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If I Only Knew.......

If I Only Knew.... 20 Rules and Tools For a Great MarriageOn Friday July 2, 2004, the day before I married the love of my life, Tiffany, my mother handed me a book written by Dr. Steve Stephens entitled “20 Rules and Tools for a Great Marriage.” Being a young man in love, and feeling that love alone would conquer all in my upcoming marriage, I politely accepted the book and on my bookshelf it went for a few years. One day, around 5 years into my marriage, as I was looking on the book shelf for another book, the book that my mother gave to my wife and me appeared. I made a decision to read the book being that Tiffany and I had joined the “Couples Who Care,” bible study class and we were always looking for tools to build a strong marriage. Once I began reading the book I chuckled to myself as I thought, I could have avoided some of the issues that popped up in our marriage had I read this book when my mother first gave it to me. Each of the 20 tools has its own chapter that goes into more depth about how it can be practiced on a daily basis. I want to share with you each rule and the bible verse that Dr. Stephens placed with the rule: Rule 1 – Make Your Spouse a Priority - So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband… (Ephesians 5:33) Rule 2 – Accept Differences - So accept each other just as Christ has accepted you; then God will be glorified. (Romans 15:7) Rule 3 – Listen Carefully - My dear brothers and sisters, be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. (James 1:19) Rule 4 – Compliment Daily - So encourage each other and build each other up. (Thessalonians 5:11) Rule 5 – Work Together As A Team – Work hard and cheerfully at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. (Colossian 3:23)         Rule 6 – Mind Your Manners – Love is patient and kind.  Love is not……rude. (1 Corinthians 13:4-5) Rule 7 – Watch Less TV – Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. (Philippians 4:8) Rule 8 – Find Time For Fun – There is a time for everything, a season for every activity under heaven….A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance. (Ecclesiastes 3:1,4) Rule 9 – Do The Little Things – Do for others what you would like them to do for you. (Matthew 7:12) Rule 10 – Celebrate The “Top Five” (Christmas, Valentines Day, Your Wedding Anniversary, Your Spouse’s Birthday, Mother’s/Father’s Day) – Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. (Romans 12:10) Rule 11 – Think Positive – No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:18) Rule 12 – Fight Fair – Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. (Romans 12:17) Rule 13 – Forgive – You must make allowance for each other’s faults and forgive the person who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. (Colossians 3:13) Rule 14 – Welcome Each Other Home – Greet each other in Christian love. (1 Peter 5:14) Rule 15 – Go To Bed At The Same Time – And on a cold night, two under the same blanket can gain warmth from each other. But how can one be warm alone? (Ecclesiastes 4:11) Rule 16 – Develop Mutual Friends – A friend is always loyal. (Proverbs 17:17) Rule 17 – Take A Date – “Yes, compared to other women, my beloved is like a lily among thorns.” “And compared to other youths my lover is like the finest apple tree in the orchard. I am seated in his delightful shade, and his fruit is delicious to eat. He brings me to the banquet hall, so everyone can see how much he loves me.” (Song of Songs 2:2-4) Rule 18 – Make Love - The husband should not deprive his wife of sexual intimacy, which is her right as a married woman, nor should the wife deprive her husband. (1 Corinthians 7:3) Rule 19 – Pray For Your Spouse – Pray at all times and on every occasion in the power of the Holy Spirit. (Ephesians 6:18) Rule 20 – Treasure Your Spouse – Place me like a seal over your heart…. Love flashes like fire, the brightest kind of flame. Many waters cannot quench love, neither can rivers drown it. If a man tried to buy love with everything he owned, his offer would be utterly despised. (Song of Songs 8:6-7) Take the time to apply these rules on a daily basis and watch what God can do in your marriage. Trennis Harvey



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