For this cause a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.
He came to the counselor's office. After exchanging a few pleasantries, he got right to it. "My marriage is failing. My wife and I have been unhappy for years and growing further and further apart. We don't communicate anymore, we just fight. The tension is so thick in our home you could cut it with a knife. We have not been together physically for a long time. I know God hates divorce, but I can't live like this anymore."
Does this sound familiar? Millions of husbands and wives have this same story. They are so miserable in their marriage that they just want out. What is the answer?
Divorce is NOT the answer. It is a band aid on a bullet wound. It does not solve the problem... it just alleviates the acute pain and replaces it with chronic pain. God hates divorce because it literally rips people and families apart. Unless there is abandonment, continued adultery, or physical abuse, divorce is not an option. You got married for better or for worse. When the "for worse" comes, you don't bail out, you work it out.
Debbie and I have been married for 22 years. Have we always had smooth sailing? NO! Our problem: I married a sinner... and she married a bigger one! A good definition of conflict is merely this: two people.
Debbie and I have had our share of conflict, hurt feelings, and angry words. What we have learned and practiced that has brought us through is this: "do not let the sun go down on your anger" (Eph. 4:26). We do not allow our hurts to foul and fester and grow. We get them out on the table and deal with them. We realize that neither of us is the enemy. We are teammates, working together to conquer problems (the real enemy) that threaten to defeat us and tear us apart.
Do you have unresolved anger in your marriage? It will always lead to resentment and bitterness... and marital oneness and intimacy will begin to crumble. Soul mates become roommates (our simply house mates), and the marriage ideal will become a marriage ordeal. Eventually one or both will want a new deal.
WHAT TO DO?
It is important to remember this key fact: the only person you can change is you.If you want your marriage to change, you cannot wait for your spouse to change; you must look in the mirror and start changing yourself.
1. Forgive your spouse for hurting you. Jesus said, "But if you do not forgive men, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions" (Matt. 6:15).
2. Focus on your job description as a wife/husband. At the judgment, God is NEVER going to ask me how Debbie did as a wife, but He WILL ask me how I did as a husband. The job description for a wife/husband can be found in Ephesians 5:18-33 and 1 Peter 3:1-7.
3. Focus on your spouse's strengths, not your spouse's weaknesses. No one is attracted to a negative. Quit filling your mind with all the negatives about your spouse. No one is attracted to a negative. Start filling your mind with all the positives about your spouse, and your spouse will become more attractive to you.
4. SEE THE MOVIE FIREPROOF. This is an excellent, hard-hitting movie about the importance of marriage and the need to work through problems so that even the worst of marriages can become great. God has grace and miraculous power to rekindle, rebuild and restore the love that was once there between you and your spouse. Watch this miracle unfold in this movie.
IS THIS EASY?
To do what is necessary to turn your marriage around is NEVER easy... but it is so very worth it. It was not easy for Michael Phelps to work out in the pool 5 hours a day, swimming 50 miles a week... but the 8 gold medals were surely worth the effort.
God wants to work a miracle and turn you relationship into a Gold Medal Marriage. It starts with you. You made a vow, a solemn promise to stick together "for better or for worse." If you will do what God ways to do, your "worse" can become "better" as God blesses, restores and removes all the bitterness and resentment.
Pastor Jeff Schreve,
From His Heart Ministries
Dr. Jeff Schreve believes that no matter how badly you may have messed up in life, God still loves you and has a wonderful plan just for you. From His Heart provides real truth, love and hope on over 700 radio stations each day, in 182 countries each week on TV, and is always available online. Pastor Jeff takes no income from this ministry. All donations go to furthering the broadcast outreach. As a listener/viewer supported ministry, we thank you for joining with us to help speak the truth in love to a lost and hurting world. Go to www.fromhisheart.org for more information.