Unlike football, marriage should always been seen as a win-win, but similar to football there are rules to help…
Rule #1: Talk to each other on the field; communicate well. Good teams are constantly in communication with each other and the coach. God is the coach; you are teammates. Ephesians 4:15 says to “speak the truth in love.” So use real words—do not rely on hints, innuendos, or mind-reading. Speak truth—no lies, no deception. Speak these words in a loving way. Fill your communication with love, kindness, respect, and grace.
Rule #2: Fight to win, but fight with your ears, not with your mouth. Every championship team needs a drive to survive and thrive. Here, the drive is to win together but fight fair. James 1:19 says to “be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger.” Be the first in those inevitable moments of disagreement to say, “Let me make sure I’m hearing you,” and then listen and seek to understand the other person’s perspective before you even launch your own.
Rule #3: Celebrate each other; greet each other affectionately. We’ve all seen how team players will high-five each other, hug each other, do crazy victory dances together, belly bop, and pop each other on the rear. For the married couple, words from the Song of Solomon (1:2), which basically opens with “Kiss me, for your love is better than wine.” At the end of the day when you come home from work, make sure that you express some affection for seeing your husband or wife. Let them know you are glad to see them and that you’ve been looking forward to seeing them all day. Encourage each other and celebrate the small victories daily.
Rule #4: Defense wins championships; so guard your heart. Protect the most important part of your marriage—your covenant. Malachi 2:16 is clear that one of the most important things you can do to help your marriage is to guard your heart. From what? From fading. From settling for less than best for your life together. From thinking that the grass is greener someplace else. From hurtful words, offenses, bitterness, and hard-heartedness. Defend against attacks . . . especially those that originate from your own heart.
Rule #5: Score early; score often. This means to love extravagantly. Actively loving the other person puts deposits in their account; it keeps love alive. First Peter 4:8 says, “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly.” Above all else. Love is the root of the great commandment, and is to be expressed daily. When I say love extravagantly, love as if you have an unlimited supply of love to give away—so no hoarding or holding back. And, by the way, if you allow Jesus to be your source, you actually DO have an unlimited love supply.