Four12 article image for 'Safety Gates for Marriage' sharing tips for a successful marriage

Safety Gates for Marriage

During the first years of our marriage, we soon realised that we would have to set boundaries, lay down rules (so to speak) and talk about the values we wanted to build on as a couple going forward in a fruitful marriage. Marriage is a leap of faith. You are each other’s safety net. You need to instill healthy habits for a healthy marriage, therefore it is important to make decisions together on what would be best in each situation. Here are a few of these principles to consider.

Like any other goal you want to achieve in life, it takes time, effort and energy to create a marriage you love being in.

Transforming Thoughts

The most important principle (or ‘safety gate’) for us was to not imitate the ideals and opinions of the culture around us, but to be inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit through a total reformation of how we think. The focus for us was not to transform the way we feel but the way we think.  This empowered us to discern God’s will.

We love to see how Jesus transforms hearts and how couples start to shift in their approach, perspective and opinion when they build shared values, based on the Word of God. Everyone wants to improve their marriage, but the problem is that everyone wants instant improvement.  Improving your marriage does not happen overnight. Like any other goal you want to achieve in life, it takes time, effort and energy to create a marriage you love being in.

Attitudes

The first thing you need to adjust is your attitude. You need to start with an honest assessment about yourself. Step back and consider your own attitude before you start trying to change your spouse’s, then you will be heading in the right direction. Athletes can’t win the prize if they don’t follow the rules. Likewise, in marriage we have to ‘set rules’ and boundaries for growth.

The way you feel about and see yourself is how you will be and act in marriage.

Self-Image

In adjusting our attitude, we need to be honest about how we see ourselves. This has an impact on our marriage. When we struggle with low self-esteem, it is a thinking disorder in that we view ourselves as inadequate or incompetent. Self-esteem is based on a system of pictures and feelings you have put together about yourself. It includes both mental and emotional pictures and feelings.  ‘As a man thinks in his heart, so is he. (Proverbs 23:7)

The way you feel about and see yourself is how you will be and act in marriage. When you step into this trap of low self-esteem, your spouse will constantly have to convince you that you are loved, accepted and good enough. This causes your relationship to be one-sided and the one who is always trying to convince you becomes worn down.

Handling Conflict

One of the safety gates we need to put in place is how we handle conflict.  Somehow we seem to handle conflict as if we are a parent talking to a child.  The moment we do this, it creates a defensive barrier.  Talk adult-to-adult.  Use ‘I feel’ messages, e.g. ‘I feel upset when you come home late’.  Do not attack or belittle your spouse.  When we handle conflict correctly, God can use it to grow us and strengthen our marriage, as we don’t have to defend our case anymore.

A marriage starts thriving when we put aside what our spouse deserves and respond by giving him or her what they need.

A marriage starts thriving when we put aside what our spouse deserves and respond by giving him or her what they need. Don’t try to get even in your marriage (or any other relationship). Build each other up! Rise above the offence and give your spouse what they need!

When your marriage needs healing, work through the conflict until the pain subsides. When the pain subsides, the trouble might not be corrected. Deeper issues must be dealt with. Don’t only try to solve the underlying problems, keep working at it until you have complete victory, not just when the pain recedes.

Stewarding Money

Be careful not to live a money-centered life.  It is easy to get caught up in the pursuit of wealth and material possessions. 1 Timothy 6:6-10 warns us that God is to be our focus, not money. We can easily be influenced by our money-centered society.  God loves the generous giver, so be careful that you do not turn the principle around by grabbing and holding onto everything you want and only give from the leftovers. If this is your focus with finance and possessions, this too could become the state of your relationship; a sense of entitlement, holding onto, grabbing and wanting more and more. Hear the words of Psalm 23 that says, ‘I shall not want’. Our God is a God that gives and marriage is a wonderful place to imitate this principle.

