By Mike Riley
One of the most wonderful things God does is join two people in marriage. But not everyone’s marriage is so wonderful! There are problems in marriage! Sometimes devastating, seemingly unbearable problems! If we do not deal with our problems, they will destroy our marriage.
Jesus helps us with the problem of selfishness (Luke 9:23). Me, myself, and I – that’s the whole problem! In marriage we must ask not “what can my mate do for me?” but “what can I do for my mate?” (Compare 1 Corinthians 7:3-5; 1 Corinthians 10:24; 1 Corinthians 13:5; Philippians 2:4; Matthew 7:12). Spend about 10 minutes to list how you might have an attitude of selfishness.
The husband or wife who will humble himself or herself to display such acts of service as did Christ (John 13:3-17), will have a profound effect on their mate and will go a long way in solving the problems in marriage.
The first thing involved in good communication is “listening” (Compare James 1:19; John 8:43; Proverbs 18:13). Do you really stop to “listen” in order to understand how your mate feels?
We must also speak in a “constructive way” (Ephesians 4:29). As we build up our spouse we build up our marriage, and as we tear down our spouse we tear down our marriage. Avoid bitterness and anger (Ephesians 4:31), teasing and sarcasm (Proverbs 26:19), nagging, whining and quarreling (Proverbs 19:13) and lying (Proverbs 6:17). Good communication is well summed up in Ephesians 4:15, “Speaking” – not the silent treatment; “Truth” – Open and honest; “In love” – Our attitude greatly effects our communication.
We are able to forgive because God has forgiven us (Compare Mark 11:25; Colossians 3:13). God teaches us to forgive no matter how many times we are offended (Matthew 18:21-35) or how bad the offense may be (1 John 1:7,9), and when God forgives, God forgets (Hebrews 8:12).
Go home and practice James 5:16. God can heal any breaks in your marriage. Problems in marriage don’t have to be viewed negatively. They can be seen as “stepping stones” to greater maturity and spirituality (James 1:2-4) and ultimately to a better relationship with the one you love the most upon this earth.