How to Break-through Marriage Barriers

Jackie Robinson

There’s nothing I love more in the summer than taking in a good movie with my hubby. Recently we went to one that’s worth mentioning for more than one reason. We went to see the movie, 42 that tells the story of how Jackie Robinson broke the race barrier in professional baseball.

It’s inspiringgut wrenchingly so at times. It’s cleanexcept for some bad language here and there. It gives you greater perspective in a lot of ways.

I know it’s been out a while, so you may have a hard time finding a theater that’s still showing it or maybe you can wait until it comes out on DVD. But it’s worth hunting down!

Obviously, this movie gives you perspective as to what it was like for an African-American man or woman in the prejudiced American society of the 1940’s. I couldn’t help but notice that it also brings perspective to those who face barriers in marriage. Let me list just a few …

Barriers in Marriage –

  • The barrier of being married to an unbeliever who’s resistant to, even disrespectful of your faith.
  • The barrier of living daily with an emotionally abusive spouseeven if it’s only occasionally.
  • The barrier of living with a spouse who’s contentious or loves to argue.

Even if your spouse doesn’t fit any of those categories, we’ve all experienced barriers in marriage that seem insurmountable at times. It’s easy to feel that fighting back against mistreatment or prejudice is the way to handle conflict. But it really muddies the waters. No longer does your spouse’s hateful actions or words matter once you return “evil for evil.”

You move from being innocent to being guilty of reacting or worse. 

And, more importantly, it isn’t what Christ calls His followers to do and be. The GM, Branch Rickey (played by Harrison Ford), reminds Jackie of this incredibly difficult calling when so much is on the line, saying …

“Your enemy will be out in force, but you cannot meet him on his own low ground.”

That’s what we must do when we face barriers in marriage. Never stoop to hateful words and actions no matter how hateful your spouse may be acting. This doesn’t mean responding with a holier-than-thou attitude either, but rather demonstrating a Christ-like attitude of kindness, humility and forgiveness.

I know, I know! That’s so hard when we’ve just been deeply hurt by our spouse!

In fact, it’s impossible to do without surrendering our hurting hearts to Christ and letting Him love and forgive through us. Simply letting Christ’s abundant love and mercy flow to our mates will inspire them to greater heights than any sharp-tongued reaction or logical debate ever will!

What other marriage barriers have you encountered that you could add to my list above?

What has helped you to surrender your hurts to God?

“Through patience a ruler can be persuaded, and a gentle tongue can break a bone.” -Proverbs 25:15 (NIV)

Check out the trailer for this incredible movie. I promise this movie will inspire you to greater heights in your marriage and life … 42 Trailer

Photo by Baseball Collection

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Linking up with – NOBH, Momma Notes, Marriage Moments Monday, Making Your Home Sing Monday, Matrimonial Monday, Playdates with God and Marriage Monday’s

  • Amy mayen

    I’d like to see that movie too! A very good post 🙂 I’m visiting from moms the word 🙂

    • So glad you stopped by, Amy! Yes, you have to see it! It’s probably going to be among my favorite movies of all time! Very inspirational!

      • Amy mayen

        The most recent movie I saw was cloud atlas. I’m not 100% sure what the movie was about..but I loved it. I need to watch it again…it’s one of those pulp fiction type movies that you need to watch a million times to get it.

  • Amy mayen

    I’d like to see that movie too! A very good post 🙂 I’m visiting from moms the word 🙂

  • my husband and I haven’t watched the movie yet, looks like a great one to hunt for!

    This is a great topic. It reminds me of Fawn Weavers post last week, where she talked about the best gift a wife can give her husband at the end of the long stressful day (peace, quietness). Not everyone seemed to agree and it seemed to come down to rights and privileges in marriage.

    I think every day presents most couples an opportunity to love unselfishly. Our very nature as humans can be a barrier all by itself! in that we seem to desire to sow where we have been treated well.
    I love this “it’s impossible to do without surrendering our hurting hearts to Christ and letting Him love and forgive through us”
    Truly that’s the only way to stay one-flesh, inspite of barriers and bumps.
    Great thoughts, as always!

    • Yes, I hope you see it, Ngina.

      I can see where that might have ruffled some feathers! And I agree that there might be occasions when we need to deal with an issue. But more often than not, conflicts in marriage are something that need God’s grace not our human reasoning! I know I could err to the side of grace a whole lot more in my marriage and we’d be all the better for it!

      Thanks so much for stopping by and weighing in. You’ve added an interesting observation, my friend!

