The key to a successful marriage is building its foundation on Christ, the Rev. Billy Graham says, giving advise to husbands embarking on one of life's greatest journeys with their bride.
Graham, a 97-year-old evangelical leader and Baptist minister, shared his wise words in a post this week for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association's "My Answers" page, saying that in order to have a successful marriage, such a union must be founded in a mutual love for Christ.
To have a God-focused and God-filled marriage, both spouses must "see [their] marriage as a gift from God."
"God brought you together, and He is even more concerned about your marriage than you are. When you go through hard times as a couple (and you will), never forget that God gave your marriage to you, and He is with you," the evangelical leader advises, citing Matthew 19:6 that explains how marriage makes two people one flesh.
Another key tenant to a successful marriage is learning how to selflessly put your spouse before yourself, Graham continues.
"True love means we want what is best not for ourselves but for the other person," the Baptist minister writes, saying a good attitude is to wake up each day asking God how you can bless your significant other.
"Above all, build your marriage — and your lives — on Jesus Christ. Pray and read God's Word together, and seek His will in all things. Help and encourage each other also, and seek your wife's forgiveness when you're thoughtless or insensitive. Christ gave His life for us; learn to give your lives to each other," Graham concludes.
The influential religious leader, who is known for his international evangelical crusades, was married to his wife, Ruth, for 64 years until her death in 2007.
A Barna study from 2008 found that more born-again Christians tie the knot compared to non-Christians in the U.S., with 84 percent of evangelicals being married compared to 74 percent of those affiliated with non-Christian faiths.
The study also found that divorce is widespread in America, reporting that of all Americans who have married, 33 percent of them say they've had at least one divorce.
Those least likely to have had a divorce include Catholics at 28 percent and evangelicals at 26 percent, the survey found.
Several Christian leaders have differing opinions on divorce and whether remarriage after divorce is acceptable in the eyes of God.
In a September 2015 guest column for The Christian Post, Shane Idleman, founder and leader of Westside Christian Fellowship in Lancaster, California, wrote that he believes only God can answer the question if divorced Christians have the biblical right to marry others.
"I believe that God hates divorce; reconciliation is pleasing to Him. There are instances, in my opinion, when one is released through adultery and/or abandonment; however, reconciliation should still be sought. First and foremost, God's will is that we walk in integrity, follow His principles, use wisdom, be patient, and seek Him during the journey. For some, reconciliation may result, for others it may not," Idleman wrote.