I’ve only been married for 11 months, so I am definitely no expert on marriage, and have a lot to learn. It does help that I have had godly examples to look to in both sets of grandparents, my parents, and aunts and uncles. Each of these Christ-centered relationships has helped shine a light into what it means to run the race and run it well. None of these relationships are perfect, but they all continually point towards God’s goodness and faithfulness, and I’d like to think that because of the example they’ve set before me, I had a solid, fighting chance to do my marriage the right way from the start.

In preparation for this lifelong union, I wasted no time, diving into what God’s word has to say about marriage, both through the Bible and through Christian books about marriage from many of the world’s leading experts on the topic. Marriage is something I did not take lightly, and I definitely did not want to go in blindly. I wanted to walk into it with as much knowledge and foresight as possible.

While reading in the book of Proverbs, I came across this:

By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.
— Proverbs 24: 3–4

This really got me thinking… What kind of house are we building? Are we living our lives in such a way that we are building one another up, or are we slowly tearing each other down? Are our words and actions speaking life into one another? Are we displaying grace and love and providing the support and encouragement that the other person needs? If we fail at doing these things, the marriage will lack joy, passion, fulfillment, growth and so much more.

It is our job to cultivate and care for this marriage with everything that we have and that all starts with a solid foundation. Keeping Christ as the cornerstone is the best place to start. Life is unpredictable and often unfair. Jobs change, sickness can occur, finances can be tough, but if you are built on a solid foundation and keep each other rooted in Christ’s wisdom, it becomes much easier to rise above the circumstances and grow closer together in the midst of it all.

When Will (my husband) and I have a disagreement, if there’s one valuable lesson that we have learned, it’s that the words we use and the way we speak to one another can simmer down the fire or pour gasoline on top.

Gentle words bring life and health; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.
— Proverbs 15:4

It does not matter what we are arguing about or who is right. The words we speak can completely steer the conversation one way or another.

Knowing this — and knowing that Christ is our cornerstone — can significantly help to calm the raging fire that we are consumed with in that moment. Marriage is so much more than a bundle of fleeting feelings and physical sensations. There is an inner core to a godly marriage, one that is rooted in Christ. Because of this solid foundation, it can withstand the storms that life throws at us with grace, compassion and love.