Throughout our 37-year marriage, Ché and I have grown tremendously, overcome difficulties and trials, and have come closer together as friends, companions, and spouses. I can honestly say that we are more in love now than ever before. But it took commitment and work to get where we are today!

Marriage is meant to bring us great joy, satisfaction, and fulfillment – but we have to be intentional. In fact, we need to choose to love our spouses daily and commit to continually developing in our relationships, regardless of what season we are in. Here are 10 steps to help you evolve and love better in your covenant relationship, and to have a marriage that reflects heaven on earth.

  1. Establish: your marriage on Christ. Marriage is the covenant relationship between man and woman, created by God to bear fruit, demonstrate unity, and glorify Him. Keep Jesus the center of your relationship and you will succeed and thrive!

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word. (Ephesians 5:25-26)

  1. Remember: Christian marriage is meant to represent Christ and His Bride, the trinity, and heaven on earth. Your relationship to your spouse has a larger purpose: to represent the nature of God Himself and to bear fruit for the Kingdom! 

“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. (Ephesians 5:31-32)

  1. Learn: to understand your spouse, not to change your spouse to be like you. You are designed to complement and enhance one another through your differences and the unique way God has created both of you. This is a lifelong process of discovery, growth, and learning, not a one-time event at the beginning of your marriage!

Now the Lord God said, “It is not good (beneficial) for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper [one who balances him—a counterpart who is suitable and complementary for him.”(Genesis 2:18 AMP)

Still in love with my beautiful love! Happy Birthday Sue. I love celebrating you!

A photo posted by Che Ahn (@cheahn) on

  1. Challenge: each other mentally and spiritually. Without ongoing purpose, vision, measurable growth, and accountability, any relationship can become stale. For example, Ché and I have continually challenged each other in the area of financial generosity, and have experienced tremendous growth and fruit.

As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17)

  1. Prioritize: divine communion with Jesus. Even as you pray together, you should also be individually seeking the Lord and His presence. Your personal relationship to the Lord should always be a priority, even in seasons of busyness. This will keep your marriage strong, as the Lord directs you and molds you in those moments of encountering Him.

One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple. (Psalm 27:4)

  1. Discover: your evolving love languages, which is the way that you personally give and receive love. In different seasons of your marriage, you or your spouse may have different ways that you receive and give love. It’s important to notice and communicate about those differences, so that you both feel loved and cared for in your marriage.

Fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. (Philippians 2:2-3)

    1. Celebrate: your victories and successes together, and fight together, believing in faith to see breakthrough where you need it. Spouses should come together in victory and in trial. It’s so important to give thanks and praise to God for what He has done and what He is doing, and to contend in faith together when you are facing trials and difficulties.

Praise the LORD! Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! (Psalm 106:1)

Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.(1 Timothy 6:12)

      1. Laugh: together. It’s important to have fun with your husband or wife! Your spouse is your friend, partner, and companion- enjoy one another and learn to laugh even during challenging seasons.

Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! (Nehemiah 8:10)

      1. Maintain: physical affection. Physical touch is a primary love language and human need. Remember to show affection to your spouse—you were joined together as one flesh in your covenant of marriage. (Genesis 2:23)

And rejoice with the wife of your youth.
As a loving deer and a graceful doe,
Let her breasts satisfy you at all times;
And always be enraptured with her love. (Proverbs 5:18b,19)

      1. Communicate: clearly and honestly.  The three areas of potential stress of tension in any relationship are unresolved relational issues, financial burdens, and health problems. Maintain consistent communication and encouragement, especially through challenges. Strategize on how you can remain unified in all things. You are stronger together as one unit!

In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. (Ephesians 5:28)

I want to encourage you that even if you haven’t followed many of these principles in your relationship with your spouse, it’s never too late to begin. Seek to understand, love, and communicate with your husband or wife. As Valentines Day approaches this week, celebrate your victories and your relationship with your spouse, and trust that you can experience God’s heavenly plan for marriage. Now is a great time to set aside time together to pour into the Scripture listed above. Read my husband’s blog on 5 Key Biblical Truths for Marriage and seek God on how you can grow as a couple.

go deeper

Here are several resources to practically help you strengthen your covenant relationship to your spouse, or prepare you for marriage as a single person.

    • The Art of Marriage seminar, February 24th-25th, is a two-day event that teaches you on God’s purpose for and perspective on marriage. The seminar will equip you with practical tools to help you grow in all areas of your relationship. I encourage singles, dating couples, and married couples to attend!
    • Ché and I contributed together to Co- Powerful Partnerships in Marriage, by Dr. Dan and Linda Wilson. This book will show you how you can partner with your spouse to experience blessings and walk into your destiny- together!
    • In this message on How to Have a Healthy Marriage, my husband Ché Ahn speaks on the Biblical foundations to having a healthy, loving, and fulfilling marriage.

Sue Ahn is one of the founding pastors and apostolic leaders of HRock Church in Pasadena, California, along with her husband Ché Ahn.

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