5 Stages of a Christ-Centered Marriage

“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh..” Genesis 2:24

Relationships are always changing. There is no such thing as staying the same. Most marriages experience five distinct stages of growth. Couples that follow God’s design can avoid many of the pitfalls that other marriages experience throughout these stages. No matter where you are in your relationship, God can make all things new when you start doing things His Way! Here is a picture of the five stages of a Christ-centered marriage:

Stage One:  Passion prevails.
Newlyweds viewing their physical intimacy as a special gift from God have abstained from premarital sex. They now enjoy a healthy, passionate sex life without any baggage. They seek to keep Christ at the center of their marriage through praying together, thus building a spiritual intimacy and oneness together.

Stage Two:  We deal with incompatibilities.
As reality sets in, couples begin to notice their differences. Rather than becoming frustrated that they’ve married the wrong person, they are able to effectively deal with their incompatibilities. Following biblical principles, they have effective tools to get back on track quickly when conflicts arise. They continue to keep Christ at the center of their marriage and have joined a supportive small group. They seek God’s will in the decisions of their life by praying, studying God’s Word, and seeking counsel from other Christians.

Stage Three:  We appreciate our differences.
Couples have developed good relationships with Christian couples whom they respect. This has helped them better appreciate how their gender differences and distinct personalities enhance their relationship. When they don’t see eye-to-eye, they embrace that they are both made in the image of God and work towards resolution. They protect themselves from the threat of an affair by respecting appropriate boundaries. As they continue studying the Bible together, they grow in the knowledge of what it means tolove like Christ. They have learned to speak fluently in each other’s Love Languages.

Stage Four:  Our marriage is growing.
By now, couples are comfortable sharing their feelings, praying together, enjoying regular date nights and a robust sex life. They work together toward common goals. Finding new ways to have fun together is a priority. Disagreements are infrequent and less intense. They live more peaceably because they understand and practice forgiveness readily. They have learned to minister to one another’s needs through love and respect.

Stage Five:  A marriage better than we dreamed possible!
Couples have a shared history and a sense of accomplishment. They reflect back with appreciation on the many ways that God has blessed their marriage. If they had children, they are older now, and they enjoy a more relaxed connection with them. They have a rich prayer life together. Because they have kept Christ at the center of their lives, they have not experienced the fears, hurts, and scars of many marriages. They have developed long-term, meaningful Christian friendships. They have more time to devote to ministry opportunities. They thank God daily for giving them such a wonderful partner with whom to share life.

If your marriage doesn’t match the portrait above, don’t lose heart. Start by praying together.

May God bless and keep you in His loving care!

Ed and Angie Wright

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