What are qualities that strengthen a marriage?
So many things come to mind, but to be certain, paying attention to your spouse is vital. Simply put, the primary issue that generates distance between a husband and wife is lack of attentiveness.
In Jesus’ parable of the sower, He spoke of a 30-, 60-, and 100- fold return. But what determines the different levels is revealed in Marc 4:24 (Amplified), “And He said to them, Be careful what are you hearing. The measure [of thought and study]you give [to the truth you hear]will be the measure [of virtue and knowledge]that comes back to you – and more [besides]will be given to you who hear.”
In essence, the degree of attention or importance that we place on what we hear (or in this case, our marriage) determines the quantity and quality of the fruit that is produced.
If we have a 30- level marriage but desire a 60- level marriage, we need to step-up the degree of attention we give our relationship to our spouse. (And, not wait for our spouse to make the first move…!)
After deciding to ramp up our marriage, we must be willing to establish a pattern of being more kind and more thoughtful. We must show more respect, more gentleness, apologize more quickly, forgive … well, you get the idea. Doing these things will help any marriage grow.
But implementing these actions won’t produce instant results. To be sure moving from one level to the next will not be possible without doing just a little more on a regular and continual basis.
What are the qualities that weaken a marriage?
Once again, so many things come to mind. But one thing that seems to float to the top is loving as the world loves.
There are two types of love in the world today: worldly love and godly love. If we lack an understanding of either type of love, we could find ourselves loving as the world loves and not even knowing it. Loving as the world loves will not produce the same fruit that loving with a godly love will.
Jesus explained how the world loves in Luke 6:32 (NKJV): “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.”
This verse defines the way the world loves as a reciprocating love. It is a reactive love. The world says that if you love me, I will love you. If you do good to me, I will do good to you.
The quickest way to step down from a 60- to a 30- level marriage is to love as the world loves. Weakened marriages are the result of spouses who are reactive. They only apologize when their spouse utters “I am sorry” first. They only share their heart when their spouse opens up to them. They are only kind when their spouse first exhibits kindness to them. They only offer compliments to their spouse when it benefits them personally.
A marriage that continually loves as the world loves will mirror the world more that the Creator of this world.