Making Christ the Cornerstone

Doug Britton, M.Ed., MFT


Discover how to put God first in your marriage, invite Jesus into your home, pray as a couple, encourage each other’s ministries, and grow in your personal walk with Jesus.

Expect to change and grow. The practical, cross-cultural truths in these easy-to-read pages will make a big difference in your marriage—whether it is young-to-old, great to not-so-great.

This book is the second in Doug Britton’s eight-book “Marriage by the Book” series. These books help couples apply the Bible’s truths in every aspect of marriage. Although Making Christ the Cornerstone is part of a series, it stands by itself as a complete book.

Paperback: Wire “spiral” binding. 158 pages.
Published by LifeTree Books

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 Get the Bundle

Save time — Order all eight books in the “Marriage by the Book” series as a bundle!

Making Christ the Cornerstone is:


There’s no need to buy a separate marriage book, workbook, and leader’s guide for small groups—this book includes all three. You have the flexibility to use it however you want.


You won’t read secular advice with a sprinkling of verses. Instead, you will be transformed as you learn how to turn to God and apply his Word.


Since Laying a Solid Foundation is based on the Bible, its truths apply to every racial and ethnic group. When purchasing this book, you can choose a multicultural cover or an African-American cover.

“I have known Doug and his wife for many years. Many relationships in our church have been strengthened and enriched through the use of his ‘Marriage by the Book’ series.”  Ephraim Williams, Pastor, St. Paul Baptist Church (Sacramento, CA)


This book doesn’t just tell you what to do—it shows you how to do it with easy-to-follow steps. Real-life stories and examples illustrate key points.

“Practical Practical Practical! ‘Marriage by the Book’ is for couples who really want a strong marriage. Doug Britton puts the cookies on a shelf where it’s easy to reach them, using the Bible plus simple exercises to do it! I recommend every couple go through this series in a date night or in a small group with other couples.”  Tom Tunnicliff, Ed.D., Pastor of Chaplaincy, Elmbrook Church (Brookfield, WI)


Text is broken into small, easily-digested portions. Points are clearly identified with headings, bullets, and check boxes.


“Make it personal” questions, quizzes, and exercises help you apply the lessons in your own marriage.

“‘Marriage by the Book’ is a life-changing series that will bring Christ into your marriage. The series will guide you step-by-step as you wrestle with the right questions, so you can see Christ-centered results. Whether your marriage is healthy and thriving or needing an overhaul…this series will help you. I know this because it’s helped my marriage.”  Craig Sweeney, Lead Pastor, Heights Church (Citrus Heights, CA)

About the Author

Author and Bible-based Marriage and Family Therapist Doug Britton has helped hundreds of thousands of people as a therapist, clinical director of a treatment center, seminar speaker, radio co-host, and author of over twenty books. In each book of the “Marriage by the Book” series, Doug draws upon his extensive experience counseling married couples. More importantly, he goes directly to the Bible and applies its truth and wisdom to problems couples face today.

Chapter 1:
Put God First in Your Personal Life


Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. (Mark 12:30)

Many years ago, when our sons were young, I became aware of a puzzling pattern in my behavior when I came home from work. Some days, I became grumpy the minute I saw the kids’ bikes in the driveway. When I went inside, I became even more irritated if Skeeter had not vacuumed the carpet or done other household chores. After all, I told myself, she was a homemaker and that was her job. I thought I had a right to be upset.

Other days, even though the bikes blocked the driveway, I felt happy to arrive home. When I went inside, it didn’t bother me if the dog hair was thick on the carpet. (We had a large dog that shed mountains of hair.) I was so glad to see Skeeter that housekeeping did not matter.

One day, I realized what was happening. The bikes and dog hair were not the problem—I was. Thinking it over, I realized that my happy homecomings occurred when I lived in awareness of God—praying, remembering that he loved me, and thinking about what he wanted me to do. When I was close to God, I was loving and patient. When out of touch with God, I was grumpy and ready for trouble.

The same thing is true for many people. Again and again, I have seen marriages come to life when one or both spouses begin to draw close to God.

It’s easy to see why this is true. Successful marriages take superhuman effort, love, patience, and wisdom. We human beings are inadequate for the task.

