MARRIAGE STRUGGLING? HERE’S WHY.
1. When you were dating you thought to yourself, “When we get married, I will change him/her.” That introvert personality will come out of their shell. Those strange irritating habits will fall by the wayside. This is equivalent to believing a dog can teach a cat to bark. It won’t happen. One’s personality is not a sin. Sin lies in character, morals, ethics, and behavior but not in personality.
2. Heading down the aisle, you were quite sure the two of you were of one mind in thought and purpose – but time has proven otherwise. There was more of a distance between the two of you when you said “I do” than you could have ever imagined. That unknown distance is the unexplored territory that marriage reveals. All marriages are programmed to fail if this territory is not navigated with humility and wisdom. To neglect this piece of real estate is to run from responsibility.
3. Recognize that all your expectations before you got married were performance based. “If I can get him/her to change, then I will have a happy marriage.” When such expectations are not realized, the lingering weight of disappointment only exacerbates the situation.
4. Love is not based on what your spouse can do for you but what you can do for your spouse.
5. Proverbs 18:17 says, “Life and death are in the power of the tongue.” If this verse could be measured in speed, it would be lighting fast. If measured in power, it would be 500-horse power. If measured in bytes, it would be a million gigs. Tattoo this verse on the back of your eyelids and let it be the guide for your tongue all the days of your life. What you say to your spouse does not reveal their heart, but yours (Matt.12:34).
6. When the changes you were counting on didn’t happen, angry words are exchanged. Attacks and counter attacks become the norm. Both sides begin to retreat into their own private world of work, TV, video games, and endless hours of entertainment to deaden the pain. Emotional or legal divorce is soon to follow.
7. We can control what we eat, but we cannot control what we hear. We can remove what goes into our mouth but not what goes into the ear, which is the gateway to the soul. Once it is said, it cannot be retracted.
WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?
1. It is never too late to get things back on track. It will take courage, time, energy, wise counsel, and most of all humility.
2. Take a hard look at your contribution to the demise of the marriage. Do not focus on your spouse’s failures. That is their responsibility, not yours
3. Once the two of you have taken careful inventory of your failure, you will need to seek forgiveness from the other. This is not just saying I’m sorry but looking your spouse in the eye and stating what you have done to damage the relationship and saying “Will you forgive me for…..?”
4. You will then need to plan out a strategy for how you will deal with conflict in the future. There will need to be ongoing maintenance to keep the marriage on a biblical track. Marriage requires work and lots of it. Even the best of marriages require time and energy. The cruise control on your car works well on the highway but cruise control in marriage will result in a wreck.
5. Follow God’s blueprint, and leave the results to Him.