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The Word on Marriage

by Stu Johnson

Posted: April 6, 2018

Describing a successful marriage in one word…

No. 15 in the Thursday Morning Guys group series (see list)


Once again, I report from the Thursday Morning Guys group I’ve been attending at a local church. Each week one of the guys suggests a topic for discussion. The blogs that result are not minutes from the session, but an attempt to glean useful themes, to which I may add my own insights. The topic at the March 8 session focused on the subject of marriage.  

That discussion ocurred the day that I noticed problems in my right eye that turned out to be several small tears and detachment of the retina. The surgery on March 12 was successful and I’m on the road to a good recovery—but because of that there will some gaps in the reports from the Thursday Morning Guys group and this one will be abbreviated from the usual format.


Topic suggested by one of the guys, shared in an email the night before

[A good group of men attended a recent Men’s Retreat].  We were encouraged to reflect, pray, and have fun.  [A denominational leader] was the speaker of the Retreat.  Saturday night he spoke at length (with great humor) about marriage.  This should be a good topic for us (both reflection and humor).  So please allow me to pose some questions for us to explore, but let the questions not constrain the discussion:

  1. What scripture informs your perspective on marriage?
  2. Is love the central characteristic of good marriage?
  3. How does your wife know that you love her?
  4. Could you propose one word that is crucial in describing a successful marriage?
  5. What one thing could you do to improve your marriage?


For this topic (and because of the strain on time caused by my eye surgery), I have decided to concentrate on point 4—words that describe a successful marriage.  For each word, I have added one pr more comments from the discussion as well as a related verse of guidance from the Bible.  Some of the words are close in meaning, so the same Scripture may apply to more than one of the words in the list. Remember too, this list comes from a group of men. How would it differ if a group of women made such a list, or a group of married couples?

Describing a successful marriage in one word

Scripture references are from the New Living Translation, unless indicated otherwise.


    Men are easily tempted to look at other women, but heed the reminder, “look once, not twice.”

    Give honor to marriage, and remain faithful to one another in marriage. God will surely judge people who are immoral and those who commit adultery. (Hebrews 13:4)

    “Can I say in absolute truth the answer she wants?”

    The godly are directed by honesty; the wicked fall beneath their load of sin. (Proverbs 11:5)

    “Can I say in absolute truth the answer she wants?”

    Truthful words stand the test of time, but lies are soon exposed. (Proverbs 12:19)

    A successful marriage is “really, really hard work.” Half of marriages end in divorce, most don’t put in the effort.

    Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins. (1 Peter 4:8)

    Success comes not just from good connection between partners, but both with Christ.

    When there is a problem, go to the Lord.

    For the believing wife brings holiness to her marriage, and the believing husband brings holiness to his marriage. (1 Corinthians 7:14)

    You will get out what you put in. Pay attention to the little things.

    Serving your wife is putting love in action, as Christ did. Takes effort to understand person as an individual.

    Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. (Romans 12:10)

    Learn to listen.  Ask, don’t assume.

    Need to communicate through body language and words to avoid misunderstanding. Two in the group admitted they are not good at telepathy or reading signals.

    One of the guys talked about writing notes to his wife, taking time to do it thoughtfully. Another said when they both worked, he packed his wife’s lunch, and would put notes in the bag.

    “Tell her—don’t just show, but tell,” said one of the guys, who said he might still be married had he done that.

    Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. (James 1:19)

    One of the guys told of the president of a Christian college who gave up his post to care for his wife as she suffered the indignities of Alzheimer’s.

    One of the young members of the group adjusted his schedule to be able to take care of their children while his wife goes to school.

    Attractiveness of other women to be expected, but commitment means those relationships go nowhere.

    Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. (Genesis 2:24 ESV)
  9. JESUS

    As we go through good and bad times, keep focus on Christ.

    For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her. (Ephesians 5:25)
  10. FAITHFULNESS (similar to Fidelity and Commitment)

    Be faithful to your own wife and give your love to her alone.  (Proverbs 5:15 GNT)

    Also see the article “A Necessary Conversation” from the November 30, 2017 Thursday Guys session.

    Divide tasks—let wife do what she does well instead of thinking you know best.

    One of guys’ wife is a professional musician, requiring much time away from home (not unlike the accommodation that many wives make for their husband’s career).

    Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting for those who belong to the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and never treat them harshly. (Colossians 3:18-19)

    Don’t forget the goodnight kiss as you get older and more comfortable with each other.

    Don’t get so wrapped up in yourself and your manliness that you forget the different needs your wife has as a woman, and what those differences contribute to the marriage.  

    Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. (1 Corinthians 13:4-5)

    Also see the article “The Virtue of Kindness” from the November 9, 2017 Thursday Guys session.

    Put your spouse first.

    Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. (Ephesians 4;2)

    Also see the article “Humility” from the January 4, 2018 Thursday Guys session.

    Comment heard at a 25th anniversary celebration: “20 good years, not bad out of 25.”

    Since they are no longer two but one, let no one split apart what God has joined together. (from Mark 10:7-9)

About the Scripture references: unless indicated otherwise, these are taken from the New Living Translation (NLT).  Links connect to, where you can see other translations, view the broader context, listen to an audio version and find other Bible resources.  Also check the resources available in the Enrich/Faith section of this site.

In addition to the links to other articles in the Thursday Guys series noted above, you may find other useful articles in the Connections section of SeniorLifestyle.

Stu Johnson is principal of Stuart Johnson & Associates, a communications consultancy in Wheaton, Illinois. He is publisher and editor of SeniorLifestyle, writes the InfoMatters blog on his own website and contributes articles for SeniorLifestyle.

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Posted: April 6, 2018   Accessed 183 times

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