Jesus said, “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:12-13). How can we possibly give up our life for our mate without God’s help?

Make it personal
Have you noticed that you react differently to the same situation, depending upon how close you are to God?  Yes  No

If so, describe one or two times this has been true:

Do you think your marriage would improve if you were closer to God?  Yes  No

Why did you answer the way you did?


Examine Yourself

God created marriage and highly honors it. However, we should not be so focused on the gift of marriage that we neglect the giver of the gift.

One of the biggest dangers in marriage is loving your spouse more than God. Jesus illustrated this when talking about a man who refused to go to the master’s banquet because he had just gotten married (Luke 14:20).

Paul’s most serious caution about marriage had to do with putting your spouse first. He wrote that if you marry you have not sinned, but you “will face many troubles in this life” (1 Corinthians 7:28). He went on to say:

I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs—how he can please the Lord. But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife—and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband. I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord. (1 Corinthians 7:32-35)

Jesus said the most important commandment is to love God. This command is repeated throughout the Bible (Deuteronomy 4:29 and 6:5, Joshua 22:5, Matthew 22:37, and Luke 10:27).

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. (Mark 12:30)

God’s command is clear. He has called us to live a fervent, Christ-centered life. But many of us who say we are Christians rarely pray, read the Bible, tell others about Jesus, or get involved in a ministry.

It is not uncommon to put family, friends, the Internet, our smartphone, work, play, or other activities before God. These relationships and activities actually replace God in many lives. We say that we believe in the Lord, but do not center our lives in him.

Make it personal
Have you put your spouse or anything else before God? If so, pray for God’s forgiveness and help to get your priorities right.

After you pray, check here: 


Take These Steps with God

The following guidelines will help you walk closer to God, enjoying his presence, love, power, and wisdom. As you read, don’t be overwhelmed if it seems you come up short. We all need to grow in our relationship with God. Choose a few things to work on, then add more over time.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do so many marriages have problems?
Most marriages start out with two people who are certain they can craft a wonderful union. Yet as the years go by, many never experience the passionate, joyful life they expected. Author Doug Britton says a key reason is that most people do not know how to create a great marriage God’s way.

Is my marriage hopeless?
Regardless of your situation, there is hope—the sure hope that comes from God and the truth of his word, the Bible.

What if my spouse won’t read with me?
It’s ideal if you both read this book. However, if your spouse doesn’t want to join you, read it on your own. Learn how to be the best husband or wife possible. God can perform miracles in your personal life—and in your marriage—even if you study on your own.

Can I use this book for pre-marriage mentoring?
Yes. It covers the most important truths couples need to know at the beginning of their journey together.

Learn More

What are some topics covered in “Making Christ the Cornerstone”?
In these pages you will discover many Bible-based insights and practical tools. A few examples:

  • How your Christian walk affects your life together
  • How to set spiritual priorities in your marriage
  • Key ways to connect with God daily as a couple
  • Practical ways to make room for Jesus in your daily lives
  • How your individual spiritual gifts can work together
  • How to tune up your personal walk with Christ

Bible verses for Christian marriages
Making Christ the Cornerstone provides practical, biblical tools that will help you put the following verses into practice:

Isaac prayed to the LORD on behalf of his wife, because she was barren. The LORD answered his prayer, and his wife Rebekah became pregnant. (Genesis 25:21)

Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain. (Psalm 127:1)

Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. (Joshua 1:8)

For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them. (Matthew 18:20)

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. (Mark 12:30)

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word. (Ephesians 5:26)

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. (Colossians 4:2)

Finally, brothers, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more. (1 Thessalonians 4:1)

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. (1 Thessalonians 5:11)

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. (1 Peter 2:9)

Marriage by the Book — 8-Book Series

Multicultural Covers

Laying a Solid Foundation Making Christ the Cornerstone Encouraging Your Spouse Extending Grace to Your Mate Talking with Respect and Love Improving Your Teamwork Putting Money in its Place Celebrating Intimacy and Romance

African-American Covers

Laying a Solid Foundation Making Christ the Cornerstone Encouraging Your Spouse Extending Grace to Your Mate Talking with Respect and Love Improving Your Teamwork Putting Money in its Place Celebrating Intimacy and Romance

Marriage by the Book — 8-Book Series

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