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In the Beginning
When Carolyn and I first married, we were like two little sticks of dynamite with short fuses. We were both very independent, very selfish, and self-centered. I wanted my way and she wanted hers. And neither of us was willing to give.

We didn't know how to communicate. We just fought. The only way you could tell who won an argument was by the one still standing.

We moved into a little garage apartment next door to her uncle who was a detective. And on one occasion, we fought so badly that she chased me out of that little apartment into the front yard with an iron skillet.

She was chasing me, yelling, and I mean fire was in her eyes. She was determined to put me out of my misery. The only thing I could think of to keep her off of me was to turn the water hose on her!

There we were out in the front yard, she's shaking an iron skillet at me, I'm protecting myself with a water hose, and her uncle, the detective, is looking out the window shaking his head at us. Needless to say, we didn't know how to communicate. Had it not been for the grace of God during those first three years of our marriage, we wouldn't have stayed together.

In 1992, a government survey reported that one-half of all marriages in the United States end in divorce within five years. These are the same people who stood before God, family and friends, swearing, taking an oath to love until death do they part. And yet, within five years, over fifty percent of those people have already divorced.

The reason so many marriages end in divorce is because of a lack of understanding going into the marriage covenant. God says, "My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge."

When Carolyn and I got married, we didn't know anything. I was nineteen years old and she was seventeen. She had only been out of high school two months when we got married. I had been in college for two years so I had a little experience away from home, but knew nothing about marriage.

My parents didn't sit me down and say, "Now these are the things you'll need to know about marriage." The only thing my dad asked was, "Do you know what groceries cost? Do you know what a light bill costs?" All we knew was that we were in love, and we wanted to be married.

Get Knowledge
Knowledge is power and the more knowledge you have about something before you go into it, then the greater position of advantage you are in. I think one of the areas that couples are lacking the most is the realization that marriage is more giving than receiving.

Giving is the cardinal law of God in every area of human existence, including marriage. That's just a part of love. Love is action. There's no such thing as love without giving. The Word says in John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that He gave…."

Husbands, if you so love your wives, then you should have a giving nature toward her. Wives, if you so love your husbands, then you should be willing to give to him. That's just the cardinal law of God. Giving is the only way that a relationship can remain strong and powerful.

Ephesians 5:25 says, "Husbands love your wives even as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it." You never find real love without the act of giving. Unfortunately, many people go into marriage with a take or a receiving mentality rather than a giving mentality.

I'm not talking about only giving gifts and things, even though that's a vital part of marriage, but I'm referring to being willing to give your life.

Husbands and wives are not only supposed to be marriage partners, but they are supposed to be best friends. Jesus said, in John 15:13, "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. What does it mean to lay down your life?" It simply means being willing to put your interests and your desires aside and be willing to take on the desires and the wants of your mate.

It means being willing to put aside everything that you hold dear and important, to be willing to share in what your mate holds dear and considers important. When both parties demand their own way, then obviously disharmony, division and even the possibility of divorce is the result.

There have been times in my life when I have not allowed Carolyn to be my number one priority. I made the ministry priority and, if I had any time left after ministry, she got it. That's backwards. The most important thing in my life is my wife. She makes my ministry what it is. She makes my ministry better. She is the reason I'm successful.

The most intimate communication is face to face. However, most marriages communicate "face to the back of the head." In that case, you are not receiving undivided attention. Communication is not talking only. It is equally as important to listen when communicating. We must learn to be good listeners in our marriage.

Christ loves the church. He laid down His life for us, He provides for us, and He's a good listener. How many times have you talked to Him and didn't have His undivided attention? None. There are a lot of people trying to get Jesus' attention, but not one time has He said, "Could you just wait a minute. I'm busy with someone else right now." No, we always have His undivided attention.

It's easy for me to get caught up in what I'm doing because I love my work, and the next thing I know, I haven't given my wife the quality time that she needs.

Yes, God wants us to be diligent. Yes, He wants us to be faithful. Yes, He's against us being lethargic, apathetic, and lazy. But He never intended for us to get so caught up in our jobs that our family suffers because of it. In order to love your wife as Christ loved the church it means you must be willing to give more than you receive. It means laying down your life. It means being willing to set aside things that you think you cannot do without.

For men, that's probably one of the most difficult things to deal with. We tend to think that all the work we do is part of being a good provider, but if it's not brought into balance, then it can be the very thing Satan uses to cause the marriage to erode and be destroyed. If you lose your wife over it, if you lose your children over it, then what have you gained?

A New Giving Mentality
I just want to encourage you to get rid of the "take" and "receive" mentality in your marriage and start thinking "give." Be willing to lay down your life for your mate. Notice the Word says, "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church," but I can't find anywhere in the Bible where it says, "Wives love your husbands."

Now the principle is there; the idea is there, but the command is not. However, when a man loves his wife like Christ loves the church, then the wife will inevitably respond in love. She will want to love.

We all could stand a little improvement. We all could use a little fine tuning. Just remember that the most important person in your life is the mate that God has hand-picked for your life. Learn to compliment each other. Draw from each other's strengths instead of magnifying one another's weaknesses.

I believe if we'll listen to what God is saying to us, then we can cause our marriages to become so strong and so powerful that the devil will absolutely hate to see us wake up in the morning, praise God!!

So start thinking of ways to give more to your mate. Give a hug in the morning, give a listening ear in the evening, give time to each other, and most of all, give the gift of love. And watch what happens. Your marriage will become wonderful and an inspiration to others.

Copyright © Jerry Savelle Ministries International
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Author Biography

Jerry Savelle
Web site: Jerry Savelle Ministries International
Dr. Jerry Savelle was an average, blue-collar man who was struggling and needed God's help. While he considered himself a "nobody," when he became a believer God told him not to worry about it because He was a master at making champions out of nobodies. God has since taken Dr. Savelle from being a constant quitter to a man who knows how to stand on the Word of God until victory is experienced. Because of the life-changing combination of God's faithfulness and Dr. Savelle's "no quit" attitude, his life is totally different than it was thirty-eight years ago.

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