I believe in happily ever after. But the road to get there is not necessarily paved with gold. “Any mature, spiritually sensitive view of marriage must have at its foundation, mature love and not romanticism.” True marriage thrives on a willingness to work hard and a resolve to fight for all the promises that marriage holds. In this post, I highlight five obstacles to happily ever after:
A sense of happiness is very essential to the overall health of your marriage. Without it, the doors swing wide open to infidelity, anger, and divorce. The problem with happiness though, it comes and it goes. Finding a way to bring it back by intentionally working on the things that make you happy is key to a successful marriage. Gary Thomas asked a very powerful question in his book Sacred Marriage that I think is a starting point to understanding happiness in marriage. He asked, “What If God Designed Marriage to Make Us Holy More Than to Make Us Happy?” I believe if we are seeking holiness in our marriage it will produce the happiness we so deeply long for. In fact, I insist here that pursuing holiness in Christ is the key to finding happiness in every area of life.
2. Preconceived Notions
It is painful and frustrating to know that your spouse has a preconceived idea about you. They hold a false perception about you, your leadership style, decision-making process, parenting skills, work ethics, choices, friendships, handling of conflict and communication style that can destroy your relationship. You get to hear it when there is a fight. No matter how much they say they didn’t mean what they said, you get to know what they really think about you. They take something you did or said in the past to define who you are in the present and decide what you are going to do in the future. But it is important to unconditionally believe in one another, speak the truth to one another and give each other the benefit of the doubt before making assumptions.
3. Greener grass syndrome
This one is a very dangerous problem that many couples deal with no matter where they are in their marriage. We all tend to imagine how great things would be if we were on the other side of the fence. The way to defeat this is to remember that the “greener grass syndrome” is just an illusion. The root of this problem is lust and greed. Lust never satisfies. It is full of empty promises. It leaves you wanting and lusting after more. It is important to intentionally and continually nurture your relationship so that it thrives and brings the deep satisfaction you can find nowhere else.
Un-forgiveness, in my estimation, is the most stubborn and difficult problem to conquer in a relationship. It’s like a wound that didn’t properly heal and every new offense is like a knife piercing the scab off that wound. If there is any time you are going to need a supernatural intervention in your marriage it is when you need to give or receive forgiveness. So, draw strength from The Lord, give it away liberally. With the measure you give it, it will be given back to you.
5. The little foxes
These are the little things we do to each other every day that adds up over time. Selfishness, disrespect, inattention, unkindness, impatience, grudges, resentments, rudeness, arrogance and lack of trust will destroy a marriage in the long run. But Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Your marriage can thrive; you can have a happily ever after. Are you willing to fight for it?
If you need prayer or somebody to talk with… we are here!
Take ownership and personal responsibility for all your actions.
The easiest thing to do when your relationship goes sour is to play the blame game. This only leads to more headache. The godly thing to do is just own up to your personal faults and everything will begin to fall in place.
Pray, pray, pray! Jesus is able to make it work
A lot of marriages fail because too much trust is placed on marriage counseling. As good as counseling is – (you should get it at all cost), you will need God to work in it. Also, marriages fail because we expect our counselor to fix our partner. God is the only one who can do stuff like that. The sooner you realize that neither you nor your counselor can fix your spouse, prayer will become your priority. Sometimes we just give up before truly seeking his help. Until we can all realize that he has the power to fix things, even the most difficult things, we may never experience divine breakthroughs in our marriages.
Communicate in a way that makes your spouse feel safe
By default, when we feel attacked all our defense mechanisms kick in. But again, this leads to more trouble. I recently learned that “it is not about right or wrong. It is about communicating with integrity. Because “when you feel understood, you feel cared for.” That’s the thing that makes a great marriage.
Establish a no loser policy
As a general rule, in any decision or after any discussion, both spouses must emerge winners. The experts say you need to set up a “no loser policy.” Both spouses must come up with a decision that they feel really good about. It is not acceptable for anyone to walk away feeling as though they have lost.
