Secrets To Staying Married When Things Are Difficult is the topic that will be discussed today on RIOT Podcast, a Christian Discipleship Podcast.
Getting married is a lot like starting a new career, or anything else that has a major change in our life. It’s relatively easy, to begin with, but it is almost a guarantee to be a challenge to stay with it for the long term if it’s neglected. And the worst catastrophe would be that you stop trying.
In today’s show, we want to share with you some of the most important applications that can lead to a successful Marriage. This show is for both the married and unmarried alike. We will give practical tools that if practiced will help your current marriage or future marriage move forward in the right direction. We believe that these key points we are going to share will help your relationship move forward in a positive direction.
THINGS WE CAN DO IN OUR MARRIAGE:
1. ADMIT YOU ARE POWERLESS OVER YOUR SPOUSE
The first step to helping your marriage when things are hard is admitting you cannot manage your spouse or marital struggles on your own. This means you must come to the point where you recognize the ineffectiveness of your attempts to change your and your spouse’s faults and character defects.
2. PRAY FOR YOUR SPOUSE
Begin to pray every day for your spouse. Believe in God for a miracle in your marriage. Psalm 77:14 says, “You are the God who performs miracles.” The Bible makes it clear that God wants people to stay married. We need to expect God to supernaturally intervene in our circumstances. Unbelief and fear paralyze us and cause us to believe our problems are too big for God. We need to believe that God can still move mountains. Jesus said, “According to your faith will it be done to you” (Matthew 9:29).
James 5:16 teaches us that “The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and wonderful results” Do you want to exert great power upon your spouse’s heart and mind? If so, then pray for your spouse. Keep asking God to work in your spouse and to touch your spouse's heart, to soften the hardness, and to break Satan’s blinding power in his or her life and also in your own life to open your eyes to those same things.
Pray, and “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Never give up! Don’t get discouraged if you don’t see immediate results. Remember, God works according to His timing and not ours and in His ways and not ours. You must simply do your part and leave the rest to Him.
3. ADJUST YOUR EXPECTATIONS
Most marriages encounter problems and conflicts sooner or later. Some marital problems and conflicts can be anticipated and avoided. Others cannot be foreseen and must be dealt with and resolved as they come. This takes the effort of both partners. Marital problems are complex and there are no easy answers or quick solutions for most of them. If they have been occurring over a long period of time, the relationship may be at a point of crisis. A marriage in crisis is very painful to go through, but that does not mean the relationship should be ended.
Relationship struggles often reveal that there are some things we have not understood about our partner and vice versa. These things often reflect a stockpile of unmet needs or hurts that have occurred. They may even indicate areas of neglect, misunderstanding, and differences. In unhappy relationships, the root cause of unhappiness is a lack of unconditional love and acceptance. Controlling, demanding and unrealistic expectations are just symptoms of that cause.
When we STOP seeing marriage as an obligation for our partner to fill our expectations and instead see it as an OPPORTUNITY to learn to truly accept our spouse for who he or she is, we take a major step in seeing our marriages become happy and fulfilling.
Does acceptance mean that you consider the other person to be perfect? Of course not. It does not mean that you think their personality is without flaws or that everything they do is perfectly okay with you. It does not mean that you don’t want them to be better. Nobody is perfect, and people will always have qualities we don’t like, characteristics we find annoying, and behavior that we wish they’d stop.
Acceptance is not the same as agreement. Acceptance means that you recognize their essential worth as Christ sees them, and consider them to be deserving of your esteem, and your love, despite their imperfections.
Needless to say, certain things are unacceptable. There are non-negotiable standards. Physical abuse is one of them. Repeated infidelity, alcoholism, and drug addiction are also to be unacceptable. Accepting behavior that crosses the line does not promote a healthy relationship, nor is it a mark of wisdom.