Creating a Home

Be sure to create a home. In a house, people can be staying together without sharing life. A home is where people live together, share and serve each other and make room for others. In this current culture, our worth can be found in climbing the ladder of personal success or other activities that, in themselves, are not wrong but which have the potential to separate us from our spouse and godly relationships with those around us.

This could result in a husband and wife not talking to one another and hardly seeing or noticing their children. Decide as a couple what godly values you want to build on in your relationship. Family identity has to do with who you are and what you stand for. Talk about it, communicate it and live it!  Make 1 Peter 4:8-9 your family mission: ‘Above all, constantly echo God’s intense love for one another, for love will be a canopy over a multitude of sins.  Be compassionate to foreigners without complaining’ (paraphrased in ‘The Passion’ translation).

Make Room for Your Spouse

Make room for your spouse, in your heart and in your schedule! Serve each other, honour and care for each other. You have such a great opportunity to demonstrate God’s love to each other. When your spouse feels honoured and cared for, they receive others so much more easily into their hearts. Duplicate to others the Godly fervour you have for each other.

Mac and Naudine serve on eldership in Joshua Generation Church (JoshGen), South Africa, and were missionaries for eight years before becoming pastors. They have since been involved in various family ministries to restore wholeness and currently head up the marriage enrichment and divorce recovery programmes in JoshGen.

