When my husband and I were dating and in the first year of our marriage, he worked in construction building foundations for houses. It was a messy business, but it made him knowledgeable on how to build a proper foundation. After discussing with my husband the steps of building the foundation of a house, I felt it would be a good analogy on how to build a foundation of faith for marriage.

Setting the footings

When building a house, whoever has the plans lays the stakes in all corners. Strings are tied from stake to stake which then becomes the guide for the footings. Boards are put in on either side of the string and cement is poured. It doesn't have to be perfect and it is somewhat rough, but this is what the foundation will sit on.

In a marriage, the husband and wife hold the plans for their foundation. They lay the stakes in the corners of their home, emphasizing what is most important. Just like the footings of a house, these stakes don't have to be perfect, but they need to be in place and the more consistent they are, the stronger the marriage foundation will be. For a foundation of faith, the stakes should be:

1. Communication

A couple cannot have a successful marriage if they lack the ability to communicate. Everything they do as a couple and in their family is centered around their ability to communicate effectively with one another. A foundation of faith must be built upon the ability to communicate.

2. Prayer

Personal prayer and companionship prayer are essential to building a foundation of faith. With prayer as a footing, you are resting your foundation on a sure thing. Inviting God to be a part of your foundation will not only strengthen your marriage, but it will strengthen your family, and the future of your children.

3. Scripture study and church attendance

The more you learn about God as a couple, and as individuals, the stronger your foundation will become. You will learn to stand strong in times of trouble and overcome any obstacle that threatens to destroy your marriage. You will receive answers to your questions and learn God's plan for you and your family.

4. Continued courtship

The dating should not end when the marriage begins. Dating should be a regular part of married life. It allows for couples to spend quality time together without interruption. It gives couples time to bond with one another, laugh together, hold hands, talk and love. It is priceless and necessary to any strong foundation.

Chalking the lines

When building a home, the person with the plans measures precisely on top of the footings with a string that is covered in chalk and held tightly by a person on the other end. The two people pull the string tight and flip it, leaving a chalk line on the footing. The chalk line must be precise. If it is off even a little, the entire foundation is off and isn't set right.

When building a foundation of faith, there are two things that must be precise, much like when the builders chalk the lines.

1. Devotion to God

It is important that both husband and wife share in a testimony of God and that they know that God is their salvation.

2. Devotion to spouse

It is absolutely crucial that spouses remain diligent and devoted to each other.

Setting up forms

When building a house, two forms are aligned with the chalk lines on each wall and rebar is tied between the forms to reinforce the walls and add strength to the foundation.

When building a foundation of faith, a couple comes together much like the forms of a house. They align themselves with the chalk lines on each footing. With their devotion to God and their commitment to each other, they build upon the footings of communication, prayer, scripture study and church attendance and courtship. They invite the Spirit into their marriage, and much like the rebar ties the walls together, the Spirit binds the couple's hearts to one another, adding integrity to their marriage foundation, reinforcing it from the inside.

Pouring cement

The last step in building a foundation is pouring the cement. The cement becomes the filler for the foundation, which hardens, making the foundation strong and sure. Once the cement is poured, the top is smoothed, and an outside support is braced against it to hold it in place and keep it aligned.

When building a foundation of faith, the filler that makes our foundation strong and sure is the time, effort, choices, actions, and dedication we put into strengthening our marriage. The more consistent effort a couple puts into building their foundation of faith, the stronger their foundation will become. As they smooth the rough patches and use God as their outside support to keep them aligned with him, they will find success in building a strong foundation of faith. An important thing to note when building a foundation is both forms in a wall must be sturdy when the cement is poured. If one wall breaks, it compromises the entire foundation. It is the same when building a foundation of faith in marriage. Each person must give 100 percent.

Building a foundation is hard work. It is messy and sometimes frustrating, and it is no different from building a foundation of faith in marriage. But if you stick with it, your marriage can be a successful one. Religious leader, Whitney Clayton said, "Successful marriages are built on the foundation of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and adherence to his teachings. I have observed that couples who have made their marriages priceless practice the patterns of faith. Faith is the foundation of every virtue that strengthens marriage. Strengthening faith strengthens marriage." As couples learn to strengthen their foundation of faith, they will learn just how priceless and treasured their marriage can be.

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