to apologize.
When you apologize, you accept that what you did was wrong. You take responsibility for those actions, and you demonstrate that acceptance to your spouse.
Sometimes it may take a while for your spouse to digest the apology fully. Don’t push them. Give them time to work through it. But in the meantime, be patient and keep the lines of communication open.
Don’t let things drag out; apologize as soon as possible.
If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Romans 12:18
Let Go of the Past
Are you holding onto the past? Is there something that your spouse did that hurt you, and you just cannot seem to let it go and move on?
Remember that holding on to the hurt, betrayal, anger, and disappointment wastes your time and ends up making you resent your spouse even more. Holding a grudge only ends up making you bitter.
If you find you’re having trouble letting go of your spouse’s past mistakes, let yourself recognize your feelings for a moment, then bring yourself back. Try using a cue like saying to yourself, “It’s okay. That was in the past, and now I’m focused on restoring my marriage. Thinking like this can help retrain your brain so that you create an automatic positive response to the memory, rather than angry, hurtful responses.
Set aside time to work on it
No one is born knowing how to be married.
Marriage takes hard work to keep a marriage running smoothly. No matter how easy some people make it look, there are times in their marriages where they have taken the time to really work at it.
There’s a lot of forgiveness needed and energy expended to create a happy marriage.
It’s also true that no matter how bad your marriage looks, it can be restored. It’s not easy, but it can be done if you are both willing to put in the time and effort. Even the complete dedication to improving the marriage by only one spouse at the beginning can make all the difference.
The process can be painful, but the results will be worth the effort. God will be glorified, and you can end up with a great marriage.
Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established. Proverbs 16:3
If you can’t seem to achieve peace on your own, it’s a wise thing to ask for help. A friend, pastor, mentor, or counselor can help you figure out your next steps toward creating a peaceful marriage. Encourage your spouse to get on board. Then work together with that outside mentor to design a plan that will work for you.
We believe in the Biblical command to renew your mind, and we use science to help you do just that.
Our coaching programs train your brain to respond to issues in your marriage with positive biblical responses. You can literally change your brain and make it think differently. Check out our programs on our services page.