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The Battle for Control and Dominance

Dear ….,

In 1998, the famed psychology professor John Gottman released a fascinating study. For six years, he interviewed 130 newly married couples in a project about listening in relationships. He compared them to another group he had been monitoring for 13 years.

The purpose of the study was to gauge the effectiveness of a certain kind of communication, but in the process of researching so many couples he came to an unrelated conclusion: The common element among the most successful couples was shared control of the relationship.

Or as the couples put it, “receiving influence from each other.” The health of your marriage depends on the degree both of you are willing to receive influence from each other. That means control of the marriage is shared. When one spouse dominates a relationship, that dominance creates damage.

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Other research has shown that the most successful families are those in which the husband treats his wife as an equal but takes a leadership role in initiating the well-being of the home. Children who grow up in this kind of home are the most emotionally healthy.

They understand what leadership looks like. They understand what it’s like for someone to take initiative. They also see an example of a mother and father treating each other as equals and sharing input on decisions.

Because women seek security in relationships, this also benefits them. That’s why they want their husband to take the lead on certain issues—with a Christ-like spirit of love and sacrifice. These issues include the family’s spiritual life, discipline of the children, finances and even romance.

But a male- or female-dominated home leads to dysfunction. Some personalities are naturally dominant, and tend to end up in relationships with a more passive spouse. That’s what happened with Karen and me. She was meek and quiet. I had a strong, overbearing personality. I would win every argument.

What do you do if you’re in a dominant marriage? First, you have to be honest with yourself. Don’t sugarcoat your situation. Admit “I’m being dominated.”

Second, you have to stand up. A marriage is like a teeter-totter. Your actions directly impact the person on the other side. That means you don’t have to wait for your spouse to change—you can initiate the change by standing up for yourself. This will change the entire equilibrium of your marriage.

When Karen finally had enough of my dominance and stood up to me, she forced the issue. She lovingly insisted on having a voice. In the process, I recognized my chauvinism and God began to heal me. It forced me to sit down.

Today, I will not make a decision without Karen Evans—period—and our marriage is so much healthier. I still have a dominant personality, but I’ve learned to control it. I’ve learned when to sit down. What about your marriage? Is it equal? Are you “receiving influence” from each other?

Or does one spouse dominate?

Blessings,

The Battle for Control and Dominance

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Discover how to stress-proof your marriage

Discover how to stress-proof your marriage

There’s one thing that will reduce stress in your life—and marriage—more than anything else.

It’s making God’s priorities your priorities.

You see, the secret to reducing stress isn’t having more money, a bigger house or a better car. It’s getting your priorities right and having a strong relationship with God. And here’s why.

God the Father loves you personally and knows you intimately. Matthew 6:33 says when you trust him completely, he will take care of everything else in your life—including your marriage!

If you’re feeling stress in your marriage, then you need to do five things today:

1. Trust God and His promises. Repent of any unbelief you may have toward God’s provision.

2. Prioritize your relationship with God as sacred as you treat worry and fear as sins and enemies.

3. Prioritize your daily relationship with your spouse and children as sacred as you build disciplines and traditions to protect them.

4. Break off unhealthy close relationships with worldly or driven people as you build relationships with committed believers. 

5. Reject the lie that money will make you happy and will provide best for the needs of your family.

I hope you will take the time to make these five items a priority in your marriage today.

Also, I want to ask you to do one more thing.

If you ask me, couples serving in the armed forces endure some of the greatest levels of stress. Extended periods away from each other and the constant threat of being in harm’s way; all of it can take a huge toll on these families. That is why we want to provide as many military couples as possible with free tickets to one of our XO conferences. But to do this we need your help.

Help military families attend an XO Marriage Conference

Your gift today will help military families attend an XO Marriage Conference, giving them strength for their relationship with God and each other.

Tickets for the conference cost $90, and our goal is to give 100 military families the opportunity to attend the conference free of charge. So please give as generously as you are able below!

When you give below, we’ll send you a link to a special message from Jimmy called ‘Stress-Proofing Your Marriage’ to say thanks for your support and to help you experience God’s best for your relationships.

If you are a military couple and are interested in attending one of these events, send an email to ThankYou@marriagetoday.com.

Changed Landlord!

You don’t owe the old landlord anything

October 24

Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.


-ROMANS 6:11

No one names his child Judas. Have you noticed? The name Judas is associated with betrayal…in fact, it is a pejorative term. But I do not believe Judas was Satan incarnate (as some have suggested), or even that he was a man whose intentions were evil from the start. He had the potential to become a committed follower of Christ, but he allowed his fleshly nature to sway his thinking—and ultimately, his actions.

