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Photo by A & A Photography licensed via Creative Commons

By Dr. Harold Sala

Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.  Romans 15:7

If people did no more maintenance on their automobiles than they do on their marriages, they would be walking–not driving.  Their cars would be broken down with blown gaskets, burned valves and flat tires.

Marriage requires maintenance!  And proper maintenance is a marriage saver guaranteed to keep your husband coming home night after night and to keep your wife attractive.  The following are ten guidelines of marriage-maintenance which produces rich rewards.

Guideline #1:  Insist that the other always be first.  Selfishness–“Me first!”–does more to draw lines and create conflict than about anything else.  Needed is the attitude of generosity as opposed to selfishness.  When a person becomes infected with the “I want mine first” mentality, a marriage is headed for trouble.

Guideline #2:  Don’t sleep on conflict.  This, of course, could mean that you may go for several nights without a wink of sleep!  Conflict doesn’t go away by sleeping on it.  Avoiding talking through issues only compounds the problem.  Make it a rule to never go to sleep until what bothers you has been resolved.

Guideline #3:  Always boost the other person. Some couples love each other, yet allow sarcasm and sharp barbs to slip into their conversation.  Some intentionally belittle their mates to make them look bad.  Wrong!  It makes you look bad.  You’re the one who married that person.  It makes you look bad–plenty.

Guideline #4:  Pray together every day.  If I were to single out one very powerful habit which has made a difference with my marriage, it would be the importance of grasping hands and opening our hearts to our Heavenly Father on a daily basis.  Prayer takes the edge off.  It makes us back away from insisting on our point of view as we say, “Thy will be done!”

Guideline #5:  Don’t insist on winning every round. “Before we got married, he was Mr. Right,” said a young bride.  “But now, he is Mr. Always Right.”  In a real sense, marriage is an ongoing series of compromises involving “give and take,” not “I give and you take!”

Guideline #6:  Give your mate the freedom to be his or her own person.  Marriage should enrich and enhance the other person as a beautiful setting does to a diamond.  How is this done?  Encourage the other to develop gifts and talents.  Compliment each other.  Be sincere and genuine.  A husband or a wife has more to do with the success or failure of the other person than any other person in the world.

Guideline #7:  Love your mate now “as is” without nagging or correction.  A Yemenite Jew, never having seen an elevator, was fascinated to see an old woman walk into an elevator.  The doors closed, and a few moments later the doors opened and a beautiful young woman emerged. “Hum!” he murmured as he stroked his beard, “I t’ink I will send Sarah into ‘dat thing!'”

Love ‘em as they are with the expectancy that God will make ‘em what they ought to be!

Guideline #8:  Be the first to say, “I’m sorry; forgive me!”  But it wasn’t my fault!  Who cares?  A problem needs healing.  Take the first step.

Guideline #9:  Work on yourself first.  Some folks work so hard making over the person they married, they don’t have time to be very good husbands or wives themselves.

Guideline #10:  Enjoy today, for it is the only moment which is really yours. Who knows what tomorrow may hold?  Enjoy that cup of coffee together, the walk at sunset, the smile of your grandchildren.  It’s the moment God has given to you.  Live it to the fullest.

Resource reading: Matthew 7:24-27.

Dr. Harold J. Sala, well known speaker, author and Bible teacher, has served as founder and President of Guidelines International, Inc., since 1963. He is the featured speaker on the daily “Guidelines-A Five Minute Commentary on Living” which is broadcast on over 1,000 radio stations around the world and translated in over 15 languages. Author of over 40 books published in various languages and hundreds of publications, Harold is also a popular guest lecturer and teacher at universities such as Donetsk Christian University in Ukraine, national and international conferences, seminars, and churches. Dr. Sala earned his Ph.D. from Bob Jones University. His further graduate studies have been at the University of Southern California, California Baptist Seminary, Fuller Theological Seminary and the Conservative Baptist Seminary in Denver, Colorado. Residing in Mission Viejo, California, Harold and his wife, Darlene, have three adult children and eight well-loved grandchildren