Getting married is a wonderful, holy reunion celebrated by friends and family while you enjoy your new life immersed in mutual love. But what happens when the honeymoon phase ends? What do you do when you realize not everything is perfect?
Sometimes a marriage can turn from flowers and sunlight to rain clouds and darkness, but that is not what God intended for us to share.
When we married, we joined a covenant between ourselves, our spouse and God. We promised to grow together and to be fruitful, which translates to much more than doing our part to increase the population.
To be fruitful in our relationships we need to excel in our everyday lives. We need to evolve from simply being lovebirds to growing into men and women of God. That means we are open to communicating with each other, willing to compromise and are able to rely on God when relying on each other isn’t enough.
If you are experiencing hardships in your marriage and are reaching your limit, please consider the following:
Pray for guidance
God, hear my cry, listen to my prayer. From the end of the earth I call to you with fainting heart. Lead me to the high rock that stands far out of my reach -Psalms 61:1-2
You don’t need to pray with your spouse, you can pray on your own and suggest your husband or wife do the same. Through prayer, God will help you with the necessary steps that come later in the healing process.
Ask God to lead you through the difficulties of your marriage and to touch your heart. Ask that He help you learn how to love again and to remind you what a marriage is supposed to be.
Open yourself to communication
Knowing what was in their minds he said to them, ‘Every kingdom divided against itself is heading for ruin; and no town, no household divided against itself can last. -Matthew 12:25
When you pray, ask God to help you communicate clearly and effectively. One of the biggest mistakes in any relationship is the lack of communication. You must define what you have a problem with if anything is to change.
Actually listen and respond
Above all preserve an intense love for each other, since love covers over many a sin. -1 Peter 4:8
To have good communication in your relationship it is necessary for both parties to fully listen to each other and to respond appropriately. Respect is a form of love, and both are necessary to hold a conversation.
With all humility and gentleness, and with patience, support each other in love. -Ephesians 4:2
Remember, all open communication involves patience. Patience is a requirement to understand what is being said and how to appropriately respond. Losing control of your temper breeds argument, when what really needs to happen is a controlled conversation in which both parties establish what they have a problem with and the presentation of possible solutions.
Agree to disagree
A false balance is abhorrent to the Lord, a just weight is pleasing to him. -Proverbs 11:1
When no solution is in sight, agree to disagree and find some kind of middle ground. No matter what the situation entails, there is always a middle ground. So, after effectively communicating by opening yourself to criticisms, active listening and patience, what can be achieved by normal means and what can be accomplished by agreeing to disagree?
They are no longer two, therefore, but one flesh. So then, what God has united, human beings must not divide. -Matthew 19:6
It is extremely important to be honest not only with your spouse, but with yourself as well. You’ve felt the relationship sinking into the mud and now you want to save it. So what do you need to do?
The first thing you need to do is sit down and write or think about what the roots of most of your problems are. Once that has been established, ask yourself whether you are expecting more from your spouse than you are willing to give.
A marriage is about equality. Are you taking advantage of the fact that your husband or wife is giving more than you are? Take a step back and look at your situation from the “outside.”
What areas can you improve on? How can you be a better spouse?
Keep your commitments
[B]ut now you also must give up all these things: human anger, hot temper, malice, abusive language and dirty talk; and do not lie to each other… -Colossians 3:8, 18-19
Once you pinpoint how you can be a better spouse and what the roots of your problems are, talk it out. Following your series of conversations – because sometimes one just doesn’t do it – you and your spouse will make commitments to each other.
Whether your commitment is to do more around the house, help out more with children, try to rekindle the romance or act more responsibly, remember that all that talking and introspective is meaningless if you stop short of trying to change.
Regardless of whose “fault” it is that your marriage is rocky, it is the responsibility of both parties to reach out to the other and work to find the love and commitment that has dimmed.
Sometimes a marriage can be extremely stressful. As we grow, we are faced with an ever-increasing amount of problems, but relying on our spouses helps us through these times. When we allow our relationship to decay, we are weakening the bond God blessed in our lives. We can’t allow our relationships to break without putting up a fight.