  • my husband and I haven’t watched the movie yet, looks like a great one to hunt for!

    This is a great topic. It reminds me of Fawn Weavers post last week, where she talked about the best gift a wife can give her husband at the end of the long stressful day (peace, quietness). Not everyone seemed to agree and it seemed to come down to rights and privileges in marriage.

    I think every day presents most couples an opportunity to love unselfishly. Our very nature as humans can be a barrier all by itself! in that we seem to desire to sow where we have been treated well.
    I love this “it’s impossible to do without surrendering our hurting hearts to Christ and letting Him love and forgive through us”
    Truly that’s the only way to stay one-flesh, inspite of barriers and bumps.
    Great thoughts, as always!

  • So glad you stopped by, Amy! Yes, you have to see it! It’s probably going to be among my favorite movies of all time! Very inspirational!

  • Yes, I hope you see it, Ngina.

    I can see where that might have ruffled some feathers! And I agree that there might be occasions when we need to deal with an issue. But more often than not, conflicts in marriage are something that need God’s grace not our human reasoning! I know I could err to the side of grace a whole lot more in my marriage and we’d be all the better for it!

    Thanks so much for stopping by and weighing in. You’ve added an interesting observation, my friend!

  • Amy mayen

    The most recent movie I saw was cloud atlas. I’m not 100% sure what the movie was about..but I loved it. I need to watch it again…it’s one of those pulp fiction type movies that you need to watch a million times to get it.

  • And our gentle answers can turn away wrath, Beth, and when one partner can hold the line and behave in a godly way it can become impossible for a fight to ensue. As we take the high road of love, it helps our partner to be better able to choose to do the same.

    PS We loved 42! EXCELLENT film.

    • Yes, finding that “high road” is sometimes easier said than done. I’m still learning how to turn things over to God when the heat is on, but I know the results are SO much better when I do! Thanks so much for coming by and encouraging me, Sheila! I appreciated your sweet words to me over at your place too. 🙂

      • You are so welcome.Encouraging each other daily, I think, is one of the ways we can help each other find or stay on the high road. Blessings to you, Beth. Thanks!

  • And our gentle answers can turn away wrath, Beth, and when one partner can hold the line and behave in a godly way it can become impossible for a fight to ensue. As we take the high road of love, it helps our partner to be better able to choose to do the same.

    PS We loved 42! EXCELLENT film.

  • Nan

    Wow, that’s a great movie quote (and a great post, my friend). I have not seen nor heard of this movie but I rarely go to movies and rarely watch regular t.v. (I watch Neflix, lol!). But it sounds like it would be a good one.
    Another boundary is one of our own making, and that is putting up walls in marriage. Walls of anger, bitterness, hurt, or self-righteousness. Walls that make it difficult for us to see out or our spouse to see in. And certainly put a wall between us and God as well.
    Thanks so much for hosting today!

    • Nan

      Oooooops. I mean thanks for linking up to the “Making Your Home Sing Monday” linky party today! The minute I hit post I realized my mistake, lol! 😉

    • Yes, I saw that quote on the trailer before I went to the movie and that was all it took for me to want to go see it, Nan! Yes, that boundary is so hard to tear down too–especially when we feel hurt or attacked by our spouse. Thanks for weighing in and being an encourager in my life! Hugs to you!

  • Nan

    Wow, that’s a great movie quote (and a great post, my friend). I have not seen nor heard of this movie but I rarely go to movies and rarely watch regular t.v. (I watch Neflix, lol!). But it sounds like it would be a good one.
    Another boundary is one of our own making, and that is putting up walls in marriage. Walls of anger, bitterness, hurt, or self-righteousness. Walls that make it difficult for us to see out or our spouse to see in. And certainly put a wall between us and God as well.
    Thanks so much for hosting today!

  • Nan

    Oooooops. I mean thanks for linking up to the “Making Your Home Sing Monday” linky party today! The minute I hit post I realized my mistake, lol! 😉

  • Mai

    I wanna see that movie! 😀 I can’t help but remember the movie I watched a couple of months ago, FIREPROOF. We and our spouse are two different people and it’s so hard when we felt that we have been deeply hurt by our spouse. As long as God is the center of each other’s life, anything great is possible!

    My husband’s past sometimes haunted me (that was in the early part of our marriage). It feel likes I can’t get over or move on. But who am I to sulk on the past? Past is past and I can’t do anything about it. So, I seek God and eventually, I tried to understand and learn to accept it. Who am I to judge? With God’s grace, I learn to forgive and be happy about what’s going on with our lives and still hopeful about the future…I know we have lots of beautiful things ahead in stored for us!

