We know the Bible is filled with verses that tell us to love one another, but what are practical ways to do that especially in marriage?
WHAT ARE SOME PRACTICAL WAYS WE CAN “LOVE ONE ANOTHER” IN MARRIAGE?
Our culture has taught us through books, movies and media that falling in love is a feeling that should easily last forever. If you don’t “feel” it, then move on. The Bible however, teaches that true relationship (whether in marriage, friendship or between you and God) is more than a feeling of infatuation.
True love in any relationship requires work to some extent. If you approach a relationship as one-sided, there’s bound to be problems. There’s got to be give and take. And in that, some parts of growing in your relationship aren’t going to feel as fun or exciting as they used to be.
In order to continue toward a mature and loving relationship, you will have to own your part of the problem, as well as consider your partner’s needs (and the Bible teaches us they even take priority over our own sometimes!). Other lessons learned in lasting marriages are the humility to admit when you’re wrong and reciprocating that forgiveness toward your spouse.
GROWING IN GRACE AND HUMILITY IS A GOOD THING
My husband and I have been through some situations we never dreamed of when we got married–but we’ve also been pleasantly surprised to see how the Lord has walked us through these seasons and learned how to work together in a way that relies heavily on Him.
It hasn’t been easy, but it’s been such a blessing to see the patience and humility my husband showed me when I was sick, and the strength we didn’t know we had in us to parent our son through his intense toddler years.
These situations have forced us to grow up and work together as a team. No relationship thrives in the midst of selfishness and immaturity. Our common beliefs bring us together to challenge one another to become the best version of who we can be.
While it’s true that loving one another is the basis of how we treat each other, love itself encompasses so much more than feeling happy all the time. The Bible teaches us that loving one another can come in the form of:
Encouraging your spouse (Hebrews 10:24 and 1 Thessalonians 5:11)
Being truthful with one another (Colossians 3:9)
Not slandering each other (James 4:11)
Forgiving and praying for your spouse (James 5:16)
Accepting them for who they are and not judging (Romans 15:7 and 14:13)
Being hospitable and at peace with each other (1 Peter 4:9 and Mark 9:50)
PRINT THIS FREE CHEAT SHEET ON THE “LOVE ONE ANOTHER” BIBLE VERSES FOR MARRIAGE
Don’t get caught up in the comparison game. God’s plan for your marriage is very different from your friend’s marriage. Whatever that looks like in your personal season, the Bible is filled with “love one another” verses that can guide you in this. I’ve created a printable cheat sheet that includes a few places to help you get started:
Want to get this free Love One Another Bible verses printable plus over 100 other pages of freebies in my printable library? All you have to do is tell me where to send the email and I’ll share the link and secret password with you! Already subscribed? Access your freebies here.
Find out how the benefits of laughter helped me survive the worst years of my life and still is the thing that bonds my husband and I in our marriage.
*This post contains affiliate links. Please see my full disclosure for details.
MARRYING THE CLASS CLOWN
When I first met my husband, he had bleach blonde hair and was learning a punk rock version of the bagpipes.
We instantly connected through our love of movie quotes and similar sense of humor. Most people, when they first meet my husband, can’t tell if he’s joking around or being serious. For example, the time when he showed me a picture of his brown-haired conservative country family and told me he was adopted. Or the time he hid a life-sized talking Austin Powers cut-out in the shower and scared me half to death.
I loved the challenge of trying to out-do one another and be spontaneous and silly, and now that we’ve been together almost 20 years, we’ve learned our own secret language of quick comebacks mixed with movie quotes.
I’m pretty sure 95% of our fights have ended with one of us making the other laugh.
Even the day we were married, our going-away outfits were a reference to Dumb and Dumber.
I didn’t want to show anyone else (including my kids) how scared I was at first, so I did what any other person would do in a situation like this: I became a standup comedian.
When my lower body became racked with pain, I started to develop a limp that worsened everyday. I had to walk with a cane, which was humiliating, so instead of having people feel sorry for me, I would swing it side-to-side singing, “Hello my baby, hello my darling, hello my ragtime gal!”
