1. The Church
Embed your marriage in the church.
Now, I base that on everything I’ve just been saying for the last five minutes or so. Don’t rest until you have woven your marriage and your lives into a wider family of mature saints who want to go hard after God with you and make each others’ marriages all they can be for God.
Read a few solid, biblical books on marriage.
No fluffy ones with near pop psychology. Here’s my suggestion: read them out loud together. Sit on the couch and read them out loud together. Take turns reading back and forth, or whoever reads best can just read it out loud.
Put the children to bed by 7:30pm. If you’re objecting, “well, we’ve got kids. Don’t you know we have kids?” No, I do know you have kids. It can be done. Hey world, hey young parents, children can be put to bed at 7:30. They will do it. You can make them do it. They’ll get used to it. Then you have two hours to do important things like sit on the couch and read and pray together about marriage — not waste it on television.
Husband, take responsibility for all of this.
Now, taking responsibility doesn’t mean doing all that needs to be done to make a marriage what it ought to be. That’s not going to work. Rather, taking responsibility means owning the challenge that when something is broken, your calling is not figuring out whether it’s her fault. Your calling is to overcome your frustration, your self-pity, your anger, and your withdrawal, and do all you can to move things forward. And keep on doing this until one of you is dead.
You never get a pass on Christlike burden-bearing. That’s what headship is. You never get a pass. You never say, “I’m sick of this. There’s no response to it.” No pass.
If one of you dies, then you’re free. This is one of the hardest jobs in the world. That’s why God gave it to you, man: not because she can’t do it — of course she can — but because Christ-modeling men want to lift this burden for her.
4. Date Your Wife
Husbands, plan a weekly date that is at least partly a state-of-the-marriage conversation.
Draw her out. Find out what she’s seeing and feeling about the state of the marriage. Talk through steps to make things better — better schedule, better discipline of the kids, better sex, better hospitality, better financial stewardship.
Talk it through. Bring it up. Draw her out. Schedule, once a week, a state-of-the-marriage lunch.
Wives, encourage him in every fruitful way in all the efforts of this kind of initiative-taking. Find out what energizes his spiritual leadership, and invest in it.
6. On Your Knees
Finally, pray together every day.
Not just the two of you at dinner with the kids — not just at meals or in a family relationship. Here’s the amazing summary of husbands and wives together according to Peter: “Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered” (1 Peter 3:7).
God is the key to your marriage and its proper and due place of prominence. Seek him together.