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When You Don’t Know How to Improve Your Difficult Marriage

You know you would like to have a marriage you have always dreamed of having but somewhere along the way the challenges of life has got into your marriage. And now you find yourself not knowing how to improve your difficult marriage.

On our previous post, Why Do You Settle For a Difficult Marriage, I gave a challenge for anyone who felt stuck with no intention of doing anything about the condition of their marriage. I talked about how marriage was designed by God to be place of “One Flesh” unity and that God esteems marriage in such high regard that He even chose marriage to illustrate the relationship between Christ and the church.

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And as I mentioned in my challenge, “if marriage has been given the responsibility from God to represent what Christ relationship with us the Church should look like, shouldn’t we hold marriage to the same standard of honor and glory that God has already placed on it.”

But maybe you’re someone from my last post who answered Read more

This Should Not Be Missing From Your Marriage

Truthfully, marriage is complex. It takes the complexity of many factors to make a marriage thrive the way God created it to. However, on this post today I want to discuss just one thing that should not be missing from your marriage. Because when it is missing, it makes the journey of marriage very difficult. At least it was for me.

The uncertainty that flooded my mind time after time in my marriage was torment. It reminds me of when I was a boy pulling petals off of flowers over a childhood sweetheart.

“She loves me, she loves me not; she loves me, she loves me not.”

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The insecurity of not knowing if my wife would love me one day and then not love me the next was incredibly difficult to live with. It wasn’t that she was always giving me a reason to feel insecure. There was just always something missing in our relationship, something I didn’t know how to describe, but I knew it was missing.

As it turned out, it was the same thing Janet was always missing that made her feel so insecure about our relationship. And neither one of us knew how to fix the problem because we never really understood the problem. We had times when our love for each other seemed strong enough, yet we both lived with the nagging feelings of not knowing how long our love would last.

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Divorce, Remarriage, & Personal Disclosure

Many of you who follow our blog are facing some of the hardest decisions you have ever had to make. Along with all the heartache you feel because of your broken marriage, you also have some agonizing questions that need to be answered.

Should you stand for a marriage that looks impossible to save? If so, how long should you stand? Or in your situation, is it God’s will for you to stand for your marriage at all? When the bible says “God hates divorce,” does that mean He will condemn you for not doing all you can to stop it from happening? And what if your marriage does end in divorce, is it wrong for you to remarry someday?

For people who love God and value the bible as the Word of God, the questions you are facing are very serious questions that cannot be taken lightly. You search the scripture for answers that apply to what you’re dealing with. And because you don’t want to get this wrong you seek out godly counsel to help you navigate your way through this. But still if you look hard enough you can find lots of people who love God and love the Word of God and yet they are divided over these questions.

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Early this week I read an article on Sheila Wray Gregoire’s website To Love, Honor and Vacuum, called Reader Question: When Do I Give Up Trying to Get My Ex Back? I thought it was an excellent article. One that helps answer some of the same questions our readers are asking.

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Should You Try to Save Your Marriage

There are many of you who are in a very difficult place right now. Your marriage is in trouble and all you know to do is stand your ground and believe for the restoration of your marriage. You’re in one of the greatest challenges a person can face in life. And I know some of you ask yourself how much more you can take.

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I want you to know Janet and I admire and appreciate every one of you facing this battle. It takes a lot of courage and conviction to take this stand. As many of you know I have been there, and I know too well how difficult it is.

Your story may be different that what I went through, but I still know the delicate balance you have to walk between heartache and hope. One minute your heart is so torn and broken you don’t think you can go any further, then the next minute your heart is so alive with the hope of your future as long as you can just hang on a little longer.

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Growing Your Marriage Through Confession

These two simple words “I’m sorry,” can be so powerful for growing your marriage and yet these two words are so seldom heard.

I’m sure you know saying “I love you” is very important for a strong healthy marriage, but confessing your faults to each other and saying “I’m sorry, I was wrong” should be just as important to you as saying “I love you.”

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Confessing you are wrong is actually a major part of demonstrating your love for your spouse. It can be an act of devotion to your marriage and love for your spouse for a number of reasons.
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When I Said I Do, I meant ….

“What right do you have to destroy my dreams?” I asked my wife. It was a question I felt very strongly about many years ago when she wanted to end our marriage. And it is a question I still feel very strongly about today.

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I take the marriage vows very serious. I believe the vows are promises of commitment to see the marriage through even the toughest of times. Vows like “for better or worse, in sickness or health, for richer or poorer,” are meant to foretell our commitment to the marriage and our spouse with the presumption that there is a good chance we will face any number of trials that will test our resolve to stay committed to the marriage.

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What Does a Good Marriage Look Like?

