here are two types of marriages: Those that have had struggles and those that will. It’s a fact of life. Some struggles are bigger than others, but every couple will experience some level of difficulty. There’s no shame in it, and these seasons of struggle can lead to deeper levels of intimacy and a stronger marriage if they’re handled well. But what does that mean?
It’s pretty easy to start, simply refuse to allow yourself to be passive if your marriage isn’t honoring to God.
This is not about perfection. We won’t always do it the right way; some days we will fail. That’s okay. What it comes down to is a heart issue. If bitterness, selfishness, or passivity are motivating factors in how you consistently respond to your spouse, if you are contributing to a distorted view of marriage, or if your marriage has become a second (or third or fourth) priority, then some changes need to be made.
Even in the seasons of difficulty we have a responsibility to fight for our marriages and to treat our spouses with love and respect.
Are you ready to take action?
Here are some steps you can take to make changes:
- Pray for Your Marriage
- Step Away from Leading for a Season
- Commit to Being Intentional
- Be Drastic
- Call a Friend
- Talk to a Pro
Pray for unity and oneness, for healing and help being vulnerable, for an understanding of any deep-rooted pain you may have, and for the strength and wisdom to work through it all. These are scary things to pray, but remember that God is faithful through everything, and He won’t leave you to deal with anything on your own.
If you’re in a role in your church where you’re responsible for others (even a bible study), take a step back. 1 Timothy 3 talks about the responsibility of those in leadership positions. He specifically says in verses 4-5 that we are to have our own household in order before taking a leadership position. We need to be sure we’re in a healthy place to be able to care for others well.
Actively address any issues with a gentle and honest heart, being vulnerable in the process. God can only heal and restore when we are open and willing.
Have a heart of full surrender and humility. Admit where you are wrong and be willing to take responsibility. It’s through this openness that true healing begins.
In the movie Fireproof, the main character smashes his computer, where he had been struggling with pornography, with a baseball bat. He then put a note where the computer used to be for his wife telling her that he chose her over his addiction.
What things in your life are negatively impacting your marriage? This could be an overused cell phone, social media or pornography. If there is anything that is taking control of your marriage, get rid of it. Your marriage is more important. As Mark Batterson says, “Anything you can’t fast from controls you.”
Find a trusted friend to talk to about struggles and frustrations in your marriage. This person should be carefully chosen and one who will pray with you, for you, and actively encourage unity in your marriage. This isn’t a gripe session or a time to cut your mate down, but a time to process and get support and encouragement so that you can be the best you can be. Allow them to speak truth into your heart, even if it may be hard to hear.
If you find yourself in arguments that last longer than a couple of days or are emotionally taxing, find a solid Christian counselor. Ask your church for recommendations. Realize that you might have to see a few before you find a good fit. Look for a counselor who holds strong to biblical truth.
Fighting for your marriage will not be easy at times. There are days when you will feel that passivity is a much better choice. There will be days when it will be extremely difficult. A good marriage is worth it. God calls us to a higher standard. God calls our relationships, especially our marriage relationships, to radiate His love. He calls us to mutual submission. This means putting the other person first. It means seeking to serve rather than be served. As selfishness infiltrates its way into a marriage, love begins to exit.
Have you had seasons of struggle? How did you work through? How did your marriage grow deeper and more intimate? Let us know in the comments–we’d love to hear from you…