Wives, with all of our women’s liberation and demands for equality, seemed to have lost respect for our husbands, and husbands have perhaps lost respect for what wives do to attempt to “bring home the bacon, and fry it up in a pan”–along with all of the other household chores that she probably does single-handedly.
This loss of respect brings discontentment into a marriage, and if we feed it and allow it to fester, it will take more and more of our once thriving relationship until it is all gone, leaving only bitterness behind. Then we are left to wonder what happened.
Every married couple goes through ups and downs. It is human nature and even the people we love most in the world get on our nerves from time to time. But we don’t have to let a momentary flash of annoyance grow into a monster that will eat our relationship. So what can we do?
For one thing, stop seeking outside counsel before you seek some from within. When I say “outside” I mean anyone not in your marriage, meaning friends, family, co-workers (especially ones of the opposite sex, this is very dangerous), Ann Landers, and pastors.
Many people do seek advice from outside sources when marital differences arise. There are a variety of reasons why they do not turn to their spouse right away. We need a cooling off period. If we are fighting with our spouse, we need some time to get away from each other and cool off. All discussions, when emotions are running high, should be tabled until things cool off anyway. So if you cannot turn to your spouse for reasons mentioned, your only other choice is the third person in your marriage, God.
The first thing that anyone should do is to hit the floor on his or her knees in prayer. If you seek God’s help and advice, He will give it, but you might not like His answer sometimes. He will be truthful, but you might have to take a blow to your self-esteem.
Once I was in my prayer closet detailing my spouse’s many shortcomings to the Lord, where He interrupted me to say, “You’re no picnic to live with either.” Ouch. Of course, He was right because He’s always right. Are you ready to do what He says? If not, you might have to keep coming until your either your knees give out or you give up and change. The only person you can change is you. The rest is up to God.
God may not be the only person besides your spouse you can discuss your feelings and issues with, but there are definitely some precise boundaries that must be erected and never breached unless you want things to go from bad to worse. Do not use the counsel of a friend as a license to air all of your marital dirty laundry, denigrate your spouse’s character, or relate personal details your spouse would be embarrassed for someone else to know.
I know we sometimes shoot off our mouths and later feel ashamed of what we said, but we must stay in control of these things. In that moment just before you open your mouth to divulge intimate details, take one second to think how you would feel if your spouse revealed something of the same delicacy to his friends, something you would feel so ashamed of that you would wish to never even see these people again ever because you could never again look them in the eye. Is this the way we love, honor and cherish?
Let’s do what we pledged to do before God, our families and our friends until we are parted by death.
What do you do when you need counsel in your marriage?