People are always interested in relationships—how to have them and how to maintain them—and it seems this is especially true in the area of marriage. What makes a marriage work? Is there a special secret, or is it a hit-and-miss proposition? Kenneth and Lynette Hagin share nuggets of wisdom gained from 53 years of wedded bliss on how to navigate marriage successfully.
Pursue Each Other
Kenneth: Perfect marriages don’t exist because people aren’t perfect. However, you can have a good marriage. Your marriage can and should be better after 50 years than it was on the first day.
Lynette: We have been married for 53 years, and we are more in love today than we were on our wedding day. Unfortunately, what often happens is after a couple says, “I do,” their marriage begins to deteriorate because they stop pursuing each other. They might think, “I’ve caught her. I’ve caught him. Now I can relax and be who I want to be.”
Kenneth: Once the romance stops, they begin taking each other for granted. It’s important to continue courting your spouse throughout your marriage. Always put your best foot forward. Appreciation for your husband or wife should be the same as it was in the early stages of your relationship.
Lynette: Show affection. Ken and I like to hold hands when we’re out. Touch is essential. To keep the flame burning, you have to keep the romance alive.
Support Your Spouse
Lynette: Supporting your spouse is vital. For instance, I’m not into sports, but Ken is. I knew how important it was to him before we were married, and I went to his games. Conversely, he supported the activities I enjoy. Marriage is give and take.
Kenneth: When she wants to see a chick flick, I watch it with her. Conflict can start when one or both spouses are unwilling to compromise. That’s why getting to know each other before getting married is crucial.
Make God the Center
Lynette: God must be the absolute center of your life and marriage. If He is not, your carnal side will rear its ugly head, and it won’t be good! Sometimes people leave the Christian part of themselves at church. But God is with you all the time. He’s always watching. Your actions at home toward your spouse—including how you speak to each other—should line up with the image you present in public.
Being able to receive what your spouse has to say and honestly admitting you need to change, shows you’re on the way to having a great marriage relationship!
Kenneth: Genesis 2:24 (NLT) says, “This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.” Becoming one is more than a sexual union. You learn to become one in your agreements, emotions, thoughts, and purpose.
Lynette: Over time, couples begin to think the same way. On several occasions, I have said something, and Ken said, “I was just about to say that to you,” or “That’s exactly what I was thinking!”
Kenneth: Becoming one doesn’t mean eradicating your personality. It means you are flexible. You honor and respect each other and appreciate your spouse’s abilities and talents. You both have strengths and weaknesses. Where I’m strong, Lynette encourages me to take charge. Where she’s strong, I back off and let her handle that area. Marriage is a partnership.
What a Wife Needs
Lynette: We all know men and women have different needs. It’s your duty to understand your partner’s needs and desires. Men, most women like gentleness. They want you to be considerate of their needs. They want you to be strong and protective. Women want to be respected, appreciated, and loved.
The passage of scripture in Ephesians 5:22–33 tells husbands to love their wives four different times! When a man loves his wife, it is easy for her to love him. Submission is easy for the woman whose husband honors and treats her properly.
Your wife wants to be your special sweetheart. Sometimes she just needs a hug and consolation rather than you trying to fix her problem.
Romance and affection are also important to women. She needs to hear you say tender things such as, “I love you,” “You’re the most beautiful woman in the world,” and “I’m so fortunate to have you.”
What a Husband Needs
Kenneth: Wives, your husband needs to know you are 100 percent behind him. Let him know that despite his faults and weaknesses, you’re confident in him. Men tend to be competitive. It’s important for wives to respect their husband’s ability and authority because his manhood is challenged continually.
Lift your husband up when you see he needs to be recharged. Reaffirm, encourage, and help him. Men don’t like to be lectured. Your husband wants a wife, not a second mother. Last but not least, sexual intimacy is very important to men. It’s a must.
Ladies, try to look your best for your husband all the time. Men, take care of yourself for your wife. Sometimes when we’re on vacation, I’ll ask Lynette if it’s okay if I go a day without shaving. But if she would rather I shave, then that’s what I do.
Grow Your Relationship
Lynette: If you have children, make sure they don’t consume your entire life. Be careful not to focus your relationship around their activities and your communication to always be about them. The time will quickly come when they leave home, and it is just the two of you. You will feel as though you are living with a stranger if you have neglected to grow your relationship over the years. Get a babysitter and go out on dates regularly. Intentionally set aside time to spend with each other. Keep the spice in your life!
Kenneth: And don’t forget to laugh!
Communication: The Heart of Marriage
Open and loving communication is the key to a healthy marriage. Successful marriages are ones in which the couple can speak truthfully to each other without either one becoming offended. That means in certain situations, you can say, “My spouse is right, and I am wrong.” Being able to receive what your spouse has to say and honestly admitting you need to change, shows you’re on the way to having a great marriage relationship!
Kenneth and Lynette Hagin
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