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Family Values
Righteousness
Leading
Exhortation
Self-Righteousness
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Honesty
Testing
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Living for Jesus
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Sexual Sin
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Female Leaders
Calling
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Easter
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Living the Gospel
Paradoxes in the Bible
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Decisions
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Prophet
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Love
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Caring
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Desires
Lies
Fathering
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Accountable
The Apostolic
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Intercession
Singleness
Fear
lead
Life
Repent
Anxiety
Obey
Child Care
Four12 Partner
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Taiwan Church
Israel
Healthy Church
Teacher
Multi-site Church
Perseverance
Loving Others
Profession
Social Media
Hopelessness
Lee Strobel
Kingdom Living
Refining Fire
Marriage
Discipleship
Grace
Ministry
Sin
Worship
Confusion
Trials
Husbands
Offence
Humility
Idols
Pride
Evangelising
Obedient
Christian Leadership
Singles
Healing
Direction
Revelation
Conviction
Complacency
Recalibration
Guidance
Transformation
Volunteering
Taiwan Churches
Providence
New Testament Church
Pastor
Church Structure
Feminism
Apostolic Partnership
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resilience
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Prophecy
The Gospel
Purgatory
Control
Finances
The Word of God
Modesty
Judgement
Bearing Fruit
Comfort
Divorce
Teaching Children
Four12 Partners Relief Fund
Pastors Training
The Poor
Letting Go
Values
Partnering
Heart of God
Justice
Church Partnership
Great Commission
Existence of God
Christian Literature
Old Testament
Romance
Apostles
Evangelism
Holiness
Partnership
Stewardship
Caring for People
Doubt
Church Involvement
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Hell
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Tongues
Goats
Fear God
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Authority
Faithfulness
Holy Spirit Baptism
Patience
Teaching
Character of a Deacon
Grief
Compromise
Blueprint
Character
Addiction
Pornography
Signs
Christening
Starting A Church
Parents
Poverty
Study the Word
Stewarding
Punishment
Being Hospitable
Sharing The Gospel
Restoration
Training Kids
Malawi
Leading Youth
Surrender
Testimonies
Christ
Delegating
Servant
Social Gospel
Character of God
Worth
Gift of Tongues
Godly Elders
Big Churches
Salvations
Sacrificial Love
Baptism
Fear of God
Hospitality
Peace
The Bible
Church Leaders
Hardship
Fellowship
Holy Living
Character of an Elder
Adultery
Rebelling
Signs and Wonders
Baptise
Infant Baptism
Power
Possessions
Study the Bible
Steward
Hatred
Hospitable
Spreading The Gospel
Relationships
Training Children
Health
Youth Training
Counting the Cost
Healing Equip
books
Raising Leaders
Shepherds
Contentment
God's Character
Affirmation
Judaism
Enlightenment
Building Deep
Prostitution
Godly Team
Breaking Bread
Festivals
Idolatry
Prayer and Fasting
Theology
Foundations
Heaven
Fellowship of Believers
Leading Church
Diversity
Church Accountability
Rebellion
Witchcraft
Baby Christian
Kassie du Plessis
Protector
Tithing
Envy
Quiet Times
Retaliation
Lessons
Spreading The Word
Cheating
Training Teenagers
Cancer
Youth Ministry
Following the Call
Four12 Equip
Eldership Training
Community Leading
Pastors
Rest
Sacrificial Serving
Sonship
Jewish
Reason
Selling Out
Prostitutes
honour
favour
Children
Forgiveness
Income
Prophetic
Tithes
Helper
Illness
Principles
Living for Christ
Government
Discipling
Sancti
Words of Knowledge
Babies
Prayer
Sexual Purity
Christmas
Jealousy
Meditation
Promises
Loss
The Cross
Persecution
Unfaithfulness
Sacrifice
Brazil
Prophetic Training
Healing Conference
Identity
Small Group
Biblical Pattern
Systematic Theology
False Gospel
Testimony Apostolic
Jews
Reasoning
Watering Down
Reaching Out
Christian Character
Generosity
Jesus
Purity
Trust
Helps
Mortality
Christian Family Values
Lukewarm
Home Group Leaders
Exhort
Sanctification
Dominionism
Beliefs
Praying
Celibacy
Fathers
Comparison
Training
Bible Study
Tests
Cross
Fear of Man
Find Forgiveness
Sacrificial Service
Brazil Churches
Prophetic Equip
Voice of God
Team
Home Group
Change
Servant Leadership
Apostolic Leaders
Authentic
Religions
Intellectual Pride
Ambition
Fruitfulness
God's Favour
Christian Living
Gentleness
Joy
