There are two primary issues to understand about marriage, namely, what it is and how to maintain it. As to what it is, the general meaning is that marriage is a legally recognized union between a man and woman that makes them husband and wife. Specific social and spiritual groups may have their own definitions with emphases on their mission values. Christians for example, commonly hold that from the beginning God’s ideal for marriage has been that one man and one woman live together independent of parents, in a lifelong union (Genesis 2:18-24; Matthew 19:4-6). 1
The mode of creating the union depends on different cultures and customs. But the objectives of marriage are almost universal: Mutual love consummated by sexual enjoyment between the partners, special companionship with mutual support, child bearing, etc. However, whatever the traditions or procedures, marriage is more than a social custom or a legal arrangement. It is also more than a sexual relationship. It is an unselfish giving of each partner to the other in a union that excludes all others. God intends people to have and to enjoy sexual relations, but only as part of a total relationship where a man and a woman commit themselves to each other for life (Matthew 19: 5-6; Hebrews 13:4) 2
Plan to Succeed
The best strategy for any kind of success is to aim at it. Anyone who wishes to succeed in marriage should have that aim right from the beginning and should nurture it on a constant basis and should even be ready to pay some cost in terms of understanding, patience and endurance. This is very crucial for overcoming the eventual and inevitable disappointments which are present in any human institution, let alone marriage.
Extra-Ordinary Marital Love
For success of a marriage relationship each partner needs to develop their love to a quality that is unchallengeable and which is capable of surviving disappointments. Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians hinted on this kind of love:
Love is patient and kind; it is not jealous or conceited or proud; love is not ill-mannered or selfish or irritable; love does not keep a record of wrongs; love is not happy with evil, but is happy with the truth. Love never gives up; and its faith, hope, and patience never fail (1 Corinthians 13:4-7, GNB).
That is the kind of love that will tolerate each other’s weaknesses and give support to each other for betterment. That is the kind of love that will rejoice in each other’s strengths and support those strengths to grow sustainably.
Communication is vital for a happy marriage as is explained in a biblicalcounselinginsights article:
Communication means to overcome the desire to conceal feelings and thoughts and rise to the level of talking about money, fears, wishes, motivations, sexual feelings and responses, mistakes made, resentments, and misunderstandings with the intent to resolve them.3
A successful marriage is one in which the partners love one another so much that they have come to learn one another, to understand one another and can live together in harmony in a lasting union which marriage is meant to be. Such a marriage is not without great blessings.
1 Don Fleming, Bridge Bible Directory, Brisbane: Ridgeway Publications, 1990, pg 279
2 Ibid, 280