Imagine that you live in an apartment house owned by a mean, spiteful landlord. You’ve been late on the rent, and he has charged you exorbitant interest. You are so far into debt to him that you could not move out if you wanted to. This landlord controls your life, and abuses you because you have no recourse. Then one day, a new landlord comes, announcing that he has bought the building. The slate is wiped clean. All debts are canceled. But still, the old landlord calls, saying, “You owe me. You owe me. Pay up.” Guilt, fear and habit could keep you in bondage to the old landlord…but you wouldn’t have to be. You are under new management. You could ask your old landlord to take up his claims with the new owner. When pressure and fear and disappointment began to hammer Judas, when he was stumbling and debating about what the future might hold, he could have talked to Jesus. He was with Him every day. But he didn’t. He kept listening to the old landlord. When Satan tries to get his hooks in you, you are not doomed to fall. You don’t owe him anything. Tell him you’re under new management. Tell him to take it up with the new landlord.

*************************

Neither do I. Not as a tenant in a apartment, or spiritually as a Christian!

Quote of the Day

           

Today’s Quote

Man was nature’s mistake she neglected to finish him and she has never ceased paying for her mistake.

-Eric Hoffer

What Does the Bible Say about Marriage?

What Does the Bible Say about Marriage?

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Question: 
I have been dating a wonderful man for two years. We are both very serious and involved with our relationship and have spoken about marriage favorable. However, today’s view of marriage seems to teach that marriage is based on your happiness and can be temporary. I’m worried that I’m not prepared for how God wants me to view marriage. What does the Bible say about marriage? 

Answer:
Before we dig into several aspects of marriage, it’s important to start with the Biblical definition of marriage. Marriage was instituted by God in the Garden of Eden at the time of man’s creation as a union between man and woman (Genesis 2:18-24). 

Facts the Bible Tells Us about Marriage:

  1. Marriage is an indissoluble relationship except on the highest grounds (Matthew 19:9).
     
  2. Monogamous relationship between husband and wife as stated in the original law (Matthew 19:51 Corinthians 6:16).
     
  3. Husband and wife are equal before God (Ephesians 5:29-311 Peter 3:7).
     
  4. The relationship is to reflect the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27).
     
  5. Husband is the loving head of relationship and wife is subordinate (1 Corinthians 11:8-91 Timothy 2:13Ephesians 5:21-33Colossians 3:191 Peter 3:1-6).
     
  6. The relationship is fruitful (Genesis 1:28a).

In summary, we can see that marriage is an intimate and complementing union between a man and a woman in which the two become one physically, in the whole of life. The purpose of marriage is to reflect the relationship of the Godhead and to serve him. Although the fall has marred the divine purpose and function of marriage, this definition reflects the God-ordained ideal for marriage from the beginning.
To read more on the Biblical definition of marriage, read our comprehensive, in-depth commentary at: BibleStudyTools.com’s dictionary reference for marriage

love bears all things


Biblical Marriage as a Witness and Example

“By this shall all men know that you are my disciples if you have love one for another” (John 13:35). Marriage is a significant institution by which a lost world can see Christianity in action. Marriage is the most intimate of human relationships in which husbands and wives learn to model Christ’s love. Marriage is the 18-year training ground for children so that they can also love “one another.” Marriage provides a unique opportunity to reflect Him as a couple. Marriage provides a platform for accomplishing God’s intentions for mankind.
Read more at: A Biblical Perspective of Marriage


How is the Bible’s view of marriage different than what the world says? 

 

Lie 1:  “If you’re not compatible, you may have married the wrong person.”

God’s truth says that marriage is a covenant relationship. Once you choose to marry, it’s no longer up for debate as to whether your spouse is the “right one.” Marriage makes them the right one, for it’s a commitment before God. It’s never to be based on shifting feelings, but a choice every day to love the spouse you’ve chosen to marry. In a world that often prefers to “trade in for an updated version,” this truth doesn’t make sense. But according to God’s Word it’s very clear.

“Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” (Mark 10:9)

Lie 2:  “If you’re not happy, don’t stay in an unhappy situation. You deserve more.”

For many of us, marriage can tend to bring our selfishness out like nothing else. We want our way. We insist on our rights. We want our spouse to make us happy, and right now! In the midst of demands, we’ll never be free to truly love and serve one another. Our focus will tend to be one-sided – our side – and what we want. Yet God’s goal for marriage was not just to “make us happy.” The truest picture of marriage is that it symbolizes the love of Christ for us.  And His desire for us all is that we be made more into the image of Himself.

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-5)

Lie 3: Marriage is a 50/50 relationship.” 

Marriage takes two people, fully committed, choosing every day, to love and cherish. 50/50 will never be enough to see you through the toughest times. It’s only half effort and it seeks to compare what we’re doing with the other, always needing to check to see if they’re keeping up with expectations. This isn’t what God intends. His plan is covenant relationship, centered in Christ, loving through Christ; that is what will carry us through both good times and bad. It will take full effort of 100/100 to have a strong relationship which will thrive over time. 

“Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails…” (1 Corinthians 13:7-8)
Read more at: 10 Lies the World Tells You About Marriage

BibleStudyTools.com: This Powerful Video of the Love Chapter Gave Me Chills from biblestudytools on GodTube.


What does the Bible say about sex in marriage?

In this over-sexed and under-loved world, people are looking for the real deal, the secret to lasting love with a vibrant sex life. Because of this pursuit for a purer passion, the most asked question we get when it comes to Red Hot Monogamy is, “What is okay with God?”

First and foremost, sex is for marriage. Ephesians 5:31-32 (quoting Genesis) “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” 1 Thessalonians 4:3–8 reinforces this with the reminder,“It is God’s will that you keep away from sexual sin as a mark of your devotion to him” (1 Thessalonians 4:3, GW).

For married couples, God gives only a few clear commands on what is and isn’t permissible with the gift of sex he created. Instead of a list of “no-no’s” let’s look at his guidelines in the affirmative:  

You can say YES if you:

Yield to one another. Everything done is agreed upon. The goal in intimacy is unity. In Red Hot Monogamy we look at the 8 areas of intimacy and give tools to build intimacy in each area. Colossians 3:1 encourages: And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. If you love, you will want to talk through and agree on expressions in sexuality.  

Extend it in love. No one should ever feel forced or coerced in sex. The sex acts should reflect love, not demean or inflict pain. Sex is a relationship to be protected not a person to exploit. Hebrews 13:4 reminds: Marriage must be respected by all, and the marriage bed kept undefiled.  

Secure it with privacy. Sex should only be you two alone. Your marriage bed is yours and yours alone (no other partners, no pornography, no mommy porn, no fake imitations of body parts). Why settle for anything fake when you can create the real thing live and in person? When it comes to grey areas, things not specifically forbidden, applying 1 Corinthians 6:12 is a smart choice: 

Everything is permissible (allowable and lawful) for me; but not all things are helpful (good for me to do, expedient and profitable when considered with other things). Everything is lawful for me, but I will not become the slave of anything or be brought under its power. 
Read more: Married Sex – What’s OK with God?  


Does the Bible say there is one specific person for us to marry?

There is nothing in Scripture that suggests there is just one person we’re ‘supposed’ to marry. Proverbs 31 urges young men to be guided by a woman’s faith and character in making their choice–there is no mention of second guessing some divine destiny. In 1 Corinthians 7, the apostle Paul tells women (widows, in particular) to seriously consider singleness, but assures them the choice of whether to get married is up to them, and then specifically says women can marry “whomever they wish” as long as their potential husband is ‘in the Lord.’ (v. 39) If the Bible explicitly says, ‘it’s your call whether or not to get married’ (a sentiment Jesus echoes when he says some “choose” to become eunuchs–celibate–in Matthew 19:12, with emphasis on the word “choose”) and it’s entirely your choice as to who to marry, why should your subjective feelings and reasoning override living by the truth of Scripture?

 

There is, quite frankly, nothing in Scripture that ever tells us it is our sworn duty to marry one particular person. Whether we marry, and who we marry, are spoken of in Scripture as part of God’s “permissive will,” something he allows us to choose.
Read more at: No, God Didn’t Tell You To Marry Your Spouse

love and marriage - better things ahead


Quick Reference Bible Verses About Marriage

1 Corinthians 7:1-40 – 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….

 

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 – Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 

Ephesians 5:21-23 – Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church– for we are members of his body.“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery–but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. 

Proverbs 18:22 – He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord.

Hebrews 13:4 –  Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral. 

Genesis 2:22-24 – Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.” That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh. 

Proverbs 21:9 – Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife. 

Matthew 19:2-9 – Large crowds followed him, and he healed them there. Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?” “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” “Why then,” they asked, “did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?” Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.” 

Proverbs 19:14 – Houses and wealth are inherited from parents, but a prudent wife is from the LORD.

Read More Bible Verses About Marriage at BibleStudyTools.com.


Related Articles about Marriage 
40 Powerful Blessings to Pray over Your Marriage
5 Things a Wife Needs (But Doesn’t Know How to Ask For)
7 of the Greatest Needs of a Husband
20 Scriptures to Strengthen Your Marriage
20 Reasons Marriages Fail (Even Christian Marriages)
God’s Three Purposes for Marriage
12 Questions to Ask Before You Get Married


This article is part of our larger Spiritual Life resource meant to answer your questions about the Bible, God and the Christian faith. Visit our most popular questions on “What does the Bible say about…” questions answered by well known Christians and theologians to find more inspiration. Remember that as you read these articles, the Holy Spirit will give you understanding and discernment to make the right decision for your walk with Jesus Christ! If you know others struggling with these faith questions, please share and help others discover the truth on these controversial topics. 

