Keys to a lasting marriage: Love, communication and forgiveness

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Someone once wrote, "Happy is the man who finds a true friend, and far happier is he who finds that true friend in his wife." When you think of spending time with your best friend, who comes to your mind? Is it your spouse? What does it take in today's world with so many distractions to build marriages to last a lifetime? I believe there needs to be a focus on three key things: love, communication and forgiveness.

The Bible in John 15:13 states, "Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends." Christ showed us he considered us friends when he gave his life for us. If you are married reading this article or dating someone seriously, ask yourself this question: Do I love my spouse enough to give my life for them? Your answer to that question and how you practice it can be a predictor of success or failure of your relationships. Make a commitment to show sacrificial love to your spouse.

Communication is one of the big rocks in marriages. Effective communication should be a focus in your marriage. Our communication should be driven by Ephesians 4:29: "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." When words are spoken do they build others up?

In the Bible, we can read the following: "For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you." (Matthew 6:14) Have you forgiven your spouse for past hurts? In the heat of an argument do you bring the hurt back up? If you answered "yes" to that last question, I ask again have you truly forgiven him or her? Clearly we read in this Scripture, when we forgive others God is willing to forgive us.

Today, may we be challenged to focus on sacrificial love, encouraging communication and extraordinary forgiveness in our marriages. Next week, we will talk about having proper focus with our neighbors.

Family Encouragement Corner is a weekly inspirational thought from Richard Holmes. Holmes serves as a chaplain at Shaw Air Force Base.

The opinions expressed in this article do not express the views of Shaw Air Force Base or the United States Air Force. For more information regarding Family Encouragement Corner or to offer your suggestions or comments please feel free to email familyencouragement2016@gmail.com.