Yes, It Can Get Better!
by: Saleama A. Ruvalcaba, MATS
Our world is crazy today, November 27, 2020. Despite the craziness – people still need hope in their marriage. I had a very bad marriage at one time. Today, I have been married almost 19 years and through the power of prayer and obedience to God, we now have a great marriage!
Me and Omar have a great marriage. We don’t have a perfect marriage but we have a great marriage. As flawed human beings, who will never be perfect, having a perfect marriage is an impossible goal to attain. However, it is very possible to have a great marriage.
Having a great marriage does not mean couples are walking around all day in bliss heaven singing happy songs to each other. Having a great marriage does not mean couples never face difficulties. It doesn’t mean they never argue.
In my opinion having a great marriage means to have love, honor, and respect for each other despite the many obstacles you will face. I believe having a great marriage is to have Jesus Christ at the center of your marriage. When you know Jesus Christ is at the center of your marriage, it’s easier to respectfully disagree. It’s easier to be vulnerable with each other. When you have Jesus Christ at the center of your marriage, you won’t allow outside influences to dictate your marriage such as your precious children, your in-laws, or your friends.
While I was in seminary one of my professors shared a description of his marvelous thirty-year marriage to his wife. I love how he said; “Even in the enormously difficult seasons we’ve had, we still enjoy the spiritual growth in each other through every hard season.”
I thought what he said was so lovely.
One of the ways you can enjoy a great marriage is to continue seeking God even when your marriage is strenuous and even when you’d rather walk away.
There is no perfect answer to having a great marriage, but I can share with you the steps in our life which took our marriage from one extreme (bad) to another extreme (great).
1. Knowing Jesus Christ
Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”
Me and Omar were not believers when we were married. We knew nothing about Christianity. During those early years in our marriage, it was tough. We fought all the time. We had no respect for each other. Omar hung out with his friends regularly. I’d be at home and I really didn’t care if he went out. I was actually happy to be alone! We showed no love toward each other. We were simply two people living in house together. Every problem we faced turned into a horrible argument. Our neighbors would leave notes for us to keep our volatile arguments down!
It was embarrassing to walk out of our house.
We made the very bad mistake of sharing our problems with our parents and then allowed their influence to escalate our frustration with each other.
The very first thing we had to do to change our marriage was to ask Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior in our lives. When me and Omar became Christians, in December 2007, we dove in headfirst and never looked back. We started faithfully attending church.
No, we weren’t hit and miss churchgoers, instead fully committed, all in, churchgoers!
We attended Sunday mornings, Sunday evenings (if there was an evening service), Wednesday evening service and every other service. We took fellowship with other believers quite seriously. We started attending Bible studies. We started praying in the mornings and studying our Bibles regularly. Within a year there was a huge difference in us. We stopped using certain language. We stopped watching certain television shows. We stopped listening to certain music. Most importantly, we looked at each other differently. We began to see each other through the eyes of Jesus Christ.
Our marriage did get better…but we still had work to do…
2. The Husband Is The Spiritual Leader
Ephesians 23 “The husband is the head of the wife, just as Christ is the head of the church.”
The next step which enhanced our marriage happened when Omar took his role as our spiritual leader seriously.
One evening during service, the teaching pastor shared how so many people think the church should be the primary teaching component for children to learn about God. No, the home is the primary place children should be learning about God. Same is true for men who are leading their families. Men need to be in a focused relationship with Jesus Christ and seeking His wisdom daily for his family. Omar was going to church faithfully. He attended Bible studies. He read his Bible and prayed. However, it wasn’t with the intent on leading his family. He was simply going through the motions doing rituals he thought he had to do as a new Christian.
He did not have quiet time alone with God each day intentionally seeking His wisdom to lead our family. Our home had a lot of tension at that time. Although our marriage was better we still faced numerous issues and we did not know how to work through those issues. I found myself constantly frustrated.
When Omar finally came to terms as the spiritual leader of our home, our marriage continued to change. The peacefulness I had longed for was finally there. It did not take away the outside problems we were facing, but I learned how to trust Omar’s time in prayer with God for our family.
We still face many issues today. In Exodus 34:23-24 it speaks of men and submission to God:
“Three times a year all your men are to appear before the Sovereign LORD, the God is Israel. I will drive out nations before you and enlarge your territory, and no one will covet your land when you go up three times each year to appear before the LORD your God.
That is how God will respond when men submit to His authority. However, there is also an outcome when men do not submit…
In Dr. Tony Evans book, Kingdom Man, he says, “When a kingdom man functions according to the principles and precepts of the kingdom, there will be order, authority, and provision. Yet when he doesn’t, he opens himself up, and those connected to him, to a life of chaos.”
We had chaos in our home but that chaos slowly went away as Omar allowed himself to submit to God.
3. Physical Intimacy
I am sorry that physical intimacy is such an embarrassing subject to many – including Christians, but physical intimacy within the confines of a biblical marriage is an act of worship to God. Physical intimacy must be a high priority in your marriage. 1 Corinthians 7:3-5 says:
“The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.”
This was an area in my marriage that I simply did not understand or cared to learn more about. Neither of us understood the importance of having a healthy balance of physical intimacy in our marriage. Once we realized it is an act of worship to God, it truly changed the dynamic of our marriage. I can share with you from personal experience that when you do not have loving physical intimacy on a regular basis you will undergo a strain in your marriage.
You will feel a distance.
You will eventually put up a wall.
It is an absolute priority for a healthy godly marriage.
You might wonder how often should couples enjoy physical intimacy. That’s a great question. However, there isn’t one solid answer. According to an article by Focus on the Family, the amount of physical intimacy is different for every couple. A husband and wife must communicate their needs to each other.
Me and Omar have had this conversation.
You need to have the same conversation with your spouse. Once you understand each others needs it is then vital to meet those needs. Once either of you is feeling neglected in your physical intimacy you will invite tension (or I should say, Satan) into your marriage.
And a bonus!
In addition to these three suggestions:
Pray for each other each day. Read your Bible together. Converse about what Scripture is saying to you. Spend alone time with God without your spouse sometimes. I love the fact that me and Omar wake up early every day to pray and study our Bible together, but we also need time alone with God to worship Him.
The Battle is Real | Keep Fighting
No marriage is perfect.
Satan will attack your family.
So stay on guard!
Don’t fool yourself.
You’re not exempt.
Your marriage is not the one marriage Satan will ignore.
If you and your husband are not following Jesus Christ, I would encourage you to ask Jesus Christ to be your Lord and Savior today.
If you and your husband are followers of Jesus Christ, your husband must accept his role as the spiritual leader. Don’t nag him, instead, pray for him regularly to accept his role. It might take a while, but continue to pray for him.
I am not suggesting you remain in a marriage that is unsafe for you and your children. But if your husband is trying to live for Jesus Christ, pray for your husband. He will need encouragement to accept his role in your family. I had to do the same thing for Omar.
Finally, don’t neglect your intimacy. It is a wonderful act of worship to God. You will see a tremendous difference in your marriage when you allow your physical intimacy to be pleasing to God. Remember to communicate your needs with each other.
God cares about you and your husband.
Pray always for Jesus Christ to be the center.
Pray always for God to help you and your spouse have a godly marriage.
The strength of salvation comes from inside the home. Your children, and your grandchildren need strong praying godly examples for the Kingdom of God.
If you seek Him every day – your marriage will get better!
~Saleama A. Ruvalcaba, MATS