By Dr. Julie Barrier and Dr. Roger Barrier, Crosswalk.com
Editor's Note: Dr. Roger Barrier went to be with the Lord on February 16th, 2024. Dr. Barrier's family is honoring his legacy by continuing the ministry of Ask Roger and preachitteachit.org for years to come as they share more than two thousand still-unpublished sermons and Ask Roger articles. All articles authored by Dr. Barrier that are published and republished are done posthumously.
I am getting married, but I know so many couples who get bored and frustrated with each other when the “honeymoon” wears off. My own parents have been married for 32 years. They barely talk to each other. My Mom nags my Dad, and he ignores her. I haven’t heard them laugh together in a long time. Is this what married life is like? A lot of my friends live together because they just don’t want to make a lifelong commitment. Can I really enjoy my wife for the rest of my life?
The answer to your question is a resounding YES. I am just getting ready to celebrate my 50th anniversary with my wife, Julie. We fell in love at first sight. I still feel so happy when I see her. She lights up a room. Sounds like a fairytale, right?
But marriage is not a fairytale. It is hard work. We have survived the agonizing death of a child, death threats in my ministry, serious health crises, and a litany of other challenges. We’ve also enjoyed incredible adventures. We’ve spoken at conferences in 32 countries and visited 50 more. We’ve been honored to befriend brothers and sisters in Christ around the world!
No marriage is without unbelievable obstacles. It must be met with prayer, perseverance, and faith. It’s worth the cost and commitment. I promise.
Every marriage is unique, but let us give you some biblical principles that will help you enjoy your spouse for a lifetime.
“Enjoy life with your beloved wife during all the days of your fleeting life that God has given you on earth for that is your reward.” (Ecclesiastes 9:9 NET)
First, pick the right person in the first place.
Here are some good questions to consider as you think about marriage.
1. Is he/she a Christian?
Paul speaks frankly about the importance of marrying a believer in Jesus in 2 Corinthians 6:14.
Don’t become partners with those who reject God. How can you make a partnership out of right and wrong? That’s not partnership; that’s war. Is light best friends with dark? Does Christ go strolling with the Devil? Do trust and mistrust hold hands? Who would think of setting up pagan idols in God’s holy Temple? But that is exactly what we are, each of us a temple in whom God lives.
God himself put it this way: “I’ll live in them, move into them; I’ll be their God and they’ll be my people. So leave the corruption and compromise; leave it for good,” says God. “Don’t link up with those who will pollute you. I want you all for myself. I’ll be a Father to you; you’ll be sons and daughters to me.” (The Message)
2. Ask yourself, “Why will my marriage be different and not end in divorce?”
When you marry as God intends, you are completely devoted to Christ and to your spouse. You give your life for her just as Christ gave His life for you.
And you husbands, show the same kind of love to your wives as Christ showed to the Church when he died for her, to make her holy and clean, washed by baptism and God’s Word; so that he could give her to himself as a glorious Church without a single spot or wrinkle or any other blemish, being holy and without a single fault. That is how husbands should treat their wives, loving them as parts of themselves. For since a man and his wife are now one, a man is really doing himself a favor and loving himself when he loves his wife! No one hates his own body but lovingly cares for it, just as Christ cares for his body the Church, of which we are parts. …
That the husband and wife are one body is proved by the Scripture, which says, “A man must leave his father and mother when he marries so that he can be perfectly joined to his wife, and the two shall be one.” (Ephesians 5:25-31)
3. Is my prospective spouse becoming my best friend?
Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 13:7, “If you love someone, you will be loyal to him no matter what the cost. You will always believe in him, always expect the best of him, and always stand your ground in defending him.”
Best friends are loving, loyal, protective, and supportive. They are also transparent.
My youngest daughter, Bronwyn, married her best friend. Bronwyn and Richard confided in each other. They loved spending time together. In fact, when Richard kissed her for the first time, she giggled. She said, “It felt weird to kiss my best friend.” They have been married for 22 years. “He still makes me laugh,” she says.
4. Do we pray and study the Bible together?
I met Julie when I was supply preaching at a church near my college. Julie was the pianist they assigned to help with the music. We began pastoring our first church when she was 18, and I was 20. Our whole relationship revolved around praying and studying the Bible. When I left for seminary, we studied Romans and sent our notes to each other. We still pray together every day, and we served in the same church for 38 years. Julie helped lead the worship ministry, and I preached. She sat through every sermon on most Sundays. I can’t imagine a life without loving Christ with my wife.
Second, make Jesus the center of your relationship.
Solomon was a terrible husband. But he penned great advice:
Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up. Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone? And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart. (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 NASB)
Two are better than one because they protect, strengthen, and comfort each other. The most powerful verse is verse 12: “A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”
When Jesus is in the center of your relationship, you two can weather anything. He is the glue between you two and makes you strong.
Finally, make a conscious investment of delight and enjoyment in your spouse.
Relationships sour over time if they’re not cultivated. How can you enjoy someone if you never spend time with them?
Proverbs 5:18 says, “Rejoice with the wife of your youth.”
In Song of Solomon 4:9-11, Solomon writes:
You have stolen my heart, my sister, my bride;
You have stolen my heart
With one glance of your eyes,
With one jewel of your necklace.
How delightful is your love, my sister, my bride!
How much more pleasing is your love than wine,
And the fragrance of your perfume than any spice!
Your lips drop sweetness as the honeycomb, my bride;
Milk and honey are under your tongue.
Enjoy the wonder of each other’s bodies. Show each other affection and adoration.
Julie’s parents were married for 63 years. Her mom had Alzheimer’s for the last ten years of their lives together. They eventually needed caregivers to assist them. Dad told the nurse to come later in the morning. He confessed, “I really need time alone in the morning with my wife. We are not done kissing yet.”
Now that’s how you enjoy your wife for the rest of your life!
We hope these words encourage you. We truly believe that you can cultivate love and joy in your marriage together. And we will pray for you both.
Love, Roger and Julie
Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/CherriesJD
Dr. Julie Barrier, along with her pastor-husband, Dr. Roger Barrier, have taught conferences on marriage and ministry in 35 countries. The Barriers are founders and directors of Preach It, Teach It providing free resources in 10 languages to 5 million visitors in 229 countries and territories. The Barriers pastored 35 years at Casas Church in Arizona, Julie has served as a worship minister, concert artist and adjunct professor at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary. She has authored or composed of over 500 published works.
Dr. Roger Barrier retired as senior teaching pastor from Casas Church in Tucson, Arizona. In addition to being an author and sought-after conference speaker, Roger has mentored or taught thousands of pastors, missionaries, and Christian leaders worldwide. Casas Church, where Roger served throughout his 35-year career, is a megachurch known for a well-integrated, multi-generational ministry. The value of including new generations is deeply ingrained throughout Casas to help the church move strongly right through the twenty-first century and beyond. Dr. Barrier holds degrees from Baylor University, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Golden Gate Seminary in Greek, religion, theology, and pastoral care. His popular book, Listening to the Voice of God, published by Bethany House, is in its second printing and is available in Thai and Portuguese. His latest work is, Got Guts? Get Godly! Pray the Prayer God Guarantees to Answer, from Xulon Press. Roger can be found blogging at Preach It, Teach It, the pastoral teaching site founded with his wife, Dr. Julie Barrier.
This Ask Roger article features insights from Roger's daughter, Brie Barrier Wetherbee, a sought-after Bible teacher and conference speaker, author, analyst, and Christian theologian.