Repentance
Unity
Loving People
Infirmity
Family Values
Righteousness
Leading
Exhortation
Self-Righteousness
Kingdom of God
Commands
Provision
Sex Before Marriage
Mothering
Women in Leadership
Halloween
Honesty
Testing
Crucifixion
Conversion
Guilt
Sacrificial Giving
Church Merger
Equipping
Saints
Leadership Team
Priesthood
Jehovah's Witnesses
Women In Ministry
Fruit of the Spirit
Womens Ministry
Messiah
Mind Idolatry
Megachurch
Biblical Paradox
Honouring God
Church Leadership
Church Life
Giving
Kindness
Revival
Water Baptism
Servant Heart
Living for Jesus
Covenantal Relationships
Division
Accusation
Flesh
Sexual Sin
Scripture
Customs
Provider
Living for God
Mothers
Female Leaders
Calling
Christian Fellowship
Backsliding
Easter
Witnessing
Infidelity
Biblical Culture
Merging Churches
Prophetic Equipping
Gift of Prophecy
Apostle
Priesthood of All Believers
Finance
Servanthood
Biblical Church
Praise
Atheism
Church History
Living the Gospel
Paradoxes in the Bible
Honouring People
Church Planting
Community Leaders
God the Father
Leaders
Salvation
Women
Afterlife
Protection
Dating
Decisions
Eldership
Fleshly Desires
Shame
Truth
Traditions
Works
Morality
Wisdom
Women Leaders
Ordaining Elders
Christian Community
Backslidden
Resurrection
Testimony
Masturbation
Communal Culture
Partnering Churches
Prophesy
New Churches
Five Fold Gift
Trinity
Tithe
Relationship
Employment
Thanksgiving
Atheists
Old Testament Prophet
Ambassadors
Truth in Tension
contradictions
Treasure Hunting
treasure
Deacons
Culture
Good News
Maturity
Self-Control
Word of Knowledge
Bitterness
Self-Pity
Courting
Forgiving
Anger
Freedom
Submission
Gifts of the Spirit
Get Baptised
Works and Faith
Morals
Gift of Wisdom
Females in Leadership
Ordaining
Defence
Commitment
Hearing God
Consequences
Receive Forgiveness
Leadership Training
Living Hope
Zimbabwe
Start a Church
Prophet
New Believers
Being Generous
Study Scripture
Jobs
Entitlement
Misotheists
New Testament Prophet
Work Values
Family
Devotion
Goodness
Men
Serving
Word of Wisdom
Brokenness
Sickness
Courtship
Friendship
Church Plant
Hope
Trusting
Gifts
Baptized
Fasting
Overcomer
Words of Wisdom
Leadership
Encounter
Repenting
Challenges
Listening
Caring for Children
Four12 Partners
Training Leaders
St Johns
Relief Fund
Building Church
Evangelist
Dreams
Communion
Being Accountable
Occupation
Rejection
Misotheism
The Case for Christ
Kingdom Priorities
Biblical Contradictions
Love
Discernment
Gospel
Mercy
Shepherding
Work
Caring
Suicide
Desires
Lies
Fathering
Vulnerability
Accountable
The Apostolic
Kids
Intercession
Singleness
Fear
lead
Life
Repent
Anxiety
Obey
Child Care
Four12 Partner
Volunteer
Taiwan Church
Israel
Healthy Church
Teacher
Multi-site Church
Perseverance
Loving Others
Profession
Social Media
Hopelessness
Lee Strobel
Kingdom Living
Refining Fire
Marriage
Discipleship
Grace
Ministry
Sin
Worship
Confusion
Trials
Husbands
Offence
Humility
Idols
Pride
Evangelising
Obedient
Christian Leadership
Singles
Healing
Direction
Revelation
Conviction
Complacency
Recalibration
Guidance
Transformation
Volunteering
Taiwan Churches
Providence
New Testament Church
Pastor
Church Structure
Feminism
Apostolic Partnership
Vocations
Distractions
Christian Books
Christian Movies
Covenantal Love
Storms of Life
resilience
steadfastness
uncompromising
Accountability
Doctrine
Healing and Miracles
Money
Social Justice
Youth
Death
Tribulations
Partner
Overcoming
Humbleness
Immorality
Prophets
Fornication
Planting A Church
Christian Leaders
Debt
The Word
Discipline
Condemnation
Bear Fruit
Complacent
Recalibrating
Teaching Kids
Partners Relief Fund
Apostolic Partnering
Netherlands
Marriage Training
Church
Apostolic Field
Administration
Racism
Church Partnering
Christian Values
Cosmological Argument
Christian Authors
Review
Husband
Apologetics
Elders
Heaven and Hell
Obedience
Spiritual Gifts
Caring for Others
Depression
Online Church
Spouse
Conflict
Meekness
Lust
Prophecy
The Gospel
Purgatory
Control
Finances
The Word of God
Modesty
Judgement
Bearing Fruit
Comfort
Divorce
Teaching Children
Four12 Partners Relief Fund
Pastors Training
The Poor
Letting Go
Values
Partnering
Heart of God
Justice
Church Partnership
Great Commission
Existence of God
Christian Literature
Old Testament
Romance
Apostles
Evangelism
Holiness
Partnership
Stewardship
Caring for People
Doubt
Church Involvement
Wife
Reconciliation
Overseers
Lying
Deception
Hell
Raising Children
Godliness
Miracles
Word of God
Ordained
Equality
Breakthrough
Defending My Faith
Covenant
Teenagers
Four12 Churches
Training Pastors
Needy
Rastafarian
Translations of the Bible
Preaching
Authentic Community
Relationship with God
Faith and Works
New Christian
Creation
Reading
Worldviews
God's Love

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