Marriage is one of God’s greatest gifts to humankind. But also, quite possibly, the most challenging relationship we will face on this side of heaven. Whether you’re newlyweds or 30 years in, marriage requires intentionality, commitment, and dedication for it to flourish and be the refuge God intended it to be. When our marriages are strong and healthy, that’s exactly what it is—a refuge of peace in your heart and home. After 25 years of marriage, I’ve discovered the importance of guarding my marriage from the things that might destroy it by intentionally cultivating peace in our home. Here are three ways you can do the same for your marriage.
1. Identify the Pitfalls to Cultivating Peace. “Catch the foxes for us, the little foxes that spoil the vineyards, for our vineyards are in blossom.” Song of Solomon 2:15 It doesn’t take much to trip us up in the peace we long for in our homes. Whether we are faced with stress from illness or a job, hurt feelings or pressures from parents and in-laws or any other disappointment or discouragement, many times we forget to be aware that these pitfalls can happen often. They can take the form of missed expectations, parenting struggles and financial stress. Pitfalls are rarely singular events! Many times, they run in tandem and can be overwhelming. Guard your heart and home by being forewarned about these pitfalls.
2. Understand the root of the struggle for peace. Ultimately the answer to why cultivating peace in our homes is so difficult is found in the Garden of Eden. Because of the sin that entered the world, there is no longer perfection to be found on this earth. In a perfect world, we wouldn’t burn the bread, yell at the kids or be angry at our husbands. But the world we live in is fallen and we are too. Jesus even told us in John 16:33, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” Be aware of your own failure to be truthful and honest – this sinfulness will harm your relationship with each other.
3. Prepare to Battle to Cultivate Peace in Your Heart and Home. Rather than being blindsided by the challenges of marriage, instead we can be armed with the knowledge that we must prepare now to deal with the trials that come later. When we prioritize our time with God in His word and in prayer, He will be the one to do the work in our marriage to bring Him glory. Don’t neglect this power – the same power that brought Jesus back from the grave is the same power that can bring life and wholeness to your marriage today!
I pray you’ll be encouraged to be on guard! Prioritize your marriage and do your part to cultivate the peace you crave in your heart and home. Explore this topic more in my new book that is available now, Guard Your Heart and Home: Pursuing Peace in Your Living Space.