    Visiting you from the Happy Wives Club Link Up.

    • Yes, Fireproof was one of my favorites too! And it really illustrated this unselfish position against a spouse who is hateful, Mai. Thanks for reminding me of that! And thanks so much for coming by to visit and encourage. I tried to find your blog but couldn’t. If you have one, let me know and I’ll stop by!

  • The quote you shared from the movie is terrific. How quickly hurtful words can form and tumble out of our mouths, and how we must be on guard against them. I would say that prayer and practice help me a great deal in being wiser in my choice of words. As my mother-in-law always says: Nothing I never said hurt me or anyone else. 🙂

    • Oh, yes! Prayer and practice are such a powerful combination in breaking through a marriage barrier, Kim. I love that quote from your MIL. She’s one “not-dumb” woman! haha!

  • The quote you shared from the movie is terrific. How quickly hurtful words can form and tumble out of our mouths, and how we must be on guard against them. I would say that prayer and practice help me a great deal in being wiser in my choice of words. As my mother-in-law always says: Nothing I never said hurt me or anyone else. 🙂

  • We want to see 42. I didn’t know it was already gone from the theaters. ha. (We’re slow to see movies, obviously.)

    Thanks for making these spiritual analogies. We all have marriage barriers that we need to work through and this is a good reminder to think about them in a new way. Thanks, Beth!

    • Well, it may not be gone from the theaters in your area. It’s just showing at select theaters around here now. We had to go a little further to find it but it was worth the drive, Lisa! Thanks to you too for being a sweet supporter here at Messy Marriage. I always look forward to seeing your face pop up, my friend!

  • We want to see 42. I didn’t know it was already gone from the theaters. ha. (We’re slow to see movies, obviously.)

    Thanks for making these spiritual analogies. We all have marriage barriers that we need to work through and this is a good reminder to think about them in a new way. Thanks, Beth!

  • We all have barriers like you have said Beth, and I like the quote you referred to… not stooping to the enemy’s low ground. That hit home for me, thanks for sharing. Do have a super blessed day!
    Love

    • Yes, we do all have barriers, Ugochi. They may not be the ones I’ve listed, but marriage and life are hard. I feel like if your marriage hasn’t hit a hard patch yet, then you haven’t been married long enough! haha! Thanks for your wise words at your place too. It was one of my favorites that I read today. And thanks so much for encouraging me here as well, my friend!

  • We all have barriers like you have said Beth, and I like the quote you referred to… not stooping to the enemy’s low ground. That hit home for me, thanks for sharing. Do have a super blessed day!
    Love

  • Yes, finding that “high road” is sometimes easier said than done. I’m still learning how to turn things over to God when the heat is on, but I know the results are SO much better when I do! Thanks so much for coming by and encouraging me, Sheila! I appreciated your sweet words to me over at your place too. 🙂

  • Yes, I saw that quote on the trailer before I went to the movie and that was all it took for me to want to go see it, Nan! Yes, that boundary is so hard to tear down too–especially when we feel hurt or attacked by our spouse. Thanks for weighing in and being an encourager in my life! Hugs to you!

  • Haha! I’m spacey like that sometimes too. 😉

  • Yes, Fireproof was one of my favorites too! And it really illustrated this unselfish position against a spouse who is hateful, Mai. Thanks for reminding me of that! And thanks so much for coming by to visit and encourage. I tried to find your blog but couldn’t. If you have one, let me know and I’ll stop by!

  • Oh, yes! Prayer and practice are such a powerful combination in breaking through a marriage barrier, Kim. I love that quote from your MIL. She’s one “not-dumb” woman! haha!

  • Well, it may not be gone from the theaters in your area. It’s just showing at select theaters around here now. We had to go a little further to find it but it was worth the drive, Lisa! Thanks to you too for being a sweet supporter here at Messy Marriage. I always look forward to seeing your face pop up, my friend!

  • Yes, we do all have barriers, Ugochi. They may not be the ones I’ve listed, but marriage and life are hard. I feel like if your marriage hasn’t hit a hard patch yet, then you haven’t been married long enough! haha! Thanks for your wise words at your place too. It was one of my favorites that I read today. And thanks so much for encouraging me here as well, my friend!

