The Divorce rate in America according to the latest pole is 52%.
Oh, by the way, it is the same whether you follow Jesus or not. But listen to this: if you and your spouse pray together, do devotions together, and go to church together, there is only 1 divorce out of about 1500.
I know that got your attention but before you start beating your chest, only 4% of Christian couples say they actually prayed together. Rick Roepke from Christian Family Institutes said we men have to be INTENTIONAL in our effort to build strong marriages.
So what are the characteristics of a strong marriage and family today? Rick gave 6 characteristics:
- Commitment (God blesses actions not intentions)
- Appreciation of each other (when was the last time you told her how much?)
- Communication (say to your wife, “Tell me more” and then just listen)
- Time for each other (time, touch, talk without technology coming in between you)
- Coping Ability (you each have different life dances you come into the relationship with from your family of origin. Meet each other where you are and begin to dance.)
- Spiritual practical living daily with God (before you make a move ask God, “What do you say about _________?”)
Psalm 127:1-2 “Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain. In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat for He grants sleep to those He loves.”
From 30 years of Christian counseling, Rick said, “What we believe causes us to behave and eventually become what we believed.”
Say that several times and think about some things going on in your marriage. If you think your spouse is a gift from God, then that’s what she will become. If you believe you are not the spiritual leader of your family, then guess what, that’s what you won’t become.
Guys, we have to POWER UP!
Rick used this acronym to give us guys some guidelines in how to strengthen our marriages. See how you measure up.
P stands for PRIORITIZE— we have to put the important things first. God first. Marriage/kids/work in that order a distant 2nd.
O stands for OPENNESS— we have to have respectful, vital communication where we use questions like, “What was that like for you?” rather than trying to solve her situation. Most of the time she just wants to vent and for us to just listen.
W stands for WATCH OUR WORDS— we have to have impeccable words, which means without sin. That’s right no lies, no attacks, and for sure don’t have a bad day at work and bring your frustration home and send it in her direction.
E stands for EXPRESS LOVE TO YOUR WIFE THE WAY SHE WANTS IT— We have to find out her love language i.e. touch, service, gifts, affirmation, or quality time. Ask her—— “What do I do that tells you that you are loved? What do I do that tells you that you are not loved?”
R stands for REALIZE YOUR GOD GIVEN ROLE— Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her. That’s one where you don’t give God instructions just report for duty.
U stands for UNDERSTAND OUR NEED TO CONNECT WITH OTHER CHRISTIAN MEN— you cannot do this alone. You need other men to hold you accountable. Ever heard of a FIRE TEAM?
P stands for PUT GOD’S WORD INTO ACTION— our marriages will fail sooner or later, if they are not centered in Christ.
Rick left us with the MARRIAGE BOX. The box is empty to start with. The only thing your spouse can take out is what you put in and the only thing you can take out is what she puts in. You put in love then she will take love out of the box. You put in anger, and then she will take anger out of the box.