- Priority. Your marriage is your number one relationship. Do not let anyone get between you; not your mother, not your friends, not a work partner, not another love interest, not pornography, not an addiction, and not your children. Give time, attention and care to your marriage above all other relationships. Your spouse is your first human loyalty. (Genesis 2:24 & Matthew 19:6)
- Equality. You and your spouse are created equally in the image of God. This means that each of you have the responsibility to contribute fairly to the marriage and that each of you have the right to receive fair benefit from the marriage. So, when you are making decisions about making money, creating budgets, spending money, managing the household, raising children, pursuing career, visiting family for the holidays, taking vacations and pursuing your dreams, make those decisions so that each partner gives and receives fairly. You can divide up how you contribute and how you benefit however you like and however you agree, just make it fair. Otherwise you are not partners, you are political players trying to use each other for your own advantage. (Genesis 1:27)
- Unity. Husbands and wives are one physically and metaphysically, yet they can be divided in purpose. Align yourselves in behavior with your condition of oneness. Agree on the destination and the direction of where you are headed with your lives together. Once or twice a year take a retreat or time out to review the things you have agreed on and make new agreements on how to handle the present challenges of your lives. (Genesis 2:24, Matthew 19:6 & Mark 3:25)
- Trust. All healthy relationships are built on trust. And trust is built on agreement. So it is very important that we make some key agreements in marriage. Our wedding vows are our primary agreement; that we will love, honor, cherish, and support each other and that we will be faithful to one another until death do us part. But we must continue to make clear agreements with each other along the way so that trust continues to grow. When we make mistakes that hurt our spouse or when we commit sins that hurt our spouse we need to apologize or repent and create a plan to prevent that from happening again. That’s how we repair trust. (Genesis 2:25, Poverbs 31:10-12 & Amos 3:3)
Next week I will give you a discussion guide to make the key agreements that you need to make in your marriage. Your agreements will be unique to you and your spouse, but the categories of agreement are the same for everyone. This will guide you to have one of the most important conversations of our lives. And you will be able to use it periodically to refresh your agreements for the new challenges of your lives and to strengthen trust even more.