Ingredients of a Healthy Marriage

October 10, 2017 | Pastor Matt Poorman

I remember when one of my colleagues asking me, “Don’t you and Leah get sick of each other? I mean…you wake up together, come to work together, you go home together, & spend every night together. Don’t you get sick of each other?” To which I honestly answered, “No.”  My wife, Leah, and I started dating when I was a Freshman in High School and she was in 8th grade. Now, we have been married for 14 years (15 years in March) and have been together for 22 years. We have been through the best of times & the worst of times together and I can honestly say that I married and get to do life with my best friend!

If you know me, you know I am a pretty passionate guy.  I am passionate about God, about my wife, and my kids. I want to be a good follower of Jesus, husband, and Dad!  

Now, we aren’t perfect nor is our marriage, but I do think we’ve been pretty successful at this marriage thing in a culture where it seems marriages, even among Christians, seem to be falling apart everywhere.  So much so, that recently we looked at each other and asked ourselves, “Since we are happily married and doing well - does that make us the weird ones?” As it seems like marriage failure is the norm.

And so, over the past few months, I have been asking myself what are the ingredients that help Leah and I maintain a good marriage.  Several came to mind, but here are a couple…

We know it’s work & we work it!


Leah and I don’t pretend that doing life together is easy. It is work, sometimes hard work, and requires us to be attentive and put energy weekly/daily into the covenant we’ve made with each other…even sometimes when we’d rather not. We choose to engage in the work we’ve committed to with each other. It’s easy to be deceived by social media when we see posts and pictures of our friend’s seemingly perfect lives and think that everyone else’s marriage must be easy, but the truth is that their posts are a highlight reel and they aren’t a true depiction of reality.

I heard someone once say that in a world where people think the grass is greener on the other side, the reality is the grass is only greener where you water it….so when it comes to your marriage…water it!  

They say that a man’s deepest relational need is respect and a woman’s deepest relational need is love. Men, it’s simple, but it’s not always easy: work at loving your wife! And, women, though simple, but not easy: work at respecting your husbands.  Furthermore, figure out what fuels your spouse’s love tank (Quality Time, Gifts, Words of Affirmation, Physical Touch, Acts of Service) and work at regularly doing it.

I know one of the ways I can love my wife is to take her on a date and out to eat. It makes her feel special and it means that she doesn’t have to cook or clean the kitchen☺ As a result, we have weekly Friday Breakfast dates together!  It’s a simple thing, but it's an important task for me to be attentive enough to do.

How well are you “working it” in your marriage? Galatians 6:9, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”


We keep falling in love…with Jesus!

God asked me a few years ago, “Matt, do you love me more than you love Leah?” I wanted to say yes, but I knew that wasn’t the case.  Loving God more than my wife was something I truly desired, but I wasn’t sure how to go about that.

As a result of that, Leah and I began to say to one another, “I want you to love God more that you love me.” And we meant it and still mean it. We really do want each other to love God way more than we love each other.

In their book, “You and Me Forever” Francis & Lisa Chan write, “In our culture, marriage-centered marriages have become accepted and applauded rather than Christ-centered ones.” I think this is true.  When we can live out our marriages where falling more in love with Jesus is the priority, falling in love with each other will come naturally. God is love and when we are in close proximity to Him, love rubs off on us and trickles down to those in our lives, especially our spouses & kids.  

And so, for the Poorman’s, we talk about Jesus together, pray together, read scripture together, and working out our own personal spiritual lives is crucial, highly encouraged, and a focus in our home.

Are you loving Jesus more than you love your spouse? Matthew 22:37-38, “Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.

Though Leah and I are not perfect nor is our marriage, I hope you found these ingredients helpful.  They are keys for our life to be what it is today and for us to live a successful married life.  So…do you want to be weird? Chase being happily married, go after it, go against the norm — it’s worth it!  

 Matt Poorman is the Campus Pastor of the Grape Road Campus. He is responsible for the overall Spiritual Health of families and volunteers that attend the campus including children’s ministry, student ministries, & adult ministries