No doubt that it is hard when you have a struggling Christian marriage. Everything that you have been brought up to know and do is on the line. You feel like a bright spot light is highlighting your flaws, only to be covered by the shame that you feel inside. You don't want to let anyone know the pain and struggles that your marriage faces. What will others think of you? Will you be judged because you are not Christian enough to weather the storm? Have you searched for solutions, only to find failures?
Do you find yourself in a struggling Christian marriage? At some point in your marriage, you will undoubtedly face tough struggles. Some marriages are a slow pain, meaning they break down slowly over many years. Other marriages hit major disaster which throws the relationship completely off track. And inevitably there are some marriages that just end up in divorce.
I don't want to spend time talking about what the Bible says about divorce, that is another discussion for another day. What I do want to talk a little about is saving your struggling Christian marriage. More important than talking about rights and wrongs, it is more important to talk about solutions. After being married for twelve years, I too have had my fair share of struggles and things that I learned along the way.
How to save a struggling Christian marriage the way God intended.
For the first few years my conception of being a good husband revolved around how I could please my wife. You start with a list of superficial things such as birthday presents, cooking supper, helping out with the laundry, ect. Even buying flowers just because with no special occasion. As you grow into you marriage, you start to learn a few things. First, gifts don't mean that much. Sure they are great for the day or the moment, but soon the day fades and becomes a distant memory.
All of the medial tasks that you do to help your spouse with such as dishes and laundry really don't matter. Sure they make your partner happy for that moment. They may save a night of fighting or arguing, but what do they actually do for your marriage?
It took quite a few years and lessons learned to really find out what the keys to fixing a struggling Christian Marriage were. Just so that you know, all marriages struggle from time to time. If you say that you don't have struggles, you are just in denial and lying to yourself. I am sure that if I asked your partner, I would get a much different answer.
The first step in fixing a struggling Christian marriage is to put God first. This sounds obvious in some ways, but is often left out of most marriages. Until you put God first in everything, your marriage will struggle. You cannot possibly please your spouse in a God-honoring way without living your life for God. The kind things that you do for your spouse will be multiplied when you do these things for God first. If you put your spouse before God, your marriage will more than likely end in failure. I am sure that you have heard of 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. Some of you probably even used this set of verses in your wedding.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NASB Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
To love our spouse, you must love God first. When we do this, the decisions that we make in our marriage will not just be good intentions, but God-honoring decisions.
Love your spouse above yourself. When you put your spouse first, you show God's love. Even if your spouse never shows you love back, continue to do this. When we show God's love, others will see it. Hearts soften when we are Christ-like. I would recommend watching the move Fire Proof if you haven't done so. If it has been a while, consider watching it again with your spouse. Take the love dare.
1 John 4:7-8 NASB “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
Pray to God in everything that you do. Pray for your spouse and pray for your entire family. Not only is it important to pray alone, but it is also important to pray with your family. I am sure that you have heard the saying ” a family that prays together stays together.” Do not under estimate the power of prayer. When we pray, God walks along side us through our struggles. It may not seem like prayers are answered right away, but don't forget that prayers are answered in God's timing. He has a plan for your and your spouse. Sometimes he lets you go through trials so that you lean on him and grow in his word. Sometimes the greatest struggles in our lives turn out to be our biggest blessings.
Psalm 127:1 NASB Unless the Lord builds the house, They labor in vain who build it; Unless the Lord guards the city, The watchman keeps awake in vain.