No one sets out to be unhappy in their marriage. No one hopes for misery, frustration, and pain. Yet, for many they suddenly find themselves in that place. How did it happen? How did you get to the place you never wanted to experience?
Most assume the problem is either the result of circumstances beyond their control or something that is their spouse’s fault. They then either live in a sad existence of misery or opt to leave the relationship. Neither brings joy and freedom in their heart. Both leave scars of pain and frustration.
This is what the Good News is for!
The message of the New Covenant is that into the very real situations and relationships, there is hope. We do not have to live with what seems to be the only answers to life’s greatest struggles. The unbelievable news of Christ is that we are forgiven and declared fully righteous by faith! We are loved by God in the same way that He loves His Son. We are made righteous to the same degree that His Son is righteous. We have the same favor expressed toward us that He expresses toward His Son! This is Good News!
As that news becomes person and transforms my heart, it revolutionizes how I think and relate to others! It even changes who I am as a spouse! I no longer have to look to my spouse to satisfy my needs. I no longer have to demand their love. I can set them free from expectation and the pressure to be all I need. My heart is so radically altered that I no longer relate by a system of do-for-me, then I’ll-do-for you. I am so overwhelmed with the grace of God that it now flows from me in a one-way direction. I am free and it shows up in my love for my spouse!
But if it never reaches a personal parts of me
If the Good News of grace never becomes personal in me, then I’ll live with a form of godliness but deny the very power that it has to change me. I will live with a self-motivated approach in my marriage – even as a Christian! When I do, the following 15 will draw me into a deeper place of frustration, pain, and sadness in my marriage:
- Constantly compare your marriage to other marriages.
- Regularly talk to your spouse about what you expect from them.
- Go over in your mind all the things that your spouse ought to be doing.
- Tell your spouse often all the good things you do and the bad things that they do.
- Only do for your spouse if you see them doing for you.
- Rarely show the same grace to your spouse that you received from God.
- Dream about how someone else would make a much better spouse for you.
- Expect your wife to be submissive / your husband to be the spiritual leader.
- Use sarcasm, insults, yelling, talking down to, or silence as forms of communication.
- Make sure your needs are met first before you seek to meet your spouse’s needs.
- Keep your relationship with God on the basis of guilt, fear, condemnation, rules, and pressure.
- Expect your spouse to be the one who fills you and completes you.
- Avoid expressing gratefulness too much out of fear they would stop trying.
- Use guilt and statements like, “You never…” and “You always…” to communicate with your spouse.
- Remind your spouse of their failures.
This is where so many people live.
This is the existence in which couples, regardless of their faith, find themselves trapped. This is what starts as a quiet despair and leads to an affair, separation, and divorce. This is what’s tearing apart families. This is what destroys hearts. This is the graveyard in which many live.
There is a place of joy that is greater than this!
There is an experience of love that is greater than just seeing that my needs are met. That experience begins in knowing the reality of forgiveness and rightness with God received into a humble heart. Though this may have been how you saw your parents relate, it doesn’t have to be how you relate! Though you may have been taught these are how God relates to you, they are not! This is the message of Good News by grace! The demands and requirements are met in Jesus Christ! He does not withhold favor until you are more pleasing. He revolutionizes the “do-to-get” system. He lavishes us with love while we were undeserving! He does not cry out with “do-for-me!” The breaking of this “do-for-me then I’ll do-for-you” system awakens a thrill unmatched by anything else. You’ve been set free from the system of relating to God this way. See yourself as free! Then set your spouse free!
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