Gary's blog for couples and parents plus resources for individuals, leaders and churches.

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Five Greatest Marriage Killers

Marriages are being assaulted! I don't know of anyone who doesn't know at least one close friend, relative, neighbor or coworker whose marriage isn't struggling big time, on the verge of divorce or impacted by an affair. And I realize that one, marriage is never easy and two, there are lots of factors that complicate people's marriage stories and any attempts to fix them.

Nonetheless, I want to also be sure that couples are aware of several things that may be overlooked when they think there is little or no hope of salvaging their relationship. These five perspectives or attitudes can often keep people from actually turning their marriage around if they'll only understand what's really true.

First, thinking that your spouse must meet your needs. The truth is no spouse can ever be enough for the other person. Yes, we can and must do all we can to learn to love and respect each other, but it will still never be enough.  Only God can fulfill our deepest longings.  See Psalm 42 for example.

Second, thinking that your worth is on the line. Many couple's disagreements turn into wars because they cross a line when they believe that they now must win a battle about their personhood.  Deep within they believe that if they aren't right, aren't seen in a positive light or whatever that they will somehow decrease in value and matter less.  Nothing could be further from the truth. Our worth is totally dependent upon our relationship with God and once we are a child of God in Christ five things are always true in any circumstance.

We matter, we have purpose, we are children of God, we are loved and we are forgiven.  No circumstance or comment will ever change that.  See earlier posts on self-worth for more details.

Third, thinking that your spouse must change for you to have a great marriage.  Yes, there are things that must be changed in some circumstances that either spouse must not just let slide - abuse, bringing danger into the home, threatening suicide and the like. But certain characteristics and uniquenesses, even if they are hard for us at times, do not have to become our personal mission to transform.  Yes, talk about them, compromise if need be, but also learn to love your spouse for who she or he is. Sometimes their irksome habit or style is a healthy balance to one of yours.

Fourth, thinking that your problems are too big for God to overcome. The Bible says in Jeremiah that nothing is too difficult for God and that includes healing the hurts and diseases in our marriage.  Have you really given your marriage to God, have you brought your story together to God in prayer, have you gotten others involved to both provide godly counsel and extra prayer? 

Fifth, thinking that splitting up will necessarily be better, easier or more enjoyable.  Yes, there are circumstances where a permanent break is simply inevitable.  But don't quit just because you want to escape the pain and believe that everything will be so much better later.

When you run into problems give God, yourself and your spouse every chance to make it first.  There just might be a miracle around the corner that God is ready and willing to do in you to save your marriage and keep you from just becoming another sad story.
Gary Sinclair Writer | Speaker | Leader

Gary is currently a consultant, teacher, speaker and chaplain providing resources for families, leaders and churches.

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