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by Charles R. Swindol

In a day when half of all marriages fail, we all need insight that stands the test of time. We need wisdom from Scripture to equip us to transform our own union from a lackluster contract into an intimate and exciting relationship.

Whether you’re recently engaged, just realizing the honeymoon is over, or celebrating your golden anniversary, Insight for Living remains committed to helping couples cultivate honesty, exhibit grace, and experience a joy and intimacy in marriage that they never thought possible.

Let’s Consult the Architect

One of the most beautiful blueprints ever designed has been God’s plan for marriage. Established before there was any sin in the world, marriage illustrates God’s perfect design for relationships.

Let’s consult the architect for three ways to live in this wonderful establishment called marriage. We’ll use Proverbs 24:3-4 as our home base:

By wisdom a house is built,
And by understanding it is established;
And by knowledge the rooms are filled
With all precious and pleasant riches.

God’s pattern for marriage is simple: wisdom, understanding, and knowledge.

By wisdom a house is built …”

First, let’s lay the foundation. The word built comes from the Hebrew word that means “to restore.” It’s the same word God uses when He took the rib from Adam’s chest and rebuilt it into a woman. God says it takes wisdom to build this kind of house. Wisdom essentially means “seeing with discernment.” It’s the idea of seeing the broad picture of something. When you choose to look at the broad picture rather than the petty details, you build a strong foundation.

“By understanding a house is established …”

Established in Hebrew means to set in order something that is cluttered or to stand upright something that has fallen. If wisdom is seeing with discernment, then this second piece is responding to what you see with insight. How can you do that? With understanding.

In other words, an irritation I would normally take personally, I don’t take personally any longer. A conflict that cuts into my plan will not irritate me if I have wisdom and understanding. I will see it as God sees it, as good or necessary for me at this time.

“By knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches.”

Knowledge implies “perception” here. It carries with it a sympathy that comes with learning. As I grow in knowledge of my wife, I increase in my perception of her. I say with my actions: I am listening. I am learning. I am open. Knowledge, when it’s combined with wisdom and understanding, Proverbs says, fills your home with precious and pleasant riches. What does that mean? It means your relationship will be filled with the things that won’t burn up if a fire strikes.

Man has turned it the other way! So many are mesmerized into thinking, “All we need, Honey, are more things.” But misery just increases as our rooms remain empty of God’s riches. God says, “By wisdom it can be restored. By understanding it can be set right. By knowledge those rooms can have those qualities that’ll never burn up.

Now, before you pass this article on to your spouse with the instructions, “Here, Honey, read how you should change,” remember the place to start remodeling your marriage is with you. I have found that someone can be fulfilled in the most difficult circumstances if he has wisdom, understanding, and knowledge, or is working toward that end. But I have also found individuals who have a built-in, perfect opportunity for a happy home but lack wisdom, knowledge, and understanding, and they’re miserable. It’s remarkable. Ask the Architect to build within you a heart of wisdom, knowledge, and understanding for your mate.


Adapted from Charles R. Swindoll, “Let’s Consult the Architect,” Insights (Feb. 2000):1-2 Copyright © 2000. Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide.


Article Summary:
Using verses from the book of Proverbs, Chuck Swindoll explains three tools that our Master Builder, God, has given us to help build solid, lasting marriages. Instead of dwelling on the ways our mate could change or improve, we need to work toward increasing our own understanding of our mate and his or her needs and perceptions.

Keywords: marriage, God’s design, Proverbs, wisdom, understanding, knowledge, discernment, relationship