The desire for a good marriage is a strong desire for most people. I don’t know of anyone that is married, or hopes to be married one day that doesn’t desire for their marriage to be good. But how do you know if you have a good marriage if you’re not sure what a good marriage looks like?

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Sure, it’s easy to look around and compare your marriage with some other couple who appear to have a good marriage to see if you have what they seem to have. Read more

Two Steps of Grace for Reacting to Criticism

This is part three of a three-part series on constructive criticism. On part one, “How Do You Handle Constructive Criticism?” I talked about how valuable constructive criticism can be in a marriage if it is handled properly. I shared an eye-opening experience I had in my own marriage. And I shared from our experience of ministering to other couples how valuable it is to properly handle constructive criticism.

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Then on part two, “Confront Your Spouse with Love” I went into more depth on how to give constructive criticism without doing damage to your spouse and your marriage. I talked about some very important guidelines of what to do, and what not to do when presenting your grievance to your spouse.

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When You’re the Only One Trying to Improve Your Marriage

Can one person make a difference in their marriage even when their spouse is not trying? My answer to that is a resounding, YES they absolutely can!

There is no question in my mind that even if only one spouse is trying, they alone can make a huge impact on their marriage and if only one person is trying there is still tremendous hope for the marriage.

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I know some might say. “but, it takes two to make a marriage work.” I know because I have heard someone say that to me before and which my reply was, “yea, but it only takes one to quit.” ( For more on that conversation check out, Easy as One, Two, Three.)

And so yes, it is true, to make a marriage work the way God designed it to work it does take two; both spouses working together becoming one.

But the question for some is, What good can one person do when they are the only one trying?

There are several suggestions I want to make on how one person can make a difference in their marriage. These are ideas that I have seen work in my own marriage and for many other marriages as well.

1) The first place to start is with prayer. Prayer is a powerful weapon for anyone to use and yet it is so often neglected. But the bible clearly says that instead of letting ourselves become overwhelmed with fear and worry we should take all of our request to the Lord.

Philippians 4:6 “Do not be anxious about anything. Instead, in every situation, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, tell your requests to God.”

Praying for a spouse who is not giving their best or who has completely given up on their marriage is always the right place to start. Not only can prayer change their heart and turn them around, prayer should also change the one who is praying. Because sometimes it may be your own attitude or perspective that needs to be changed first. And if nothing else prayer is most vital to you during times of difficulty in order to keep you calm, at peace, and continually hopeful.

2) The next thing is don’t focus on the negatives that your marriage doesn’t have and start working with what you do have. Your marriage doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s marriage. It just needs to work for the two of you.

If you dwell on the negatives you see in your spouse or your marriage as a whole you are creating an atmosphere that will push your spouse further away from you. Your spouse cannot be forced to want to be close to you, they have to voluntarily want to be close to you. So you have to attract them with the positive, full of life, best of you that you can be.

3) If you have a hard time being positive and trusting in the Lord, that is a good sign there is some work that needs to be done in you first. Your spouse cannot be the one you expect to fix you. You have to allow yourself to be broken and humble before the Lord and allow Him to heal your issues from the past and restore you as the person He created you to be.

Often this type of inner healing requires some outside assistance from someone who is capable of seeing your situation objectively and is capable in leading you towards sound biblical answers. Don’t hesitate to turn to a counselor, pastor, or even a friend depending on the severity of what you need. Just be sure you choose someone who will give you Godly counsel that protects your marriage covenant and promotes your focus on you and the healing you need.

4) Invest in knowing what makes your spouse feel loved, appreciated, and wanted. Learn your spouse’s love language and speak it often. Just see yourself as someone who is planting seeds in a garden knowing that in due season if you do not faint you will see your harvest.

But don’t over do it by appearing to be desperate or even fake. The thought here is to serve your spouse with love in subtle ways that will penetrate any hardness they have towards you. Love is hard for anyone to resist as long as it is genuine and is not used as a form of manipulation.

5) Look for ways to rekindle the romance. Get back to dating your spouse on a regular basis. Do what you can to turn up the heat on your sex life. Find other creative ways to be spontaneous and romantic. Again, the same here as with love language, just don’t come across as desperate, fake, and manipulative.

6) Work on communication at whatever level you’re at with your spouse. See communication as something you grow at doing. Don’t expect your spouse to jump into deep levels of communication if that is not something they want right now. You can make your desire for improving your marriage and your level of communication known to your spouse, but do not constantly remind them.

 

Finally, remember as long as you are willing to keep moving forward and you’re inviting God to do a work in your marriage you have plenty of reason to be hopeful and encouraged. After all, you are just one step away from two people trying to have a great marriage. And once your spouse is on board and with the Lord’s help, you can have the best marriage you ever dreamed possible.