The Secrets to a Secure Marriage


Gary Smalley shares his views on the key to a secure marriage.

Studies have shown various stages of love such as—the delight of infatuation, the challenge of post-rapture, the excitement of discovery, or the blessings of connection. No matter what stage of love you are in, the key to dealing with the inevitable changes inherent in each is to focus on creating a secure environment for your relationship.

All the behavioral skills in the world won’t pump life back into an ailing marriage if the couple doesn’t trust each other, if they don’t feel safe, unconditionally loved, valued, and understood. In fact, some couples I’ve counseled used their newfound communication skills to fight more effectively. Now, I’m not saying marriage skills aren’t helpful. I teach them frequently through seminars, interviews and books I have written. What I am saying is that unless couples feel emotionally safe, close, cherished, and respected, all the skill building books and conferences in the world will fail to help them build the kind of marriage God wants for them.

And just what is the secret to building this kind of marriage? Unconditionally love. Love without condemnation. It’s the hardest kind of love to give, but the one that brings all the blessings you can hold. Would you like one good reason why you should love that blundering, frustrating, badly flawed spouse of yours unconditionally? It’s simple…because he or she needs it. When a baby is born, we love that child because he needs it. When people are starving, we feed them because they are hungry. When a friend is in emotional distress, we comfort her. And that’s the reason Jesus expressed His unconditional love for us on the cross. . .because we needed it.

He didn’t require anything from us first. As He said, even “sinners” love the people who love them. The real test is how well we love someone who does not love us well. That is the true calling of Christ (Luke 6:32-33). A safe marriage is one in which each partner loves the other simply because he or she needs it. That is the best kind of love and the secret to a secure marriage.

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