Fighting for Your Marriage

Did your holidays bring home more than just irritating in-laws? Sometimes the stress of the holidays can magnify problems in your marriage that were on the backburner until now.
Perhaps you feel as if you are in the fight of your life to save your marriage.
First off, let’s consider …
3 Common Reactions to a “Messy Marriage”
1.  Attack Your Partner
When things go wrong, we look for someone to blame. It’s a simple law of nature that began as early as the Garden of Eden. We are drawn like a magnet to blame our spouse for the problem and overlook our own missteps and offenses. This is a slippery slope that once you’ve entered into it, it becomes increasingly more difficult to avoid. 

2.  Hide from Your Problem
Second only to attacking the partner is hiding from the problem. This also involves a generous dose of denial. You’re afraid of conflict, so you lull yourself with the idea that things aren’t as bad as they seem. Or perhaps you see small improvements here and there and ignore the bigger problems that ravage the marriage foundation. At some point, you will not only feel that you’re hiding from the problem, but also your partner. You’ll avoid them at all costs, but this proves to only widen the chasm.

3.  Run from Your Partner to a Substitute Partner
I’m not just speaking of affairs here. As humans we are quite resourceful, latching onto just about anything that brings pleasure. This includes everything from workaholism, alcoholism, materialism to over-parenting or even over-involvement in church, just to name a few.
If there’s a passion in your life that pulls you away from the passion you should have for your spouse, it needs to be surrendered or brought back into balance.
The 3 reactions above are unhealthy. Instead we need to “respond” to our marriage problems by …
Fighting the Problem. In other words, we need to …

Fight for our marriages

Indalo Rainbow Warrior
How do we do that?
We become like any great warrior from the Bible. Let’s take King David for example. He did certain things that kept him or got him and his country back on track.
1.  He prayed before going into battle.
Ask Christ to help you to stop seeing your spouse as the enemy and see the problems as the true enemies. Ask Him to reveal what those problems are. You may think you know, but you probably don’t see the problems you bring to the table. This requires humility and surrender, even as you fight.

2.  He surrounded himself with godly counselors and those who were bold enough to tell him the truth.
Remember Nathan the prophet’s pointed words to David? (2 Samuel 12) He listened and took in the rebuke. 

3.  He took responsibility for his sins.
After Nathan’s corrective rebuke, David confessed his sin and changed his ways. He didn’t blame Bathsheba for tempting him with an alluring rooftop bath. He didn’t blame Uriah for being too busy for his beautiful wife. He simply accepted his responsibility and the painful consequences that came with his wrong actions.

4.  He didn’t give up doing what was right, even when the battle was painful and confusing.
You’re going to feel weary of fighting for your marriage, but don’t give up and never quit relying on God’s strength to get you through to the other side—to victory.
Do you see yourself reacting in any of the 3 ways that I described above? If so, begin to respond this New Year by fighting for your marriage! 

Photo by Indalo Art (Flickr)

Today’s Post is Linked to – 

  • Tara_pohlkottepress

    oh yes. my link on Imperfect prose today is about my husband and I working through number 4. it’s hard, but so worth it.

  • loved this! we often don’t even realize we’ve labeled our spouse as “the enemy” so we end up doing the three reactions above instead of fighting. Thanks so much for this reminder!! 🙂

  • nice…lots of truth in this…and some of those substitute partners may not be bad things, but if they get in the way, they are….

  • messymarriage

    Number 4 is a tough one! It’s so hard to hold on to the right attitude especially when our spouse slips up. Whoever said that marriage should be a 50/50 proposition probably got a divorce! Often we have to take up the slack, persevering through the rough times. Hopefully, our spouses will do the same for us when we are weak. And thankfully, God helps us take up the slack all the time! Thanks so much for stopping by, Tara. I’ll have to check out your post next!

  • messymarriage

    Thanks, Marisa! Yeah, we don’t realize that we very often fall into the trap of thinking our spouse is the enemy. My husband and I have a “conflict card” that we use to remind ourselves of certain truths in those hard times and “my spouse is not the enemy” is one of them!

  • messymarriage

    Thanks Brian. I really appreciate your encouragement! And yes, the “substitutes” are very often good things gone bad. That’s why they’re so easy to fall into. We think we are doing good and right things–how could that be wrong? But like you said, if they get in the way, then they need to be recognized and changed.

  • There is a lot of truth in these words. I think the best thing that happened in my marriage was when I started taking responsibility for my feelings and needs and telling my husband about them in a calm voice and not the voice that made it impossible for him to hear my words. In other words, I started speaking his language so he could understand me.

  • Such a great post! Fighting for marriage is so much work, but I’m thankful at how God has blessed the efforts my husband and I have put into having a prosperous marriage. Thanks for sharing!

  • messymarriage

    Thanks for stopping by, Kelly. And I’m glad you and your husband have fought for your marriage too! It’s so good to know there are great marriage warriors out there! 🙂

  • messymarriage

    That is so crucial! We think that a good marriage is when the other person gets their act straightened out. And although that’s important, there’s so much we can do to move our marriage in the right direction too, if we’ll only look at ourselves. Also, I loved the way you said it, you started speaking his language so he could hear. Attacking our spouses truly makes them deaf to our feelings. Great thoughts! Thanks so much for saying!

  • Emily Wierenga

    this running from your partner to a substitute, this really got me. thank you. for making me a better wife.

  • You always give great advice, and the best part is that we have models in the Bible to follow. Thank you for pointing that out.

  • Thank you for starting our year out right, thinking the way we should and placing value on our marriage!

  • rboerner

    This is my guilty pleasure…substituting lots of good things for my marriage. I realized this a couple of years ago. I stopped serving in an area at church that I loved to serve but it was having an affect on my marriage. When God brought it to my attention I didn’t want to quit but since I have, my marriage has gotten stronger (we go to church as a family and we are even hosting a smalll group at our house – WHOAAAA – God is BIG!) I still struggle with running to friends and mom as a “substitute” periodically. I’m so glad God is patient with me and gives me LOTS of chances. 🙂 Thanks again Beth for all of your great suggestions and reminders.

  • messymarriage

    Thanks so much, Courtney! Yeah, I think we sometimes forget that the people in the Bible were not far removed from our day to day struggles. I’m so glad many of them led the way with great faith!

  • messymarriage

    As always, I truly appreciate your encouragement, Emily! Thanks for all you do at Imperfect Prose!

  • messymarriage

    You’re a great example of how God can bless us when we surrender the “substitutes” in our lives to Him. We have to stay in tune with God’s heartbeat to know what’s taking over in our lives, though. But it sounds like you did that, Becky, and God blessed your sacrifice. Maybe you should write a guest post about that sometime! 🙂 As always, thanks for your support and encouragement!