Go out of your way to please and serve one another
Every one of us come into relationship with expectations. When those expectations are not met, we begin to demand that they are met. This alone puts lots of strain on the relationship. There will be times when pleasing or serving your spouse will be difficult, but If both of you have a servant’s attitude, there is no way you can go wrong.
Understand you own fears and the baggage you bring to the relationship
Most of us grew up in very dysfunctional families, but it really doesn’t matter if you were raised in a broken home or a highly functional home. When two people come together, they bring different dynamics to the relationship. An awareness of personal flaws can help you adjust well.
Highly Esteem your Spouse
One of the reasons we do not succeed in our relationships is because we fail to place much value and worth on our spouse. We become too familiar with them and soon begin to devalue them because of their flaws. We must resist that temptation and learn to highly esteem them by focusing on positive attributes and not the negative ones.
If you need prayer or somebody to talk to – We are here!
“Marriage is not an end in itself; it is a means by which we may grow in the Lord and realize His glory. Paul S. Rees
The struggle is real
What if marriage was the breathing ground for character development and Christian maturity? When I entered marriage I didn’t see it that way. But today, I’m persuaded God intended us to grow into being Christlike in every stage of life, but especially when married
It isn’t easy living with another person. I don’t care how much you’re in love, you are going to experience some difference of opinion from time to time. It’s not necessarily a bad thing as long as you are handling it in a peaceable manner.
I confess that I’ve never been challenged any other time in my life than I am in my married life. That’s because I am very different from my wife and she is very different from me. Like the saying goes – “opposites attract before marriage – then they attack during the marriage.”
It is important to put a little more effort in living like a Christ follower at home. Any home that exhibits characteristics of strife, violence, and abuse in all its forms is a real dysfunctional home in desperate of a complete makeover. If there are kids in homes with this level of dysfunction, they are immensely affected
- Kids don’t respect parents who profess one thing but we live something else
- Kids get sick of church because of the hypocrisy in the home
- Kids become the victim of divorce because of this level of dysfunction
A Little tough love
Husbands, if you are misbehaving at home – I don’t care how impressive and godly you may look in the public square it is time to really honor Christ at home. It is time to grow and show Christian character. You cannot verbally abuse your wife, treat her like trash, cheat on her, dominate and control her and expect God to answer your prayers.
Wives, if you are misbehaving at home – I don’t care how beautiful you are in appearance or how spiritual your friends think you are it is time to really honor Christ at home. It is time to show Christian character. You cannot disrespect your husband, treat him like trash, dishonor him,, hit him, cheat on him, undermine him, lie to him and be a constant dripping. If you are argumentative, hostile, domineering and aggressive in an unwholesome way, you can hinder your relationship with the Lord.
A Godly Example
The early church father – Tertullian, wrote a letter to his wife around A.D 202. I think it is a very good example of an ideal relationship between a husband and wife. Here is what he wrote:
How beautiful, then, the marriage of two Christians, two who are one in hope, one in desire, one in the way of life they follow, one in the religion they practice. They are as brother and sister, both servants of the same Master. Nothing divides them, either in flesh or in Spirit. They are in very truth, two in one flesh, and where there is but one flesh, there is also but one spirit. They pray together, they worship together, they fast together; instructing one another, encouraging one another, strengthening one another. Side-by-side they face difficulties and persecution, share their consolations. They have no secrets from one another. They never bring sorrow to each other’s hearts…Psalms and hymns they sing to one another. Hearing and seeing this, Christ rejoices. To such as these He gives His peace. Where there also He is present, and where He is there evil is not.”
I hope this letter ministers to you as profoundly as it did to me. I also pray that it changes the way we live at home with our spouses. It’s about time for the complete makeover.
May the Lord bless you today!
"Every bit of stress and worry come because we don't get our way. If our perspective is based on what we want and we don't get what we want – we stress and worry. So, if we wake up in the morning and say to God – "Lord I don't want anything but what you want" – we can live in peace."
Pastor Alan Hardwick