They are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.
—Matthew 19:6

If you have ever experienced a major home repair, you know several things about any renovation project. It costs more than you ever calculated, it takes longer than you ever anticipated, and it is messier than you ever imagined; but the end product is worth the effort. In a similar way, every marriage relationship has a rough patch from time to time. And when your marriage runs into difficulty, you will have to decide what you are going to do. Conventional wisdom says life is too short; just vacate the marriage and look for a better mate. But God, the architect of marriage, has a different idea. He says instead of vacating, the better choice is to renovate your relationship. Renovating a difficult relationship is costly, it is messy, and it takes time; but the end product is well worth the effort.

What does it take to renovate a relationship and build a strong marriage? One element of a strong marriage is frequent togetherness. We find this in the pattern for marriage in Genesis 2:24-25: “For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.” Now, “be joined” is rich in meaning. It means to form an unbreakable bond with another person. The primary reason for marriage is companionship. You form a physical, emotional, and spiritual bond with another person. In Genesis 2:18, God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone.” Now, Adam was hardly alone. He was surrounded by animals, and he had a perfect relationship with God, untainted by sin. Yet God says, “That is not enough. You need a companion.” That’s why God made Eve, to be a companion for Adam.

It is true that you will never be truly fulfilled in life apart from a relationship with God. But you also need human companionship. Yes, some people are single. If that’s true, you still need relationships with friends and loved ones. But for those who are married, the way we meet our need for companionship is through the mate God provides us.

Now, if the primary reason for marriage is companionship, then spouses ought to spend time together. You know, a lot of married couples live separate lives. But a strong marriage requires frequent togetherness. I encourage husbands and wives to find one night a week that you go out to eat together. This is a time you can be together without the kids and converse. To have a strong marriage, you need to spend time together.

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Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Marriage: Vacate or Renovate?” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2009.

Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.