Find the Freedom in Christ to Work on a Better Marriage
- Wednesday, February 21, 2007
Speak your spouse’s love language. Ask your spouse which type of language communicates love best to him or her: gifts, service, time, touch, or words. Then do all you can to use that language to show your spouse your love. Tell your spouse what your primary love language is, and explain how he or she can best love you with it.
Don’t let money come between you and your spouse. Acknowledge that all your money ultimately belongs to God, because He alone has made it possible for you to receive and earn all you have. Work with your spouse to become a wise steward of the money God has entrusted to you. Establish a budget together. Ask God to help you become content with whatever you have at any time. Thank God regularly for what He has given you. Give generously to support God’s work on Earth and to help people in need. Reduce your debt until you become debt-free, and stay out of debt. Save for future emergencies. Invest wisely, avoiding get-rich-quick schemes and using your investment money for ventures that bring glory to God. Commit to avoiding greed and being honest in all your financial dealings, and live by the highest standards of financial integrity in your family, church, and job. Make restitution for any wrongs you’ve committed against other people or their property. Don’t oppress the poor or bribe the rich. Refrain from participating in any unethical legal proceedings. Work faithfully and diligently for your income, while also balancing work and rest.
Repent of sexual sin. Remember that your body is a temple of God, because His Spirit dwells in you. Decide that you will honor God with your body, rather than insult Him by using it for sexual immorality. Ask God to reveal every sexual use of your body as an instrument of unrighteousness, and as He brings specific incidents to mind, renounce each one and commit your body to God as a living sacrifice. Reserve the sexual use of your body for your spouse only. If you’ve been guilty of treating other people as sex objects, ask God to help you remember that they are made in His image, and are therefore worthy of respect and dignity. Work to prevent adultery in your marriage by making regular deposits in your spouse’s love bank (meeting their needs) and avoiding withdrawals (disappointing them). If your spouse is having an affair, pray, search the Bible for guidance, ask the Holy Spirit for wisdom, and get counsel from your pastor, a counselor, and perhaps even trusted friends. Ask God to help you become the spouse He wants you to be, knowing that positive changes in you will attract your estranged spouse’s attention and possibly motivate him or her to reconcile with you. If your spouse is not repentant, consider a separation to get your spouse to take the issues between you seriously, but don’t rush to divorce. Always focus on love over anger; love is much more powerful. If you’re having an affair, break it off completely, choosing never to see your lover again. Change your phone number and e-mail address, or even move or change jobs if that’s necessary for you to make a clean break. Take time to grieve the relationship you lost, and heal from it. Expect it to take time for you to earn your spouse’s trust back; be patient and willing to hold yourself accountable to your spouse.
Forgive. Always forgive your spouse for ways he or she offends you. Remember that God has forgiven you, and let your gratitude motivate you to do what He expects – forgive others. Rely on God to help you forgive, knowing that you can trust Him to help you every step of the way. Be honest about how you feel, allowing yourself to feel the pain, hurt, resentment, bitterness, and hate. Then submit yourself to God, and ask for His grace and power to forgive. Agree to live with the consequences of your spouse’s sins against you, recognizing that you can’t avoid them, but you can choose not to let them make you bitter. Release the offense and decide that your spouse is no longer in debt to you for it. Never bring the offense up to your spouse again, in arguments or any other discussion. Whenever your emotions recycle the pain or your spouse keeps offending you, continue to choose to forgive, but make it clear that you won’t tolerate abuse. Get whatever help you need to break free of abuse if it’s occurring in your marriage. Never take revenge; instead, trust God to work in the situation (perhaps through your church, family, or civil authorities) to bring about justice in the right way. Ask God to help you replace your old resentful feelings with Christ’s forgiving love. Deal with painful memories by recalling good memories from your marriage as often as possible. Ask God to help you keep a healthy perspective on your marriage.
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