How to Have a Joyful Marriage – Part 2: Trust and Follow God’s Ways

Last week we discussed how God created marriage and intended from the beginning for us to enjoy it. He wants us to be happy in our marriage. He wants us to have fun together as a couple.

Sabra and I believe this. It’s why we have included on this website a “Simply Fun” section. We enjoy our marriage and hope you do, too.

God definitely wants us to have joy in our lives, and that includes our marriage.

Paul writes in Romans 15:13: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

This verse tells us that it is God who fills us with “all joy.” He does this as we “trust in Him. The beginning of that trust comes when we give our life to Jesus as our Savior and Lord.

When we give ourselves to Jesus, we receive the gift of salvation, which includes the Holy Spirit coming to live in us forever. Then we “overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” The Holy Spirit also provides us with many gifts from God—including joy (see Galatians 5:22-23).

We ended last week by noting God has included several books in His Bible which focus on the wisdom we need to have the joyful lives he intends for us. This includes wisdom for a joy-filled marriage. These books are Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon.

Except for Psalms, all of these books are attributed to Solomon–the second king of Israel. We read what God promised him in 1 Kings 3:11-12: “So God said to him, ‘Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, 12 I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be.’”

God gave Solomon great wisdom. He included this wisdom in his biblical writings. But Solomon did not always live by the wisdom God gave him. And he paid for it with some terrible consequences. We can, however, look to his writings—which are inspired by God–to discover wisdom for our lives and marriage.

The first passage we will look at is Ecclesiastes 9:9: “Enjoy life with your wife, whom you love, all the days of this meaningless life that God has given you under the sun—all your meaningless days. For this is your lot in life and in your toilsome labor under the sun.”

Did you notice that last part? It mentions that life is hard…”toilsome.” We all know this. And we’ve likely heard others state the same.

For instance, actress Katharine Hepburn is quoted as saying, “Life is hard. After all it kills you.”

And screenwriter David Gerrold (best known for writing for the original Star Trek series) is credited with writing, “Life is hard. Then you die. Then they throw dirt in your face. Then the worms eat you. Be grateful it happens in that order.”

A somewhat humorous take on this biblical truth.

But while God’s Word acknowledges life can be difficult, it also states it doesn’t have to drag us down. If we choose to follow Jesus as our Lord and Savior and follow His ways in our life—and marriage—we can be blessed and have a life full of rejoicing.

Now look back at the first part of Ecclesiastes 9:9: “Enjoy life with your wife, whom you love.”

A similar passage is found in Proverbs 5:18: “May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth.”

Both of these passages tell us to enjoy life with our spouse. And when God says the same thing twice in two places in the Bible, we had better pay close attention. For when God repeats Himself, it is to emphasize His teaching.

You will have a blessed life when you “rejoice in the wife of your youth.” And when you do this, you will “enjoy life with your wife whom you love.” Though these verses are written specifically to husbands, their truths can be applied to wives with their husbands as well.

As we follow God’s teaching on marriage as He reveals in His Word, we can know it will bring us a joyful marriage.

It is up to us, as it was up to Solomon, to decide whether we will follow God’s wisdom or not. If we do follow His wisdom, we will have the happy, joyful marriage he intends. But to do this, we must obey God’s instructions in James 1:22: Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”

And this begins with faithfulness to each other in mind and body.

Solomon writes this at the beginning of his teaching on marriage in Proverbs 5: “Drink water from your own cistern, running water from your own well. 16 Should your springs overflow in the streets, your streams of water in the public squares? 17 Let them be yours alone, never to be shared with strangers” (Proverbs 5:15-17).

God always intended for marriage to be between one man and one woman for life. Jesus reminds us of this in Matthew 19:4-6: “‘Haven’t you read,’ he replied, ‘that at the beginning the Creator “made them male and female,” and said, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh”? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.’”

God wants us to be thankful and content with the spouse He has blessed us with. He says to us in Hebrews 13:5: “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you’” (bold mine).

We can be content even when we face problems. To be sure, there will be difficult times even in the best marriage because we are both sinners living in a sin-stained world. But we can still be content in our marriage because of God’s presence and promises.

At times, this life may seem “meaningless” (as stated in Ecclesiastes 9:9), but it is the “life that God has given you.” And He wants you to find joy in it. One of the main ways He provides to bring that about is to “enjoy life with your wife, whom you love.”

But to have that joy, you must remain faithful to God and His Word. Let the words of the prophet Jeremiah become your prayer: “When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight for I bear your name, Lord God Almighty” (Jeremiah 15:16).

God’s teachings on marriage will bring joy to us and our marriage when we bear His name—the name of Jesus our Savior.

Anne F. Beiler is a Christian businesswoman who grew up in an Old Order Amish family in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. She is the founder of Auntie Anne’s Pretzels. She wrote: “My philosophy is: Life is hard, but God is good. Try not to confuse the two.”

This is a good word for all of us and our marriages. God’s goodness is why we can be sure He wants us to have joyful marriages. And, indeed, we will when we follow His Word.

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♦   Read this week’s teaching together. What did God teach you through it?

♦   Solomon was a man to whom God gave His wisdom. But Solomon did not always live by that wisdom. We must commit our lives to Jesus if we are going to have joyous marriages based on God’s wisdom. If you have never done that you can find out how here: Meet Jesus.

♦   Are you content with your spouse and your life? If not, why do you think this is so? Has God not provided everything you need? Do you want to say to God that He has not provided you with everything you need to be joyful? Thank God for what you do have–including your salvation and your spouse–not for what you don’t have. See if that changes your perspective. Remember what God has done for you: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). Thinking about all of this should help bring contentment, thankfulness, and joy.

♦   Close your time in prayer. Thank God for the gift of His Son Jesus and for the gift of your marriage. Thank Him for the joy that both bring. Ask Him to help you be content in Jesus and with each other no matter what your circumstances may be.

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Next week we will look at more truths God has provided for us through the wisdom He gave to Solomon.

Until then, may God bless you and your marriage in all His wonderful ways,

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Photo by Clarisse Meyer on Unsplash , (CC0), cropped/text added.


About David Penley

A devoted husband and father, former pastor and seminary professor, who longs to grow closer to the likeness of Christ each day and share God's love and truth with everyone.