  • rboerner

    Sometimes meeting the enemy at his level feels rewarding at the time it is going on but you are so right that if we want to break down barriers we have to allow Christ to help us rise above it. At one point in my marriage I faced the barrier of my husband putting me down because of my involvement in church and my dependence on God. I wanted to defend my God but am learning that He is a pretty BIG God and doesn’t need my help. When I choose not to “stoop to the enemy’s level” through not engaging, barriers are broken! I believe that God has broken those barriers down over the years in our marriage because I see Chris is much more accepting of my lifestyle(still may not agree but more willing to accept) Will definitely have to watch this movie! Since it has to do with sports, I can probably get Chris to watch it with me. 🙂

    • Yes, that first barrier really hits home for you, doesn’t it, Becky? And when you described “defending your God” I imagined a little toy Chihuahua barking at the big scary attacker. Really doesn’t get the job done, does it?! And the fact is, our spouses, no matter how angry or mean they may seem in the moment, are not a match for God either! Why can’t we just get that through our heads and fully trust our Savior? 🙂 I hope you get to see it. It’s showing down at St. Clair 10–somewhat close to you! Hugs to you!

  • rboerner

    Sometimes meeting the enemy at his level feels rewarding at the time it is going on but you are so right that if we want to break down barriers we have to allow Christ to help us rise above it. At one point in my marriage I faced the barrier of my husband putting me down because of my involvement in church and my dependence on God. I wanted to defend my God but am learning that He is a pretty BIG God and doesn’t need my help. When I choose not to “stoop to the enemy’s level” through not engaging, barriers are broken! I believe that God has broken those barriers down over the years in our marriage because I see Chris is much more accepting of my lifestyle(still may not agree but more willing to accept) Will definitely have to watch this movie! Since it has to do with sports, I can probably get Chris to watch it with me. 🙂

  • You are so welcome.Encouraging each other daily, I think, is one of the ways we can help each other find or stay on the high road. Blessings to you, Beth. Thanks!

  • Such a great point here: “You move from being innocent to being guilty of reacting or worse.” Actually reminded me of that part in 42 where Jackie had to contain himself because Harrison Ford told him that the only thing people will remember is his reaction (not what preceded it). So true in other areas of our life!

    • Yes! You’ve seen it and know exactly what I was trying to convey. It was a very powerful and convicting message, Fawn. Thanks so much for stopping by and encouraging me!

  • Such a great point here: “You move from being innocent to being guilty of reacting or worse.” Actually reminded me of that part in 42 where Jackie had to contain himself because Harrison Ford told him that the only thing people will remember is his reaction (not what preceded it). So true in other areas of our life!

  • Yes, that first barrier really hits home for you, doesn’t it, Becky. And when you described “defending your God” I imagined a little toy Chihuahua barking at the big scary attacker. Really doesn’t get the job done, does it?! And the fact is, our spouses, no matter how angry or mean they may seem in the moment, are not a match for God either! Why can’t we just get that through our heads and fully trust our Savior? 🙂 I hope you get to see it. It’s showing down at St. Clair 10–somewhat close to you! Hugs to you!

  • Yes! You’ve seen it and know exactly what I was trying to convey. It was a very powerful and convicting message, Fawn. Thanks so much for stopping by and encouraging me!

  • My pleasure! Thank you for writing such encouraging posts.

  • It is a true test of our identity in Christ to repay evil with kindness, in any relationship.

  • It is a true test of our identity in Christ to repay evil with kindness, in any relationship.

  • busymomof10

    thanks for this great post! I”ve made a note of this movie to watch when it comes to Netflix. My fellas love sports and will enjoy this movie!

    Repaying evil with good is one of the most challenging areas of our Christian faith and definitely a testimony of true godliness. My pastor recently told us that Pastor Saeed in Iran actually hugged his captors after they beat him!!! WOW! God has a lot of work to do in me!!!!!

    thanks for sharing and linking up for Marriage Monday!

  • busymomof10

    thanks for this great post! I”ve made a note of this movie to watch when it comes to Netflix. My fellas love sports and will enjoy this movie!

    Repaying evil with good is one of the most challenging areas of our Christian faith and definitely a testimony of true godliness. My pastor recently told us that Pastor Saeed in Iran actually hugged his captors after they beat him!!! WOW! God has a lot of work to do in me!!!!!

    thanks for sharing and linking up for Marriage Monday!

  • Sarah

    Taking my hurts to God … always the best choice.

    Thanks for splashing with us and linking up to splash other mommas as well.

    Just moms. Sharing our notes. Creating a melody.

    http://justsarahdawn.blogspot.com/2013/05/momma-notes.html

    Be blessed bunches,

    Sarah