What Does the Bible Say About Drinking Alcohol?
What Does the Bible Say About Gambling?
What Does the Bible Say About Dating?
What Does the Bible Say About Homosexuality?
What Does the Bible Say About Marriage?
What Does the Bible Say About Sex Before Marriage?
What Does the Bible Say About Cremation?
What Does the Bible Say About Suicide?
What Does the Bible Say About Tithing?

 

How to Fall in Love Again

Dear Barbara,

Soul mates are not born. They’re made. That’s a fact that may discourage people who think marriage should be easy, but it’s the truth. God created marriage to succeed. But that success requires us to put energy into it.

In other words, you have to work at marriage.

As an example, let’s talk about emotions. One misconception about marriage is that the emotions will always be there. You’ll always feel “in love.” The truth is that you’ll go through times when the emotions don’t exist. Sometimes emotions change.

When this happens, couples worry that something’s wrong. Maybe they married the wrong person. But emotions come and go, and emotions can be unpredictable. Basing your marriage relationship on a feeling can be a big problem.

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Have you ever noticed that the most beautiful and talented people in the world fall in love, get divorced, fall in love, get divorced, and keep repeating the cycle? That’s because they are basing love on their feelings. When feelings change, they change spouses.

That’s the wrong approach to love and marriage. The Bible says the best kind of love in the world is not love based on emotion, but love based on choice. This is called agape love. It’s the kind of love God has for us.

I don’t always know what my emotions are going to do tomorrow, but I’m always in control of my will. And my decision to love Karen Evans is a decision of my will. Regardless of how I feel or what she does, I’ve made the decision to love her. I choose to do my best to be faithful to her and love her as Jesus would.

That’s a decision that has nothing to do with my circumstance or emotions. That’s agape love—love by choice.

You’ve heard the saying “the grass is always greener on the other side.” I like to add to that saying: When the grass looks greener on the other side, it’s time to water your own yard. (Another version: When the grass looks greener on the other side, it’s because you can’t see the poop from here.)

In other words, everybody and everything looks good from a distance. But once you live with a person for awhile, you begin to see their issues. This is what causes emotions to change—and every couple experiences this at some point. How will you feel about me when the good times end and the good feelings waver?

My best friends are the people who see all the dry, unwatered grass in my life and still love me anyway. The best couples are the ones that push past the hard times and still choose to love one another with God’s agape love.

Karen and I have been together a long time. We’ve seen everything about each other—all the dirt—and we’re still together. That’s what love is.

Blessings,

How to Fall in Love Again

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How to Date and Successfully Marry

Dear Reader,

Your marriage can succeed. Regardless of how much you are struggling or how fearful you may be, you can make it in marriage.

God made marriage. God also made you for marriage, and He never makes anything to fail.

You might say, “Well, Jimmy, then why are so many people failing in their marriages?” It’s because they’re not doing it God’s way.

There are several issues at stake here, but one of the most significant is that people get married and start to depend on their spouse to meet their deepest needs. But we really need to be depending on Jesus to meet those needs.

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All of us long for acceptance. We want someone who will love us regardless of how our weight fluctuates or how bright our teeth are. We want to be accepted without having to perform for it. But unfortunately, people are conditional. We worry that if they knew everything about us, they’d no longer like us.

The love of Jesus is unconditional. It has no strings attached. He says, “I will never leave you. I will never forsake you.” He accepts us without hesitation.

Another need is identity. Sometimes we rely on marriage to tell us who we are. But the Bible says Jesus stitched us together in our mother’s womb. He created us. He knows us to our very core. We discover who we truly are not from a marriage relationship, but from a relationship with Him.

A third basic need is security. We want to feel safe. We want to find someone with whom we can relax and be ourselves and find refuge. A healthy marriage relationship can and should provide this, but again, people will let us down. We’re fallen creatures. We sin. We’ll never find true security in a person.

But we can find that security in God. He can protect us from anything and anyone. His love for us is unshakeable and His salvation is eternal.

Finally, we all long for purpose. Some people live in pursuit of power or love or money or popularity. But at the core of those things is purpose—they are looking for something that will fulfill them.

In Jesus, we find an eternal purpose. When you live for Jesus Christ, you’ll always have a reason to get up the next day. Why? Because your purpose is not tied to yourself. It’s not tied to something that can be lost like money. It’s not tied to something as fleeting as popularity. It’s tied to eternity and the Kingdom of God.

In psychology, the principle of transference describes when a person redirects feelings and desires from one object to another. When we try to find acceptance, identity, security and purpose from a spouse rather than from God, that’s transference. It will always result in disappointment.

Transference ruins marriages because people fail. But God’s love never fails. Only He can meet your deepest needs. And when your find your needs met in Him—when your personal spiritual health improves—your marriage will improve, too.

Blessings,

How to Date and Successfully Marry

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