(Clark Tanner is the Senior Pastor at Beaverton Christian Church, 13600 S.W. Allen Blvd., Beaverton. He can be contacted at 503-646-2151 or via e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..)

The secret to a successful marriage is best applied when Christ is the center part of the husband and wife relationship. Charles Haddon Spurgeon once said, 'When the home is ruled according to God's word, angels might be asked to stay with us, and they would not find themselves out of their element.'

The trouble is that many homes are not governed by God's word and instead of angels being the guest in some homes, it seems demons are the masters. Good marriages are intentional. They take commitment and most of all they take time. A marriage may be made in heaven, but just remember that it must be lived out on earth.

Is Christ at the center of your marriage? Are you modeling the Biblical teaching? Are you supporting your spouse? Christ can not be the center of your marriage if you are volunteering for everything that comes along because it takes you out of the home. We must be intentional about this one if it is going to happen. You will have to fight and claw your way if Christ is going to be central.

We must practice Christ-like communication. I tell people all the time if they can communicate they can overcome almost anything. When you are not talking you are still communicating and what you are saying is, 'I don't want to talk with you.' The average couple spends 47 hours a week in front of the TV, and only 30 minutes in total communication with each other.

Ephesians 4:2 says, 'Be patient, bearing with one another in love.' Consideration means that you pay attention to what your spouse is saying. Consideration is waiting until your wife has both legs in the car before you pull out of the driveway.

Before marriage we are considerate but after marriage it all goes out the window somehow.

The great love chapter 1 Corinthians 13 outlines compromise. Let me tell you about three things you can expect in marriage:

- You will have conflict in your marriage. You must learn how to manage conflict.

- There are some issues you will never agree upon. You are different and sometimes you will not think the same.

- Compromise is the evidence of real love. You meet in the middle and negotiate.

Courtship is an old word but it fits the other 'C' words. Proverbs 5:19 says, 'May you ever be captivated by her love.' How does one stay captivated? You spend time together. Make your relationship a priority. Enjoy each other and have fun. You must plan for it.

A key for all marriages is that you don't panic every time you hit a crisis. Sin, differences, temperament and outside pressure can push any of us into the crisis mode but remember the Christ-like commitment. Be willing to plow through the problems.

There will be battles to fight, hurdles to jump and lessons to learn but it will be worth it.

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