Friday, December 6, 2013

The Happy Marriage Formula by Gloria Copeland

Gloria Copeland
“Love endures long and is patient and kind....Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong]. Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person.... Love never fails...” (I Corinthians 13:4-5, 7-8, The Amplified Bible).

Husbands and wives, I want you to know that walking in love with one another is the bottom line to a good marriage.

The old saying, “What’s good for the goose is good for the gander” applies in marriage. To have a happy home, you both must develop a habit of walking in the love of God. It is what will cause your marriage to be blessed. It is what will cause you to have a good life—a life worth living.

God desires for your life and marriage to be like days of heaven on earth. And that is possible...when you do things God’s way and obey His commands

I know it’s possible because Ken and I have been married more than 43 years, and we have never been happier! The longer we live together, the better it gets because we have come into agreement about the way we live our lives. We see things the same way now—almost everything!

The result is truly days of heaven on earth.

Ken and I desire for you to have that, too. We desire for you to have a happy, blessed home and family. We want to encourage you to know that it is possible when you apply the principles found in the Bible.

In the Word of God, there is what I consider to be a happy marriage formula. It’s found in I Corinthians 13. This passage of scripture teaches us many things about walking in love. Verses 1-2 reveal the importance of love. It says: “If I [can] speak in the tongues of men and [even] of angels, but have not love…I am only a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers…and understand all the secret truths and mysteries and possess all knowledge, and if I have [sufficient] faith so that I can remove mountains, but have not love (God’s love in me) I am nothing (a useless nobody)” (The Amplified Bible).

If we do not have love, we cannot be spiritual adults. We may have the gifts of the spirit operating in our lives, but if we don’t have love and we aren’t walking in love with others—we are useless nobodies! Nothing we do counts! That’s how important love is.

So we must understand how to walk in love.

To begin with, we must recognize that the love of God is unselfish.

Have you ever noticed that selfish people are never happy? And here’s why: They are always thinking about themselves instead of others. They are always striving to get their needs met and get what they want.

The Bible tells us it is in giving that we receive (Luke 6:38). Unselfish people walk in love and are always looking for ways to bless others (including their spouses). They are sowing love and they will reap love. These people will live in happiness, joy and peace.

I Corinthians 13:5 says love “does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking” (The Amplified Bible).

Demanding our own way is not how we walk in love.

One important key to having a happy marriage is being unselfish—it will make all the difference!

Be Adaptable!

Another key to developing a great marriage is learning to be adaptable.

Ephesians 5:21-22 in The Amplified Bible says, “Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ.... Wives, be subject (be submissive and adapt yourselves) to your own husbands as [a service] to the Lord.”

Ken and I were very different when we were first married, and we had to learn how to be subject to one another. In other words, we both had to do whatever it took to have a happy marriage! We had to adapt.

I’m sure we are not alone in this. A person often marries someone who has a personality very different from his own. I think I know why that was true in our lives—I needed Ken and he needed me. He was more capable in a lot of things, and I was more capable in other ways. We were two totally different human beings who didn’t think alike or act alike. We had to adapt to one another and learn to value our differences. Interestingly, over the years, we have grown more alike!

I dare say that if I couldn’t have adapted, Ken and I would not be together now. The ability and willingness to adapt is one thing it takes to stay together.

It seems to me that many younger wives today have not learned the importance of this. The Scripture plainly says wives are to “adapt” to their husbands. But nowadays people have a selfish mindset. Being submissive and adapting is not something women of this generation have been taught.

Nonetheless, the Bible says we are to “Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One)” (Ephesians 5:21, The Amplified Bible). This is not just a verse for wives! We are to learn to yield to one another in the love of God.

Now I’m not advocating that a wife should submit to a husband who beats her and abuses the children, or anything of that nature. I’m talking about submitting as a give-and-take attitude in everyday life.

This is not something that’s learned overnight. I didn’t learn to be adaptable the first week I was married, but rather I learned it over the years.

Make it a point to be adaptable. Be willing to submit to one another. It’s part of your love walk. It’s part of a happy marriage.

Practice the Love of God

In marriage you have to practice walking in the love of God. It doesn’t come naturally, but supernaturally as you obey the Holy Spirit and the written Word. I Corinthians 13 is our guidepost for love. And verse 5 is perhaps the greatest marriage scripture I have ever found about how to walk in love. It says love is “not touchy or fretful or resentful...[it pays no attention to a suffered wrong]” (The Amplified Bible).

This verse helped me so much when I was just learning to walk in love! Today it is ingrained in my spirit. It’s not even hard to do anymore—it’s a way of life. When I first read this scripture years ago and it became a revelation to me, I wrote this verse on little cards and put them up where I could see them.

When I would want to get mad, I would say, “I walk in love. I’m not touchy, fretful or resentful.” I did that over and over until I learned not to respond in anger. I did whatever it took to get these words working in my life!

