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Anyone who’s been married for a while knows that difficult times strain your marriage. But we often fail to account for the risks that arise in easy times. Why? Because, during times of calm, there’s a subtle danger of complacency setting in, allowing the relationship to drift on autopilot.

 

Contrary to the romanticized notion of smooth sailing, such phases come with their own dangers. The comfort of easy times can lull couples into a false sense of security, blinding them to the need for ongoing intentionality and focus.

 

Regardless of your place in the marriage journey—be it five or fifty years—you are actively building enduring love, a commitment made on a daily basis. Echoing the rhythm of our faith journeys, in the same way, creating an enduring marriage is a marathon, not a sprint—demanding persistence, dedication, and a commitment to growth. 

 

Philippians 3:13-14 (TLB) encapsulates this ethos, urging couples to press forward, leaving behind the past and reaching toward the goal.

5 Keys to Building Lifelong Love

 

There are many ways we can strengthen our marriages, and we have covered several

of them in our previous lessons. However, if we were asked to choose the most important

ones, here are the “Top Five” we believe are essential to a lifelong, thriving marriage:

 

  1. Pray

 

Praying Together is perhaps the most important of all the daily routines that can bring couples closer and fortify their marriage. “Prayer” was the topic of our very first marriage lesson for a reason. Unfortunately, when many of us think about praying, it often gets left on the mental to-do list rather than becoming a real habit. 

 

Research tells us that couples prioritizing daily prayer have a divorce rate of less than one percent. Compare that to the overall divorce rate in the U.S., which hovers around 50%, and you realize that putting prayer at the top of your relationship checklist is imperative. Couples who pray together really do stay together. That’s why, for us, prayer takes the top spot on the list of relationship essentials. Matthew 18:20 (NIV) says, “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”

 

2. Forgive

 

Inevitably, every marital journey encounters conflict and hurt. The question is not IF it will happen but WHEN. When we hold onto grudges and don’t forgive, we carry that unresolved hurt with us, shaping how we respond. 

 

“Forgiveness is surrendering the right to retaliate against someone who has hurt you.”

~ Dr. Les Parrott

 

Over time, these hurts build walls between us and our spouses. On the flip side, when we choose to forgive, we can start fresh. It’s crucial to recognize that forgiveness is a process; some hurts may take longer to heal, and sometimes we might need outside help. The key is making the conscious decision to forgive and initiating an open and honest conversation. 

 

“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” (Colossians 3:13 NIV)

 

3. Love

 

The command to do everything in love (1 Corinthians 16:14) becomes the guiding principle for daily interactions. A holistic love encompasses words, actions, and selflessness, necessitating the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. John 15:12 (NLT) says, “This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you.”

 

Love doesn’t always come easily or naturally. Sometimes, we have to ask for it. As part of your daily prayer, ask the Holy Spirit to empower you to do everything for one another in love. It’s crucial to express love by speaking your spouse’s love language and demonstrating love and respect—topics we previously covered in recent lessons. Now, it’s time to put these principles into practice and actively love your spouse.

 

4. Endure

 

Endurance, often overlooked in a society that values instant gratification, becomes a pillar for lasting marriages. The commitment to face challenges together provides a sense of security and stability. Galatians 6:9 (NIV) encourages couples not to grow weary: “And let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

 

5. Dream

 

While initial dreams may dim in the face of the routine of daily life, dreaming together remains pivotal. 

 

Dreaming together

 

  • Strengthens commitment
  • Nurtures partnership
  • Creates intimacy
  • Guides intentional living
  • Inspires romance
  • Reawakens passion

This lesson was taken from DREAMarriage, a marriage ministry of Dream City Church. One of the goals of DREAMarriage ministry is to support and equip Christian couples to build a love that lasts a lifetime. For more information or to attend weekly discipleship marriage classes, please visit our website at Dream City Church.

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