Essential Priorities for a Strong Marriage

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While writing the article on the Foundations of a Godly Marriage, I realized many marriages suffer because of skewed priorities.

Most, if not all, marriages dissolve because either one or both parties don’t have their priorities straight. And Christians are no exception.

The article “Is the divorce rate among Christians truly the same as among non-Christians?” references a recent independent study that revealed that roughly 30% of practicing Christians end up in divorce. While that’s less than non-believers or Christian-by-affiliation-not-practice (roughly 50%), it’s still much greater than it should be.

The website,, provides the “19 Most Common Reasons” for divorce. Almost all of them could be fixed if their priorities were correct.

From the article, the five most common reasons are:

  • Conflict/Arguing
  • Lack of Commitment
  • Infidelity
  • Lack of Intimacy
  • Communication

As we’ll discuss, all of them are preventable when our priorities are correct. Let’s address each one from a biblical perspective.


The first cause of divorce is because of conflicts and arguments. Of course, there will be disagreements whenever you put two or more people together. That’s because we all have differing opinions.

Related article: How to Disagree without Arguing.

But a disagreement doesn’t have to turn into an argument or fight. Too often, the “me first” mentality prevents each party from hearing the other person’s side.

Some people are constantly looking for an argument or a fight. They feel a certain rush and seek out that pleasure. These individuals aren’t meant to be in a relationship with others. At least not until they fix themselves.

For the rest of us, we must remember the relationship is composed of two people. Your opinion might be different than your spouse’s. And that’s okay.  

When opinions differ, it’s important to discuss how to resolve the differences in a peaceful process. It starts with open dialogue free from insults, tempers, and pride.

Remind yourself of why you married your wife in the first place. And remember that she chose you as much as you chose her.

At no point am I saying to compromise your principles. Rather, approach the discussion using a biblical view, not a worldly one.

If you feel that you’re getting angry, perhaps it’s best to take a few minutes to calm yourself. Some deep breaths will help slow the heart rate and refocus your mind.

It’s often the case that your wife is hurt and needs reassurance that you love her. Make her and her feelings your priority. Drop your pride and need to be right. Love on her and she’ll reward you for it.

Also, learn her love language if you don’t already know it.

Lack of Commitment

Luke’s gospel shows us the commitment Jesus required of His disciples.

How many of us remember when the slogan, “My word is my bond” meant something? Deals were made with a simple handshake. When a person said they would do something, you knew you could count on it without reservation.

Now, because of sin, lawyers are busier than ever. Rather than verbal agreements, contracts are drawn up with legal recourse to make sure both parties hold up their end of the agreement.

Marriage is a legally binding contract between two parties. Do you remember having to sign your marriage certificate? There were even witnesses to the contract. You all signed that contract. That’s why you have to hire lawyers to get out of it.

And yet roughly 50% of all marriages will end in divorce (approximately 30% for practicing Christians).

Which makes me wonder, how much more would it be if they didn’t have to go through lawyers?

My grandparents (both sides) got divorced. My parents got divorced. I even got divorced (this is my second marriage – my wife’s second marriage too).

Having a lack of commitment can convey several different thoughts and emotions. Being non-committal goes beyond fidelity. Some are simply immature and don’t want to be accountable.

Most Baby Boomer generation had a hard-working, fully committed mentality. And many raised their kids in the same way. However, that perspective has been brushed aside.

As Gen Xers, I believe we’ve collectively raised our kids in a way to make their childhood easier than ours were. But are there drawbacks to that? I think there are. We didn’t start the change we just increased the descent.

Do you hold your kids to the same or a higher standard than you were held to? If you’re being honest, most likely your answer is no.

Perhaps our parents started it, but we must take accountability for our actions. We’ve unintentionally taught the next generation that commitment is not a big deal.

When we choose to leave the marriage, it’s like saying commitment is not a big deal.

We don’t take our wedding vows seriously. Perhaps it should be changed from “until death do us part” to “until we choose otherwise.” At least then it would be reflective of reality.

Choose to be committed to your wife and your marriage. Not because you signed a legally binding document, but because you chose to love her.

As a Christian, you’re different from the world. You’ve been set apart. And you know the Bible calls out the sanctity of marriage. It even specifies the only legitimate reasons for divorce.

Which takes us to infidelity.


As I mentioned above, going back to my grandparents, my family has gone through divorces. And the reason for each was infidelity.

Just because the Bible allows for divorce because of infidelity, is that truly the best course of action?

Most likely, the marriage didn’t start with infidelity. It was something that progressed over time. Whether it was lack of affection, respect, or some other feeling. A desire to stray is a result of any number of factors.

Nonetheless, the offending parties chose to step outside the bounds of marriage. Had work been done within the confines of it, most likely the infidelity would’ve never happened.

My first marriage ended because my ex-wife had infidelity issues. I tried but we couldn’t make it work. And I’m thankful it didn’t last.

Now I’m married to a wonderful woman. Though, we’ve had our struggles. At one point, I strayed. Nothing physical ever happened, but the thoughts and emotions were still there. Which Jesus says is enough to be guilty of having an affair (Matthew 5:27-28).

My wife could’ve divorced me. After all, I was guilty by God’s standards.

God is the glue that has helped us throughout our 21 years of marriage. It hasn’t been easy. But something worth having is worth fighting for.

And like Jesus showed compassion for the woman who was caught in the act of adultery (John 8:1-11), my wife showed compassion for me. And now we have a thriving marriage, relationship, and sex life.

Speaking of having a sex life, the next reason listed for divorce is a lack of intimacy.

Lack of Intimacy (Physical or Emotional)

As guys, we might think intimacy is another word for sex. I’m here to tell you, that’s only part of it.

Intimacy is really about showing affection for your wife. Did you know that complimenting your wife on how good she looks and smells can light a fire in her lady parts?

You’ve probably heard it said that sex doesn’t begin in the bedroom. Not for most women anyway. Yes, there are the unicorns who are just as into sex as we are. But they’re a minute percentage of the female population.

For the rest of us, we have to work to excite our wives for our version of intimacy.

First, as mentioned above, you should learn her love language. Perhaps physical touch is your love language but not hers. And the more you touch her, thinking she’ll reciprocate the more you upset her.

My wife’s primary love language is “acts of service.”

Yes, I still come up and give her the unexpected hug and kiss. Yes, I hold and kiss her hand. And yes, I’ll sit and watch chick flicks with her. All that is good and well. But her primary motivator is when I do stuff to help her out.

When I do things that speak to her primary love language, I become her betrothed hero.

Perhaps you want more sex in your marriage (don’t we all). Have you ever stopped to ask her what she wants? Maybe she wants you to spend more time with her (in a non-sexual way).

 Did you two used to talk a lot before you got together? How about trying that again? After all, it worked the first time.

Speaking of talking, the next item listed as a top cause for divorce is communication.


Did you know that over 90% of communication is conveyed without words? Periodically, when I upset my wife, she’ll tell me it wasn’t the words I used that upset her. She’d say, “It’s not what you said but how you said it.” Referring to my facial expressions and tone of voice.

In a recent video, I made for my daughter (Fatherly Wisdom For My Graduating Daughter), I explained how communication plays a crucial role in every relationship we have. Romantic or otherwise.

Because nonverbals play such a huge role in our communication, what we don’t say often has a greater impact than what we do.

Remaining silent can still speak volumes.

The following are 15 ways to improve communication between you and your wife, according to

  1. Have fun together.
  2. Always be honest.
  3. Listen without interruption.
  4. Voice your love.
  5. Take time together every day.
  6. Regular sexual activity.
  7. Show appreciation for one another.
  8. Avoid distractions.
  9. Avoid assumptions.
  10. Set aside time for communication.
  11. Use humor.
  12. Practice empathy.
  13. Use “I” statements.
  14. Avoid defensiveness.
  15. Validate feelings.

If 15 seems too many, choose which ones work best for you. I would focus on numbers 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 13, and 14.

Of course, the Bible has much to say on the subject. Here are just a few passages.

The Bible is not short of ways to communicate. Especially when it comes to your wife. Perhaps you could use words like King Solomon.

Just remember, communication is a big part of every relationship. Especially marriage.

This is part of a series I’m working on regarding the Foundations of a Godly Marriage. There will be more to come.

In the meantime, consider reading How to be a Better You.

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