It was too scary, too real, and laughter made it not so scary.
When I moved from my cane to a walker, I would pick it up after a few steps and point it at my kids and their friends saying, “You young whippersnappers!” in my best old lady voice.
Once I got to the point that I could hardly stand to use a walker, I upgraded to a wheelchair.
The first time I got in I started crying hysterically. What was happening to me?
It started getting a lot more serious around the house. Any joke attempted by anyone at this point was NOT FUNNY. I was over it. However, when my husband gave up and stopped trying to make me laugh, I felt even more discouraged.
A few days later, I developed random tremors all over my body. These tremors would cause my body to start jerking – legs hopping up and down off the bed, my head whipping side to side with my fingers clenching and releasing.
Other times I would be sitting and start rocking back-and-forth quickly, my foot tapping double time on the floor. It was getting harder to find something to laugh about. I was exhausted and getting angrier every day.
RECOGNIZING THE BENEFITS OF LAUGHTER
After a few weeks of tears, tests and treatments, no one was joking around. I missed it.
Slowly the treatments began to heal my body and I returned to using my walker. One day, as my tremors swung my legs back and forth for every step I tried to take, I looked into my husband’s sad eyes and did my best Elvis impression, “Wella-wella-wella”.
And there it was for just a moment. Our smiles were back.
Some people felt like it was too much, or inappropriate to make jokes about what was going on, but for us, it was what helped us keep our sanity. It was the only way to ease the tension.
When one of my hands would uncontrollably strum up and down against my chest and I began to panic, my husband would come sit close to me and tell me how good I was getting at playing the banjo.
We had been living in constant stress. Laughter was our gateway back to normal.
My parents were living with us at the time to help out, and when I would start up with crazy tremors or twitching and find myself hyperventilating, they learned that I didn’t want another pill or an icepack, I needed Michael Scott.
I realized that what I craved wasn’t really another season of The Office or for my family to make jokes about my situation, but that I craved joy again. Joy gave us hope.
When we could laugh, we could feel happy again.
I wanted to scream and cry and throw things…and sometimes I did.
But I recognized the benefits of laughter in my life and made it a priority to dive into anything that promoted happiness. I found every uplifting show, song and book I could find. I made a reading list of books I wanted to read, and movies to watch.
Over the next year, I read books by Roald Dahl, Sophie Kinsella, Chip and Joanna Gaines, Bob Goff, and every self help book I could find. I began painting again and creating new music playlists. I introduced my kids to movies from my childhood like Anne of Green Gables, The Little Princess and The Secret Garden.
We are so fortunate to have that season behind us now. For the most part, I live a pretty normal life. While I still have to treat this disease, it’s no longer a daily worry. So many wonderful things have happened since then. I am running my own small business, my children are back in school since COVID, and we are taking family vacations when we can.
I sometimes look back on that time in my life and remember how desperate I was and how lost I felt. It seems unreal to be writing about it now.
I know that our faith and our bond with family got us through those hard times, but so did laughter.
5 BENEFITS OF ADDING LAUGHTER TO YOUR MARRIAGE
1. People who laugh together like each other more
There’s actually research on this! If you’ve ever shared a good joke with someone, you feel immediately connected to them.
2. You relate better to your spouse
You know when you just click with a new friend? Inside-jokes and having a similar styles of humor are ways to bond you and your spouse together in a way that no one else can understand.
3. You experience more positive emotions than negative
Just like the story I shared, laughter helps us focus on the good even in crappy situations. There was no reason for me to feel happy with what was happening to me, but laughter helped me stay positive.
4. Your relationship will last longer
It has been shown that deeper relationships, such as those that grow out of shared laughter, last longer than those who don’t feel connected emotionally to their partner.
5. The quality of your relationship will improve
It’s more fun to be part of a marriage where you make each other laugh! As long as you’re not laughing at each other, but with each other, you will continue to grow closer.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE…
Want to get all my notes and tips on growing in your own marriage? I’ve created a 4 week workbook on Marriage you can grab in my shop:
Being engaged is a whole lot different than actually being married. Here are 7 pieces of advice for newlyweds that I wish someone had told me!
