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Strong marriages based on six spiritual ingredients

Philippians 2:2 says, "Live together in harmony and love, as though you only had one mind and spirit between you."

A lot of our relationships are in disharmony, conflict and disappointment.

A lot of people will say, "I feel cheated by my marriage. I feel cheated by relationships."

What has happened to marriages?

Good marriages don't just happen.

It takes energy and effort to make a marriage work.

Ephesians 4 says, "Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit." There are six key ingredients of a satisfying marriage.

First is communication.

Proverbs 13:17 says,

"Reliable communication permits progress."

For progress to take place in your marriage, you've got to talk to each other.

Sometimes in your marriage, communication is difficult.

It is a skill you must learn.

The major reason for communication problems is you expect your mate to think like you do.

Second is consideration.

Consideration means paying attention to what people say, paying attention to what people feel, not invalidating feelings and saying, "You shouldn't feel that way!"

It means showing common courtesy, treating people with respect, helping them any way you can.

Ephesians 4:2 says, "Show your love by being helpful to each other."

Third is compromise.

First Corinthians 13:5 says,

"Love does not demand its own way."

That is a mark of genuine love.

It's unselfish.

When two people agree on everything, one of them isn't necessary.

When you eat, you eat with a knife and a fork not two forks or two knives.

God doesn't need two of you. The greater your differences are in a marriage, the greater your potential for spiritual growth and spiritual greatness.

Fourth is courtship.

Courtship consists of romance, physical affection, fun, playfulness, having time to enjoy each other.

God intended for your marriage to be that way.

Proverbs 5:19 "Let your mate's affection fill you at all times with delight."

Part of the problem with romance is that husbands and wives see each other in absolutely the worst part of the day.

It's either when you're getting ready, you're rushed and you're on your way out to work and you're stressed out.

Or you come home at night with nothing else left to give.

And that's the only time you see the most important person in your life.

Fifth is commitment.

The Bible says in Malachi 2:16 God says, "I hate divorce.

Make sure you do not break your promise to be faithful to your mate."

The deterioration of the family is happening because the entire generation of Baby Boomers grew up in the 1960s and 1970s based on the thought, "I've got to do what's best for me."

That's called selfishness.

The more selfish you become, the more self-centered you become, the more bitter you become, and the more unhappy you become.

You have to do what God says is best for you.

When you do that, that's what is going to be what is best for you.

Finally, Christ is what you need to give you the power to do these things.

Jesus Christ gives you the power and ability to do the things when human love wears out.

The Bible says this in Philippians 2 "Your attitude toward each other should be the same as that of Jesus Christ."

Jesus Christ - not somebody else - but the attitude of Christ.

When Christ is in me and Christ is in my wife, Jesus isn't going to argue with Jesus.

Ironton native Dean Rase is interim pastor at Central Christian Church. This article is part of a six-part series of sermons on home improvement. To reach Rase, call (740) 532-2930.