4. RESIST THE ENEMY
The source of all marital problems can be traced back to the Garden of Eden with creation’s first married couple. Satan seeks to mess with our minds, cause us to doubt God’s power, and distract us from following Christ. This is Satan’s disguise. He seeks to perpetrate selfish and independent attitudes in men/women. He seeks to corrupt us through our thinking, to get us to exalt ourselves through selfish and independent actions and attitudes.
5. FOCUS ON CHANGING YOURSELF NOT YOUR SPOUSE
We believe that there are few things more harmful to a relationship than pressuring your spouse to change according to what you want/feel. This kind of thinking just doesn’t work, for two reasons: First, because you can’t change someone else. You can only change yourself. Secondly, trying to change your spouse will create tension in your relationship and actually discourage him or her from changing. And besides, even if your spouse did change, he or she wouldn’t feel very good about the relationship until you made some changes yourself.
Decide what specific changes need to be made in your life so that you can become a better marriage partner. Identify unhealthy patterns of behavior, and decide what you can do to change those patterns. The Bible is clear that while God loves us just the way we are, He loves us too much to leave us that way. One of His greatest desires for us is our spirtual growth and maturity; to conform us to the image of His son, (Romans 8:29).
6. MEET YOUR SPOUSE’S MOST IMPORTANT EMOTIONAL NEED
As human beings, we are incredibly intricate with a complexity of emotional needs that must be satisfied. These needs include our needs for attention, respect, appreciation, approval, sexual fulfillment, support, comfort, security, etc., and determine our sense of emotional well-being. In marriage, our emotional needs were meant to be met both by our relationship with God and through our relationship with our spouse. That’s precisely what God intended marriage to be; a committed, intimate, relationship that provides a supply of love to meet one another’s a most important emotional need. To build a satisfying and lasting marriage, you and your mate must commit to meeting each other’s physical and emotional needs.
Success in love is not about waiting to act until you feel like loving your spouse. Instead, even when you may not feel like it when you reach out to your spouse with caring actions that meet his or her most important emotional need, it will trigger the feeling of love in your spouse, and hence build a cycle of love.
7. IF YOUR MARRIAGE IS REALLY BAD YOU NEED TO SEEK IMMEDIATE HELP
The complexity, stress, and pain of a marriage crisis often handicap a couple’s ability to resourcefully resolve problems on their own. For several reasons, it is important to get help as soon as possible after you realize that your marriage is in crisis. First of all, so that further damage can be controlled. A marriage crisis can have a negative domino effect and intervention is a common requirement in order to alter the negative course. Secondly, because a marriage crisis puts your relationship in a very vulnerable position and it’s okay to have help from an outside unbiased counselor.
We want to offer guidelines for you to consider in seeking professional help. But before you do, you must be committed to doing what we have suggested today. Your only hope is in your desire to be more like Jesus, if not your time with your counselors will produce minimal fruit.
Make sure your counselor is a Christian marriage counselor and has received specific training (Biblical, Pastoral, and or Marital training). Make sure your counselor has experience in marital counseling. Marriage counselors should possess the skill to help people overcome the differences that naturally occur when two people live under the same roof. They need to know Biblical truth and have a thorough understanding of God’s design for marriage in order to help you restore your marriage.
Make sure you (and your partner) and your marriage counselor set concrete goals early on. If you don’t, you will probably meet each week with no clear direction.
Know that most marital problems are solvable. Don’t let any marriage counselor tell you that change is impossible. Human beings are amazing. They are capable (especially with God’s help) of making significant and lasting changes, especially for people they love. Most of all, trust your instincts. If your counselor is helping, you’ll know it. If he or she isn’t, you’ll know that too. Don’t stay with a counselor who is just helping you tread water. Find one who will help you swim and reach the shore.
Finally, the best way to find a good Christian marriage counselor is word-of-mouth. Satisfied customers say a lot about the kind of marriage counseling you will receive. Although, you might feel embarrassed to ask a minister, friends, or family for a referral, you should consider doing it anyway. It increases the odds you’ll find a counselor who will really help you and your spouse.
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