MARRIAGE ISN’T WHAT YOU SEE IN THE MOVIES
There are pretty much two types of husbands when it comes to marriages on TV:
The cheating spouse
The stupid spouse
Seriously. Think about it. Why is it that every husband on TV can’t control their sexual urges or is a doofus married to an obnoxious, eye-rolling wife?
It’s so rare that we actually see a healthy relationship on TV. And if most marriages are portrayed as a place where sex goes to die, or that being in love means complete infatuation, then you don’t have a realistic view of what it’s supposed to be either.
So where are the real marriages, the ones that actually make it? The ones where the honeymoon phase has worn off, but the couple genuinely still loves and enjoys one another?
On the flip side, we also don’t need any more fairy-tale relationships where everyone lives happily ever-after. We all could use a few more examples of real-life relationships that have successfully weathered the storm.
There are so many views on what a good marriage should look like, but for this post, I want to talk about Christian marriages in general. My husband and I decided to skip pre-marital counseling, and I wish we hadn’t. While we have figured a few things out over our 20 years together, that time of mentorship could have saved us a few sleepless nights…
MY 7 PIECES OF ADVICE FOR NEWLYWEDS
If you are a newly-wed or engaged to be married, I highly suggest that you seek out pre-marital counseling before you tie the knot. There’s always room for growth whether you’ve been together 10 days or 10 years, and taking this first step will only help you along the way! The Bible is filled with helpful advice on how to love one another in a way that will sustain you for a lifetime, and a mentor who can guide you through real-life application can be such a blessing, especially before you get to the hard stuff in life!
With that being said, there are a few things that I wish I could go back and tell myself and my husband when we were engaged. I hope these tips are helpful for you (even if you’re past the newly wed stage!).
1. HONEYMOON BLUES ARE A THING
We had a beautiful wedding outside at an old manor in Virginia, and after a disastrous honeymoon, returned home to our newly-rented, roach-infested home in Texas. After all of those blissful years of dating and wedding planning, our fairy tale had officially ended.
My family was an expensive plane ride away, and our friends had graduated and moved out. I was lonely and a little panicky about the choice I had made. The parties were over, the friends were gone, and adulthood had officially kicked in. I had to get a real job and pay bills now!
After a few weeks of moping around, my poor husband asked if I was okay. He even asked if I had regretted marrying him. Of course I hadn’t, I told him, but I was confused. I felt homesick for the first time in my life. Reality of married living had set in, and it seemed our infatuation stage was over. When I confided that I felt sad most days instead of happy to a few of my other married girlfriends over the phone, what they said surprised me.
“I went through that too,” they said. “Getting married is a big change and there’s so much pressure on what it’s supposed to look like.”
Why had no one ever told me this?
Every romantic movie I’d seen ended when the two people got married. Kiss and zoom out! Happily ever after!
I began to realize, that marriage isn’t where the hard work ends, it’s where it begins! So what can you do if you find yourself in this situation?
Take all of those unrealistic expectations and confront what’s true. This is simply another transition in your life. Most of the transitions in your life have been hard. Change is difficult, but it doesn’t have to be bad. For me, hearing that I wasn’t crazy, that these feelings of insecurity were normal, was all I needed to get out of my funk.
Which leads me into tip #2:
2. LOSING THAT LOVING FEELING DOESN’T MEAN YOU’RE NOT IN LOVE
Infatuation is just that. It’s not love, it’s obsession. We’ve all been there, and it’s wonderful! To wear rose-colored glasses and think everything they do is adorable and hilarious. To think that they couldn’t be anymore perfect for you…but time goes on. And those little quirks start to become major irritations.
However, when the passion dies, that doesn’t mean your marriage is over. And it doesn’t mean it won’t return.
Sometimes it means you have to work through a few things to get it back, or give it time to experience that marriage truly is a rollercoaster. So is any relationship worth pursuing!
