Marriage Builders: The Problem of Marriage
“Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.” Leviticus 19:18
This post is directed at those of us who feel dry, dysfunctional or stuck in our relationships. We call this the “problem of marriage” because everyone encounters it at some point in their marriage.
In order to fix our relationships, we have to understand the problem: we are flawed people who have been hurt and damaged by one another and sometimes, we can’t see what to do with that hurt. In our pain, we in turn hurt those who are close to us and love us, and we can also hurt ourselves. Often, we hurt ourselves by overeating or alcohol, we seek medication or some substance or person to sooth us; or maybe we fight in order to return the hurt.
Unfortunately, these solutions only make the initial injury worse – no problem is solved and others are created without God’s help. We need to see that our pride is in the way and our hearts are going in the wrong direction. We must recognize our need to be loved and make the allowance for this. We need to see that our spouses are not our enemies. It is necessary for us to move beyond the hurt, which takes effort, courage and sacrificial love.
“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. This is my command: Love each other.” John 15:12-17
Christ’s love was expressed, not only in words, but also in His sacrificial death. We may not have to sacrifice ourselves literally for our spouses, but we have to see that real love is sacrificial.
Without this kind of radical love, we may see our marriages as dry or dysfunctional or stuck—and maybe they are. We tried to change our spouses and realized that would never work. They, in turn, tried to change us; it didn’t work. We tried to manipulate and/or attack–all led to discontent. We are frustrated, confused, and disillusioned.
We face challenges and our inclination may be to give up, move on; unfortunately, what we give up is God’s best for us. We must have the desire to make marriage work, and we have to want to be in a good marriage. We can’t allow our pettiness to overwhelm and consume us. We must pursue our spouses with real love—not pettiness and retribution. No matter what we have been through, we can turn this relationship around.
Do you love and value Christ as Lord? If so, you are on the right track. Now take His love and let it overflow in you and on to your spouse. Grow in your faith and ask God to show you His love and help you share it. You must grasp his grace and how Christ loves us; if you do not, you will only be able to see problems and set-backs, and you will regress in your relationship.
- Have you tried to change or manipulate your spouse?
- What can you do to prevent the instinct to give up and move on?
- How can you live Christ’s love and share it with your spouse?
- Christ gives us an example of sacrificial love. How can His love for you motivate you to be a better ‘lover’ to your spouse?
Check out the entire Marriage Builders series by Dr. Richard Krejcir.