Troubled Marriages

Have you stopped praying together? Are you constantly angry and frustrated with your spouse? Have things deteriorated so badly that you can hardly have a meaningful conversation with your wife or husband without and argument? Are you walking on eggshells all the time, afraid to bring up any issues or problems? Is there bitterness, resentment, and unforgiveness lurking all the time in your heart toward your spouse? Has the physical intimacy stopped or been avoided for long periods of time? Do you find yourself saying to yourself, there’s no way out of this, he or she will never change, I am trapped in a bad marriage? It feels like a prison sentence? Are you tired of trying to make your marriage work? If you answered yes to most of these questions your marriage is troubled and could be heading toward a serious crisis. Your marriage will not just spontaneously get better unless you turn it over to God, do something about it, and get some type of pastoral or professional help.

There really is hope. All things are possible with God (Matt. 19:26). You may think that your marriage is over, or not far from it. I have seen God do some pretty amazing things when a husband and wife place their trust in Christ to revive their marriage even when it looks dead and they have now idea what to do. Look back in your life individually and as a couple. Recall the times God did things in your life, in your marriage that where completely amazing, miraculous. You faced a situation where there were no answers, no help in sight, no hope.

God revealed answers and brought solutions through his Divine power in His time. He accomplished these things His Way. Go to Him today. Ask Him for help. Ask Him for a way through your troubled marriage, His way of healing and restoration. Pray for a break through in your marriage. Bring every problem and issue to Him. Your marriage may need an entire overhaul. Assess the level of discomfort you have in the marriage and set out to address it before it goes beyond troubled. List the areas of your marriage that are working. List the areas that are not working or troubled. Do this so you can see the good that still exists and the areas that need repair or restoration. The higher the conflict your marriage is the more work needed to “fix the marriage.” Remember it will be God who saves the marriage, He needs your cooperation and effort while you totally depend on Him for guidance and healing. Submit your marriage to Christ. Pray with your spouse over this list, commit it to God and commit to one another that you will address your marriage no matter how troubled. It is too easy to quit or bail out. Both must be united in this for it to work. If only one is committed it is much harder but still not impossible with God. It may take longer and many different strategies form God and you. Consider reading the book Love and Respect - by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs (Integrity Publishers, 2004). This book can be very helpful. Go to your spouse with an open mind and a spirit of reconciliation. Don’t let hard feelings about your spouse consume you. Look at the communication in your marriage. Make it your goal to be understood and understand your spouse. Make sure when he or she is talking that you listen, and then let him or her know what you heard them say and what you understand they are saying. What do they mean? This basic strategy will help you take more steps to heal and develop healthy ways of relating to one another. Let your spouse know what you feel and why. Let him/her know the problem you have with them and why. Offer suggestions and solutions. Invite your spouse to speak up about their frustrations. Do this is a loving caring manner, after you have both prayed together for God to open a path for improved healing and a better marriage relationship. Talk about the physical intimacy. It is important. You can get it back if it is gone. You must resolve the anger and hurt first. You must forgive. Talk about the finances, get them under control, don’t let them control you. Financial problems in a marriage often reflect other issues like control, authority, and anger problems. They can also mirror the problems the marriage has with God.

Look at the Biblical model of marriage. (Ephesians 5: 21-33) How does yours compare? Are you both submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ? (Ephesians 5:21) Is your husband the spiritual leader of the home? Does he control his temper and not bitter toward you? (Col. 3:19) Your relationship with God affects your marriage. The closer your relationship and walk with the God the more potential for healing and positive change. Your walk, means everything. Determine to go forward, not to quit. Involve God. Commit your marriage to Christ and move forward, trusting Him to help you forgive and take the first step toward restoration. You must forgive. Forgiveness is not an excuse for you to receive abuse or repeated hurts from your spouse. Commit to resolve your anger too. Take your anger and bad feelings to the Lord first and ask Him to help you let go of them and begin to express your grievances appropriately. Articulate them in love. Be clear about the things that your spouse does to hurt you and ask them to stop. It is very hard for your marriage to go forward if the hurting continues relentlessly. You may need to talk to your pastor. Get his help in reviewing the problems in your marriage and look for Biblical understanding and solutions. You may also need professional help for your marriage.  Ask him to refer you to professional counselor he trusts. Don’t give up. “All things are possible with God.” (Matt. 19:26). It’s God plan that you stay married and thrive.

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