You don’t have to dig very deep to discover the #1 rule for building a happy marriage. Jesus spelled out our standard in the Sermon on the Mount: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” (Luke 6:31)
Confucius taught a similar principle: “Never impose on others what you would not choose for yourself.”
As did Buddha: “What is hateful to you, don’t do to others; what is delightful to you, do for others, too.”
And Muhammad: “Seek for mankind that of which you are desirous for yourself.”
In fact, every major religion promotes some version of The Golden Rule.
In marriage it boils down to this:
“Treat your spouse the way you wish to be treated.”
That’s it. The #1 rule for building a happy marriage. It doesn’t get simpler than that. To build a marriage that will go the distance, you just need to treat your spouse…
Would you like for your husband to be patient and understanding? Then extend an extra measure of patience and understanding towards him.
“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” (Ephesians 4:2)
Do you want him to honor you as a respected colleague? Then be faithful and deliberate in the way you communicate respect to him.
“Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.” (1 Peter 2:17)
Do you hope he’ll be quick to forgive and forget when you’ve done something to offend him? Then don’t harbor grudges against him. Give no place to bitterness or resentment in your heart.
“Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” (Ephesians 4:32)
Would you like for him to show appreciation for the many things you do to make his life more pleasant? Then always make a point to say thank you to him. Cultivate an attitude of gratitude, and don’t take your man for granted.
“In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
Do you prefer kind, encouraging words over angry tirades? Then remain positive and upbeat yourself and resist the urge to nag or quarrel.
“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” (Proverbs 15:1)
Do you want him to prioritize things that are important to you? Then don’t make excuses to avoid what’s important to him.
“Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves. Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:3-4)
Would you like for him to take notice of you and compliment your appearance? Then show him the same courtesy. Admire him and praise his manliness. Your husband wants to know that you still find him attractive.
“How handsome you are, my beloved! Oh, how charming! And our bed is verdant.” (Song of Solomon 1:16)
So that’s the key. Treat your spouse as you wish to be treated if you want a built-to-last, happily-ever-after sort of marriage.
melissa parker says
I am a Christian- and I was married before to a man that after 22 years had a year long affair and through me away – no sorrys/ I was tossed out like trash. Then I met someone who i felt love me so differently- with heart and spirit- and not just for sex, like so many men pretend to care about you till they get something… He was different. But without going on and on- I will cut to the chase. He has a pride that I can’t appeal to no matter how lovingly I speak to him. he gets a thought in his head and i can NOT change it- I was married a LONG time before to a man who focused on him- to the point he threw me away and it was only about him… Now- I am appealing ever so softly to my new husband to just give a little attention each day to helpig our marriage. I sent him a beautiful link called “17 Rules for a happy marriage from Gods great book (the bible of course- for which he seems to respect) but he NEVER even read the first sentence- in fact, I was sitting by him and saw him quickly pass it over on his email and asked- Honey, did you get a chance to look at that? He said- NO!— but i will/ well it was sent a month ago… and everyday he plays video games- goes on Social media sites- skypes friends (not girls) but this is showing me his prioritys and that I don’t fit…. that he believes the marriage will work or not with the roll of the dice- yet his temper is hot- his pride is sky high… and I am 46 and have had enough pain. He left his last wife, got tired of her- and now- I don’t want to be tossed away again.. I told him tonight he needs to decide if he wants US or not. If he does, he needs to help it grow through good communication based on bible principles…. just a bit each day – I know it doesn’t work by my effort alone. I have to save myself before i am thrown away again…. I tried so hard for 20 plus years- this time- i know/ life is only so long- do my best/ don’t get angry- but give a choice- and leave it to God. Please God- I hope he wants US to work… if not, help me stay strong and go on….
Jennifer Flanders says
I’m so sorry about your situation, Melissa. I pray God will soften the heart of your husband and that He will give you strength to do the right thing, even if you see no indication of your husband ever changing.
this golden rule is 100% true! i like all may follow to take advantages of happy life with spouse
Thank you so much! I will definitely check them out over the next few days, weeks, and months. =)
I am in a relationship with a godly young man right now, and we are prayerfully considering moving from courtship to engagement. I recently came across your blog about 25 ways to show respect to your man, and have read through some of your blog posts since that time. I was wondering if you could recommend some books that would be helpful to read for either myself, or both of us, regarding biblical marriages and the practical how-tos. I’ve read various books over the years including: The 5 Love Languages, For Women Only, and a few other such books that escape me at present, but I want to read more about how to have a Christ-centered and biblical marriage in a world that discourages such ideas, and how to be a supportive and loving wife to whomever God leads me to marry.
Thank you for you blog, and for your encouragement to women
Jennifer Flanders says
Best wishes to you and your godly young man as you contemplate your future! Here is a list of several of my favorite books on marriage. There have been others I’ve enjoyed over the years, but these are the ones that come most quickly to mind and will provide a great foundation for you going into marriage.
Thank You Lord for using this sweet woman’s heart for “healthy, “dying to my feelings, submitting to Yours”
To minister to a “wretch like me!!”
I PRAISE YOU!!!
Rachel Self says
For me this means being just as patient with my husband as I want him to be with me. And just as forgiving of his flaws as I want him to be of mine. How does it apply for your marriage?
Katie Maslin says
I needed this today! Thank you!