Today they still help me stay on track. If I begin to get mad and yield to temper, I think about this scripture. I think it’s advisable to keep I Corinthians 13 before you all the time—I do! My life is changed as a result.

Remember, you have to practice the love of God. Some people practice anger. They are mad at everyone and everything around them. Being angry has become a habit in their lives.

As born-again children of God, our habit should be to yield to the nature of the Spirit of God in us. His nature is love—we must decide to yield to that!

Love Forgives

Love doesn’t hold a grudge. Love is not touchy, fretful or resentful. Love forgives. If you desire to have a happy marriage, you must forgive one another.

Someone once said that refusing to forgive someone and expecting things to go well with you is like drinking poison and thinking the other person is going to die. It just doesn’t work that way. Unforgiveness doesn’t hurt the other person—it hurts you. When you forgive, however, you are set free.

Forgiving is a very significant part of love. We can be habitual forgivers because God has forgiven us so much.

I Corinthians 13:13 in The Amplified Bible defines love as “true affection for God and man, growing out of God’s love for and in us.”

As we love God, we are able to love the people around us, even when it isn’t easy.

It may be hard to believe, but in the early years of our marriage Ken would occasionally do something I didn’t like. I was learning to walk in love, so instead of getting outwardly angry, I just wouldn’t respond, even though I was really aggravated! I didn’t forgive. By not responding I was just covering up my disobedience to the Word. But I knew the truth, and so did the Lord.

You see, walking in love is not a matter of just holding your tongue. It means not being touchy, fretful or resentful. It means paying no attention to a suffered wrong.

Love is a matter of what is in your heart.

I learned that. I discovered when I didn’t respond in love I became my own worst enemy. No one comes out on top by staying in strife.

In marriage, it’s vital for a husband and wife to walk in love and have respect for the other’s opinions. Today, Ken and I are living proof it can be done. However, we would not be where we are in our marriage if both of us had not been determined to obey the Word where love is concerned.

Walking in love is our law. That is our command. We know we cannot please God unless we love everybody—including each other.

So if you find yourself being touchy, fretful or resentful, know that you’re out of the will of God. It is as simple as that.

Choose to forgive and walk in love, and have a happy marriage!

Take the Word Literally—Do It!

To improve your marriage—your life—you must take the Word of God literally and actually do what it says.

Ken and I were Spirit-filled Christians for quite a while before we discovered this truth. Of course, we had been changed on the inside the moment we were born again. But, we didn’t immediately experience a significant change in our lives outwardly. We were still selfish, miserable and defeated. It wasn’t until we began to take the Word literally and apply it that our lives dramatically changed.

We have learned to put I Corinthians 13 in our hearts, speak it out our mouths and expect ourselves to come up to that standard. Do we always do everything it says? No. But the more we yield to it, the more we progress.

Over the years, we have gotten better and better at walking in love. When we get out of love, we repent quickly. We refuse to allow unforgiveness and strife in our lives. We refuse to open that door to the enemy.

Walking in the love of God locks out the enemy, who has come to steal, kill and destroy. Love opens the door to the Lord Jesus Christ, who has come that you “may have and enjoy life” (John 10:10, The Amplified Bible).

If you want to live a good and happy life, and you want the blessings of God to flow in your life, then go after and eagerly pursue the love of God. I Corinthians 14:1 says, “Eagerly pursue and seek to acquire [this] love [make it your aim, your great quest]...” (The Amplified Bible).

Eagerly pursuing love is a path I recommend for everyone. According to I Corinthians 13:5-7, love “takes no account of the evil done to it…. Love bears up under anything and everything that comes....”

That means nothing is going to come across your path that love won’t conquer.

Think about that.

When you walk in the Word of God and keep the commandment of love, every door to good is open—and every door to evil is closed! The devil won’t have any place to work in your life.

Obey the Word and things will go well with you. If you do what the Lord says, you will have a good, long life.

Love is so powerful. The Bible says, “Love never fails.” If you’ll walk in love, you won’t fail either. When you follow God’s ways, you’re on the way to the best life possible!

Everything—including having a happy marriage and a happy home—depends on walking in love.

About the Author

Gloria Copeland is a New York Times Bestselling author, teacher and minister of the gospel. She and her husband, Kenneth, co-founded Kenneth Copeland Ministries in Fort Worth, Texas-in 1967.

Gloria preaches worldwide the truth and freedom she has found in God, sharing honest, straightforward messages about how the Word of God has taken her from a life of failure and defeat to a life of victory. As a wife, mother, grandmother and vice president of an international ministry, Gloria is well-acquainted with the challenges people face today and is well-equipped to show them where to find answers to success and the fulfillment of God’s plan for their lives.

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