Marriages end every day because men and women believe a lie. Circumstances vary from one couple to another, but the lie is always the same. What lie do they believe? The lie they believe is that their marriage is over. And everywhere they turn they seem to always find voices that support the lie.
This happens when husbands and wives with troubled hearts going through tough times in their marriage reach out for help. And the people in their lives who try to help say things like, “it’s too late, your marriage is over.” “Your marriage is too damaged, you should just move on.” And “you deserve better than this. God has a better plan for you.”
It’s easy to find good advice on how to make a marriage last. Anyone married long enough to weather a few storms should have valuable things to say. If you ask enough people or read enough material you will probably get a wide variety of answers. So much so, It may be difficult to choose what is the best advice to focus your attention on.
Over the years since we started this marriage ministry, I’ve thought about this idea a lot. I’ve wondered as we prepared for teaching a class, or meeting with a couple for private coaching. Is there a single piece of advice that’s more important than anything else we share? Read more
Blame shifting is one of the biggest reasons couples have a hard time resolving their marital conflicts. We all do it at one time or another. But that doesn’t mean we should. Because the answer to the problem is never in finding who to blame. The answer, whatever the problem, is always found when someone takes responsibility.
Many times couples have come to us with marriage problems and with their own ideas of fixing the marriage by fixing their spouse.While neither husband or wife claim to have achieved perfection, they are set on believing their marriage problems are the other person’s fault. Each one will admit to the things they do wrong, but they weigh their own faults in a balance against their spouse’s faults and the balance always leans in their favor.
Husbands and wives fall into the same trap all other relationships fall into when there is conflict. We lose sight of what’s most important and we become fixated on who’s fault it is. Who did what to whom? Who started this?
“It’s her fault because she did such and such.” “It’s his fault because he should have done that.” Around and around we go. Where it stops, nobody knows.Read more
Have you ever given God an assignment? You’re probably thinking no way, I would never do that. And you would be right to reject the idea if I was talking about demanding Him an order. But that’s not what I mean. I would never give Him an order or demand. However, I do believe our Father wants us to give Him assignments. And I believe He wants us to trust Him with whatever assignment we give Him.
Let me explain by telling you where I first got this idea.
A few years ago when we were in a meeting with a ministry team. One of our pastors held the meeting after she had been out of the country for a few months. She wanted to share with us her experiences and to catch her up with what she had missed. While she was away, Janet and I handled a few extra responsibilities in the ministry. Read more
A marriage crisis is one of the worst storms a person can face in life. You hope the storm blows over quickly and sometimes it does. But when a bad storm sets in for an extended amount of time, panic begins to rise. And the longer you’re in the storm the more panic threatens to take over. But one of worst things a person can do during a storm is panic. So on top of everything else you’re dealing with during your marriage crisis you’re also challenged with trying to stay calm.
I use this metaphor of a storm for a marriage crisis because I want to talk you about staying calm. And because I want to use a story from the Bible to illustrate the importance of staying calm. Read more
I understand why some think their marriage is over when the love they used to feel for their spouse now feels dead. After all, it seems ingrained in our thinking if something dies you must get rid of it and replace it.
A lot of people view love as something akin to planting a tree in the backyard. If it dies you dig it up and replace it with a new one. Or, when a pet dies and you replace it with a new one. We do the same with a lot of our relationships with other people as well. When friendships fade and die off, we look for new ones. When leaders or mentors lose their place in our lives, we find replacements.
It’s no wonder we approach marriage with the same mindset as we do all these other relationships. The feelings of love can and often do fade. And there are times when those feelings can be outright flat lined, dead, completely gone. But does this mean the marriage has to be over?
Anytime your marriage is in trouble it’s easy to get discouraged. It’s easy to get down on yourself and let regret and fear overtake you. But for your marriage to overcome this trial you have to take a stand against discouragement. For you to take that stand I want to share with you some thoughts on why and how you should encourage yourself.
I remember when I was a young boy in school just learning to read. One of my favorite books was “The Little Engine That Could.” Though I don’t remember the full story, I still remember it was about a little engine pulling a train up a steep hill and how he kept repeating the words, “I think I can, I think I can.” Those words were what the little engine needed to encourage himself to climb that hill.
A marriage breakup is one of the worst crises a man or woman can face. So many emotions to work through. So much confusion to deal with. Trying to navigate it all is extremely difficult. Knowing when to hold on and when to let go is a bigger challenge than anyone else can possibly imagine.
If this is where you are today, I understand what you’re dealing with. I know the pain and confusion that is trying to consume you. You don’t want to be in this situation, but you are. So you’re searching. You need some answers. And you need some guidance.Read more
The condition of your marriage depends on the connections you have with your spouse. If you have poor connections your marriage will suffer and struggle to survive. If you have good connections your marriage will grow stronger and stronger as the years go by. So if you’re wanting to save your marriage. Or, if you’re wanting to strengthen your marriage, your connection is the key.
For the longest time, I’ve been trying to answer a few questions about my own marriage. Such as, why did Janet and I struggle for so many years to keep our marriage together? Now that our marriage is strong, what has made the difference? And how is it that we clearly should have divorced on four different occasions, but somehow we survived each crisis? Read more