Keys to a Godly Marriage

by LTG Robert L. Van Antwerp Jr., USA (Ret.)

"Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain" (Psalm 127:1).

Recently, Paula and I were asked to speak to our Protestant Women of the Chapel (PWOC) group and their husbands on "The Secret of a Godly Marriage." In our preparation we prayed together about what God would have us share. As we were praying, God began speaking to our hearts.

He first countered our thoughts that we weren't worthy to speak on this subject. Having just returned from a ski retreat in Vermont with the Coast Guard OCFers, God brought to mind one of the wonders of His creation--mountains. We saw married couples on the mountainside--at all different levels.

Those near the base looked at those above, asking what the view looked like from there. The ones a little higher said, "You've got to see the view from here." We were on a journey up the mountain and we needed to share our view with those below and look up to those with a better view.

Next, God impressed upon us the four "keys" to unlocking the "profound mystery" of marriage:

1. A godly marriage must be built on the One Foundation. "For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ" (1 Corinthians 3:11). Our marriage has to be a place where Jesus is not only Savior, but Lord. It takes two, a man and a woman, deeply committed to Christ and to each other to lay the foundation.

For the "unequally yoked," you can still be a godly wife or husband regardless of your partner. I was won over without words by the purity and reverent behavior of my wife (see 1 Peter 3:1-2).

2. A godly marriage must be built according to God's blueprint (Ephesians 5:21-32).  A godly marriage does not exist for its own benefit, for the pleasure of the husband and wife, but to bring glory and honor to God. Your marriage is to represent the union between Christ and the Church--the greatest love story ever told.

Marriage is a relationship but also an office and a status. Wives get to show a picture of the church's submissive relationship to Christ and husbands get to show Christ's love and sacrifice for the church.

3. A godly marriage must be devoted to unity and oneness (Genesis 2:24, John 17:20-23). When you are devoted, your time with God and each other is the best you have to give, a place where you can pray, cry, discuss and listen to each other.

Devoted to oneness means spending quality AND quantity time in a place where your relationship can go deeper.

4. A godly marriage must glorify God as His bride (Revelation 19:7, John 14:1-7). Revelation 19 says, "...For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready." We are in the betrothal period in the history of the church. Jesus, our groom, has gone to prepare a place for us and will come back to get us.

This is our time to prepare for the wedding of all weddings. We should look forward to that day. This is a time to renew our commitment to righteousness, a time to let His light shine through us. "I, thee sinner, take thee Jesus, to be my beloved husband."

May God be glorified in your marriage!