There’s a lot of marriage advice out there: another blog to read, great ideas how to improve your relationship, things to do, things to say. But most of this advice is fleeting, and it seems that there is always a new piece of advice to try every week.
Luckily, some advice is timeless and it comes from the most inspired source: the scriptures. Here are eight pieces of scriptural advice to help strengthen your marriage:
Moroni 8: 16—“For perfect love casteth out all fear.”
Translation: Try to love your spouse as Heavenly Father and the Savior loves them.
Love is a powerful emotion. It sometimes blinds us to flaws of the other person, and when the haze of a romantic relationship clears, the flaws sometimes surprise us. We may wonder where that perfect person we originally fell in love with went.
But as mortal beings, we are not perfect. Even the people we love aren’t perfect. Having perfect love, that is, to love a person in spite of their flaws, will remove any fears we may have. That kind of love is the same love that Heavenly Father has for us.
When that love is present, it will strengthen a marriage beyond what either of you could imagine.
Proverbs 17:17—“A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.”
Translation: Your spouse cares about you and offers up support in the best and worst of times.
Aside from being the love of your life, your spouse should also be your best friend. You celebrate with them, and you pull together when trials come your way. It’s a part of why we have friends and family in the first place. We’re meant to lean on each other for strength during the hard times as much as we enjoy spending time with them during the good.
Genesis 29:20—“And Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and they seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had to her.”
Translation: Stay committed.
Jacob ended up working for 14 years to get Rachel. He could have easily left after the first seven years of work because seven more could have been too much work. But he committed and persevered. He remained focused on his goal of marrying Rachel, even while working and raising a family. Like Jacob, we don’t have to let other commitments detract us from our ultimate commitment to the one we love.
Proverbs 15:1—“A soft answer turneth away wrath, but grievous words stir up anger.”
Translation: Think before you speak, and speak kindly.
While it’s easy to get defensive during an argument, the words that come out in the heat of the moment may hurt long after they’ve left your mouth. Take a deep breath, and focus more on getting to the source of the argument rather than being the winner. Listen not just to the words your spouse says, but to the emotions driving the words. Remain calm, and answer as kindly as you can.
Proverbs 15:13—“A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.”
Translation: Choose to be happy.
It’s easy to complain. It’s easy to be down on things, but if you choose to be happy, you’ll find that the problems maybe aren’t as bleak as you first thought. As Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin said, “Come what may and love it.” We are naturally drawn towards happiness, so be a source of happiness for yourself and for your spouse.
1 Corinthians 11:11—“Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.”
Translation: We need men and women working together.
Never forget that a marriage isn’t just between you and your spouse. It’s between the two of you and the Lord. We need both genders to be fully exalted on high. Don’t forget that the Lord is the one doing the exalting. As Sister Linda K. Burton said in her April 2015 conference talk, “Brothers and sisters, we need each other! As covenant-keeping women and men, we need to lift each other and help each other become the people the Lord would have us become. And we need to work together to lift the rising generation and help them reach their divine potential as heirs of eternal life. We could do as Elder Robert D. Hales and his wife, Mary, have done and follow the proverb ‘Thee lift me and I’ll lift thee, and we’ll ascend together.’”
1 Nephi 5:4-6—“And it had come to pass that my father spake unto her [Sariah], saying: I know that I am a visionary man; for if I had not seen the things of God in a vision I should not have known the goodness of God, but had tarried at Jerusalem, and had perished with my brethren… and I know that the Lord will deliver my sons out of the hands of Laban, and bring them down again unto us in the wilderness. And after this manner of language did my father, Lehi, comfort my mother, Sariah, concerning us…”
Translation: Validate your spouse’s concerns.
This dialogue between Sariah and Lehi showcases an important piece of marriage advice: validation. Lehi validates Sariah’s concern that by being a visionary man, he led them away from their home and has put their sons into danger. Lehi agrees, validating Sariah’s concern, and then he proceeds to comfort her and assure her that their sons will come back safely. Instead of dismissing one another’s concerns, acknowledge them and let your spouse know that what they feel is alright and that they can always trust in the Lord.
Mosiah 2:17—“And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.”
Translation: Serve your spouse.
While this scripture may refer to the larger purpose of service, it’s also pertinent to marriage. As with any relationship, you come to love others by serving them. Service speaks volumes about how you feel about someone. When you serve others, you don’t do it for yourself—you do it for the other person because you know it will make them happy.
Make time to serve your spouse, and be aware of their needs. Do the laundry, bring home a favorite snack of theirs, pick up the living room, offer to help them study, take the kids for an outing, surprise them with a movie date, give them an hour to read their favorite book, or take them out for ice cream after a stressful day. These little daily acts will bring you closer together and closer to God.