Exercise Your Marriage Muscles

Here's some brilliance from Jimmy Evans of Marriage Today...


Once, Karen and I ran into a woman in a shopping mall. We had known her previously, but hadn't seen her in a long time.

She looked fantastic. She seemed to have lost about fifty pounds and was benefitting from a total makeover. We complimented her on how great she looked.

The woman thanked us, and admitted that she and her husband had gotten a divorce. "I knew right away that I had better get to work," she told us. If she didn't lose weight and change her appearance, she explained, she'd probably never find another husband.

Instantly I began to wonder: Why hadn't she put all that effort into looking good for her first husband? Had she done so, maybe they wouldn't be divorced. Maybe she wouldn't have to go out looking for another man.

Why is it that we'll work so hard to impress total strangers—or imagined future spouses—but won't put in the work to please the husband or wife we vowed to love and cherish for the rest of our lives?

As I mentioned last week, a successful marriage takes work. And the relationship between exercise and a healthy marriage goes far beyond just "looking good" for your husband or wife.

Think of the muscles in your body. In many ways, maintaining a healthy marriage is like exercising these muscles. Maybe you jog or ride a bike or lift weights. You put in a specific type of effort to strengthen specific parts of your body. When you exercise those muscles regularly, you become stronger in those places.

Overall, your body becomes healthier and more attractive.

But when you refuse to exercise—if you get lazy and take your health for granted—your body becomes flabby and unattractive. Your muscles weaken. You don't have much energy. It becomes easier and easier to just give up.

Staying healthy takes regular, focused effort. You don't get big muscles by lifting weights once a year. You don't lose weight by jogging a mile every three months.

Marriage is the same way. When Genesis 2:24 tells us to cleave to our spouse—to pursue him or her with great energy and zeal—it means making it a way of life. It's something we work at all the time.

Do you have specific aspects of your marriage that need to get stronger? Maybe it's how you speak to each other, or how you prioritize your time, or how you respond to hurt feelings. Identify your weak spots. Focus on those areas and work to strengthen them on a regular basis. Put in the relationship-building "exercise" with your husband or wife.

Healthy bodies are fueled by strong muscles. Healthy marriages are fueled by faithful commitment and hard work. Don't wait to shape up your marriage. Don't put off until tomorrow what you need to do today.

If you hope to have a happy and successful marriage, you're going to need to strengthen your marriage muscles. Cleave to each other. Expend energy. Pursue him or her with zeal. Before long, you'll have replaced a flabby, unhealthy marriage with a strong, fit one.


Jimmy Evans