Before I met my wife, I did not know how a marriage should look. I did not know what marriage was suppose to be based on. Was it suppose to be based on looks, sex, compatibility, standards, beliefs, money? This caused me to study the Word of God and block out what the world was teaching about marriage.
I was given a book while we went through premarital counseling that radically transformed my perspective on marriage. In the book When Sinners Say I Do: Discovering the Power of the Gospel for Marriage by Dave Harvey, he biblically examines and explains how getting married is hard work, but with God's Word marriage is delightful, with glorious benefits. The book mentions three principles that I have never forgotten, and actually utilize when I counsel couples at church. If someone desires to have a godly and successful marriage, these three principles are a must. Harvey says when two people get married, they need the gospel even more (sinner + sinner = double the amount of opportunities to sin). Below are the three principles to help couples discover the power of the gospel for their marriage.
1. The foundation in a marriage is the Word of God (because it is the authority)
2. The fountain of the marriage is the gospel (because it constantly brings renewal and reconciliation)
3. The focus of marriage is the glory of God (because it is a couple's purpose in the world)
After reading this book several years ago, I cannot agree more with these principles (as I have applied them to my marriage, and still continue to do!). For anyone who is married, these principles are for you. First, the most important principle is to base your marriage off of is the Word of God. Couples who submit to the authority of Scripture find themselves worshiping and living in unity and holy matrimony. Second, it is important to make the gospel the refreshing spring that waters your relationship with love and mercy towards one another. Couples who constantly express forgiveness, compassion, grace and mercy to their spouses as Jesus displayed to his church, they will experience great renewal and guilty-free living with one another. Lastly, it is important to do everything in your relationship for the glory of God. Couples who make it their aim to bring God glory through their marriage will find everlasting satisfaction because anything that glorifies the Lord is always for our greatest good.
"This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband." (Ephesians 5:32-33 ESV)