I love my husband, and I can truly say (ignore the cliche) that I am more in love with him now that I ever was before. That’s because our love is much more experienced and deeply emotional because of the things we’ve been through. We’ve gone through parenting, the dynamics of in-laws, four moves and serious illnesses. We’ve acknowledged our flaws and confessed them to each other, but mostly, we’ve committed to this relationship for the long haul.
When you are struggling, ask God to remind you why you fell in love with your husband in the first place. He will always give you something to lean on.
3. SPEND YOUR MONEY ON MEMORIES, DON’T SAVE FOR A RAINY DAY
Before we had kids, we never went anywhere. We always felt like we didn’t have enough money to do anything. After we had kids, we really didn’t have enough money to do anything, but we needed the break and found ourselves figuring out ways to travel even on our limited budget. Think of how much nicer it would have been if we’d realized this sooner!
We could have traveled without having to worry about car seats, strollers, naptime, and moody children! While we have had many successful vacations with our kids, we missed out on a big opportunity to see things without taking care of little ones.
I highly suggest you take the trips now (and later too!) instead of waiting for the perfect timing. FYI: there is no perfect timing!
4. FIND YOURSELF—GET HOBBIES & MAKE FRIENDS OUTSIDE YOUR CIRCLE
Are you only doing the things that he wants to do? Or are you only doing fun things when he’s around? Don’t fall into the pit of becoming “the wife”, you are your own person too! That’s what he loves about you!
What hobbies have you done in the past? Get back into them, make friends with others that share those same passions. You will grow in confidence (which is very attractive) when you have your own things to pursue!
5. BELIEVE THE BEST ABOUT HIM—AND YOU ARE NOT HIS HOLY SPIRIT
Your husband is not perfect. And neither are you . So don’t forget to give him some grace. When he leaves a mess behind, or forgets to do something he promised, believe the best. Believe that he wasn’t out to hurt you, but was simply distracted.
When you feel like he’s not helping out, believe the best. Maybe he just needs you to communicate what you need instead of thinking he doesn’t care. You don’t need to nag or correct him constantly. Instead, pray for him, and learn to work together in healthy ways.
6. SCHEDULE VACATIONS AND DATE REGULARLY
Now that the “chase” is over…it really isn’t .
I made the mistake of waiting for him to take me to nice places or surprise me with a vacation. Not intentionally, but looking back, I guess that’s what I expected of him. How could he have read my mind?
While planning dates isn’t his string suit, it’s mine, and I didn’t realize how bad we needed it until we got into a funk with each other. Many times, we were in a rut simply because we hadn’t done anything fun together in awhile. We were going to work, fixing stuff in the house, paying bills, visiting family, while not really allowing ourselves time to reconnect.
When we have weekends at the house, it tends to be a big list of to-dos. This needs cleaning, we need to update that…
The act of leaving the house helps you gain perspective. It’s just you and your spouse. You remember you still like each other, and the money doesn’t seem as stressful when you realize it’s well-spent.
If you’re feeling at odds with your spouse, chances are, you need to get away together, even if it’s just for a night. I suggest going on at least 1-2 dates a month and planning a night away once a season. It could be as a simple as a hotel in a nearby city, or planning a week-long trip to another state. Either way, get it on the calendar!
7. IT’S OKAY TO DO THINGS BY YOURSELF—GIVE EACH OTHER SPACE
My husband loves to play music. Before we had kids, he would invite a few buddies over to “jam”. For me, it was a disruption to my quiet evening and I couldn’t wait until the last person left. I could be on the other side of the house and hear their session like it was right next to me.
One night, I decided to go to the movies. By myself.
I ordered a hotdog, nachos and sour patch kids and sat in the theater watching a movie I wanted to see but knew he wouldn’t be interested in. I had the space to do whatever I wanted in that moment, and it made me realize that I hadn’t been fair to him sitting there sulking until band practice was over. He hadn’t been holding me back from doing what I wanted, that was on me.
Give your spouse space to do the things he wants to do, and let him enjoy them—guilt-free, and take the opportunity to do your own thing, like going out with girlfriends to eat or getting a stomachache like I did on nachos and sour patch kids.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE…
Want to take 4 weeks of marriage challenges to strengthen your relationship? Get all of my advice and tips here: