Love and marriage are wonderful. Actually, they are miracles. But the great miracle is not love at first sight. The great miracle is love after a long, long look. So, how do you keep the "honey" in the honeymoon? How do you keep the excitement, the thrill, there? How do you have the kind of home that God wants you to have? May I give you seven simple words based on 1 Peter 3:1-10?
Faith — Verse five of the text mentioned above discusses the need to trust in God: "For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God..." Ecclesiastes 4:12 puts it this way: "A threefold cord is not quickly broken." The man, the woman, and God make up the threefold cord that binds our homes together. You'll never have a successful home apart from God, and you'll never know God as you ought without faith.
Acceptance — Verse one lays out God's plan for the home: "Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands." The devil has tried to obliterate the differences between the sexes. Under the guise of making men and women equal, he's tried to make them the same. Men and women are equal before God, but equality of worth is not the sameness of function. Each of us must accept our God-given roles. Then, you will experience blessings when you follow God's plan for your home.
Contentment — Verse three reminds us not to get caught up in outward appearances: "Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel." The secret of contentment is to learn that you can get along without almost anything except God and one another. If you have that, you have all you need to be content.
Forgiveness — In verse nine, Peter says, "Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing." Tornados are terrible and earthquakes are horrible, but termites destroy more homes than anything else. Likewise, it's that little spirit of bitterness, that unwillingness to forgive, or that spirit that carries a grudge that will get your home. Sometimes the wife has to practice it and sometimes the husband, but learn to forgive.
Communication — Verse ten says, "For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile." In Proverbs 18:21 we also read, "Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof." You need to learn to communicate. Just as important, you need to plan to communicate. Make time for it. Everyone ought to plan four dates.
• Plan a date with God. — Have a quiet time with Him every day.
• Plan a date with your kids. — Spend time with each child or grandchild personally.
• Plan a date with yourself. — Get alone, pray, or just meditate.
• Plan a date with your spouse. — Get out of the house and just love one another.
Romance — In verse seven dwell means to "live together" or "share," and it speaks of romance. "Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life" Never let the physical part of your marriage grow cold. Your spouse is someone precious. You need to honor the person that you're married to. One way to give honor is a sincere compliment. You give honor not only privately, but publicly. Keep the romance, the joy, and the excitement in your relationship.
Prayer — Finally, verse seven: "that your prayers be not hindered." Pray through your marriage. Psalm 127:1 says, "Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain." It's more than a trite expression that the family that prays together, stays together. It is vital that you learn to pray together.
Now you say, "That's a very strange thing because you have given us seven words about having a successful home, but you never mentioned love." Friend, all of these are facets of love. As these seven words are lived out and become actions, they will speak love and will build up your marriage.