Think of a movie you love, like Forrest Gump, The Wizard of Oz, The Sound of Music, the Indiana Jones series, or Star Wars. Would you love those movies if halfway through the struggle they gave up on finding solutions?
Dorothy looks down at Toto in the basket and says, “Forget it. It’s too much work.” Or Indie says, “Snakes? Nope. I’m out.” (Although, that may have been my response to the snakes. Yuck!)
No. We love those movies because they find solutions to overcome.
They fight through the struggle so we all get the satisfaction of a happy ending. More satisfied than if they hadn’t had the challenge to face!
What about your marriage?
Are you willing to deal with the (figurative) snakes, witches, and Darth Vader’s that block the path to your happy ending?
Are you ready to find solutions for the discord in your marriage?
You have a choice. Every day you can choose to protect, honor, and build your marriage by finding solutions to the hurt, or you can choose to let it crumble and be destroyed.
According to a divorce lawyer, James J. Sexton, of the over 1,000 marriages he’s helped dissolve, not one of them said when they got married they planned to get divorced.
I did a Google search on “divorce-proof your marriage.” There were 32.3 MILLION results. Each article contained similar admonitions that require some thought and effort but aren’t as difficult or costly as filing for divorce.
When my husband confessed his pornography addiction ten years ago, I had a choice. I could stay or I could go. He had, basically, been unfaithful, so I could bolt for the door. Most people would have nodded along and patted me on the back for my departure. I can’t say the option did not cross my mind. The pain, anger, and disbelief threatened to crush me.
When your marriage feels difficult, it’s hard to be objective. It’s nearly impossible to see solutions beyond the pain.
But, there is a clear path. One I spend my days sharing with other wives who’ve been betrayed by the person who vowed to love them forever. There are several solutions you can adopt today toward less pain, clarity, relief, and a better life together.
Skim the list for one to start with. Pick just one. Then return to the list for a next and a next. It’s not magic, but God is stronger than you. He won’t abandon you. You won’t always feel this way.
Which solution will you begin with?
Pray for your spouse and your marriage.
When you are hurt, this is tough. But, one thing I learned while fighting for our marriage, was to pray for my husband. Yes, it started out as “God change him!” I will be honest, that’s what I wanted.
An interesting thing happened as I committed to praying for my man every day (even with gritted teeth), my heart toward him changed. Subtly at first, however, as I asked God to change him, God worked on me.
With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith. We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Find one thing to praise about your spouse each day.
So often when our marriages hurt, we lose sight of the good things in our spouse. All we see is the pain, the ugliness, the faults, the behaviors, words, or attitudes of our spouse that make us crazy. Guess what? You make your spouse crazy, too.
Take time to shift your perspective, even a little bit. It’ll help. What one kind, honest word can you speak to your spouse today?
Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up.
Watch your words.
Resist the urge to cut, criticize, and wound them in your conversations. In Julia Natfulin’s article, “9 Signs You’re Sabotaging Your Marriage Without Realizing It,” she says, “Arguing with your partner is a normal part of being in a relationship . . . bringing up a single point of contention over and over again without coming to a compromise (or simply agreeing to disagree) could put your relationship under constant stress.”Do you enjoy being beat over the head about the same thing? Neither does your spouse. Stop picking a fight with your spouse.
That doesn’t mean shoving the real issues under the rug, pretending you don’t have something to resolve. Talk over the issue, come to a resolution, and move on. And, when the next fight comes, don’t bring this last item up.
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage, and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Believe the best for and about your spouse.
Choose to believe the best—another difficult one when your marriage struggles. Think about the last time someone falsely accused you. How did that feel? What did you wish the other person would believe about you in that moment? Were lies spread about you by the offended party? Did they fail to give you a fair trial?
Now, look at your spouse and the issues causing problems. Put yourself in your spouse’s shoes for a moment. Is it possible you aren’t seeing everything about this situation? Perhaps it’s time to approach your spouse with the curiosity of a sleuth attempting to solve a mystery. Would some more understanding help you? Remember, you are on the same team.
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
Pick your friends wisely.
Don’t think you left peer pressure behind in high school. It’s alive and real in your marriage. Are your friends getting divorced? Their struggles affect what you hear and the words they speak to you. Do you have strong, healthy marriage role models in your life? Whoever you choose to spend the most time with greatly influences your marriage. So pick which type of peer pressure you activate today.
Pick what you say carefully too. When one woman talks negatively about her husband, it doesn’t take long for the rest of us listening to easily jump on the bandwagon. What if, instead, you surround yourself with women who speak in kind, honoring, and respectful terms about their husbands? Are their marriages perfect? Don’t fool yourself. Women like this choose to shore up their marriages by speaking well of their husbands.
And men also need to be careful about what they say. Using phrases like, “the little woman, ball and chain, the wife, bitch, the old lady” show disrespect. Want to build up your marriage? Speak about your wife so well that other men take notice. If your friends can’t or won’t change how they refer to their wives, find new friends.
The righteous will inherit the land and dwell in it forever.
The mouths of the righteous utter wisdom,
and their tongues speak what is just.
The law of their God is in their hearts;
their feet do not slip.
Have sex regularly.
Sex doesn’t fix everything in a marriage, but it is an indicator of the health of your marriage. Michele Weiner-Davis calls this being sex-starved. She says, “If your relationship is sex-starved, you or your spouse should re-examine the reasons it’s happening and do whatever it takes to bring back the passion in your marriage. Even if it’s slow going in the beginning, you have to start somewhere.”
Sexual intimacy assures your spouse that you find them physically appealing, which is something we all desire. We all need to know our spouse wants to have sex with us.
I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine;
Schedule a checkup.
Your marriage, like your physical health, needs a regular checkup. Though you can take stock at home, it’s often more effective to do this with a professional coach or therapist.
How well do you tell each other the truth?
Are you hiding anything from your spouse—text messages, emails, co-worker relationships, finances, social media accounts?
These are all forms of infidelity. If you answered yes to any of those items, it’s time to find a good marriage counselor or coach in your area and get a tune-up. Any contact, habit, or relationship that draws your attention away from your spouse sabotages your marriages. One of the healthiest things you can do is check in regularly with a professional, experienced neutral party. Get an unbiased opinion about where you need to shore up your marriage.
But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.
On a scale of 1-5, where would you rate the health of your marriage? How quick are you to find solutions?
Be honest with yourself. Now ask your spouse the same.
Then, schedule some undivided attention for at least 30 minutes.
Turn off your cell phones. No TV. Shut the computer. Get a babysitter for the kids or talk after bedtime.
Just the two of you. Have that heart-to-heart conversation you need. Your marriage is worth the initial awkwardness of this conversation.
Fight for your marriage. Adopt preventative steps today. That thirty minutes could save you years of hurt, tens of thousands of dollars, and unspeakable pain for your children.
The only way to divorce-proof your marriage is to protect it at all costs. Both of you. On the same team desiring the same outcomes searching for better solutions.
Ready for a check-up? Click here for a Free Consultation. You’ll receive a healthy starting point and a non-judgmental ear. I’m sorry you’re hurting. Let me know how I can help.