Like a low-grade fever that allows you to function even though you know something is wrong in your body, you could be living with a constant low-grade fever in your marriage. Your marriage survives from day-to-day because it doesn’t seem to be in critical condition, but you know internally there is a fight going on against something that isn’t quite right.
You may be one of the many couples who live with this condition for years and never do anything to fix the problem. But very often what seems to be a case of marriage with a simple cold eventually turns into a sickness that threatens the life of the marriage.
It isn’t that hard to recognize if your marriage has a fever or not. You know if your marriage doesn’t feel well. You know if there is problems in your marriage that should be resolved. If there is an irritation you feel toward your spouse, you know it. And you probably know if there is some irritation your spouse feels toward you.So if your marriage has a fever, if there is some type of sickness attacking your marriage, I urge you to deal with it and get your marriage healed. Find out exactly what is attacking your marriage and take deliberate steps to defend your marriage against the attack.
Examine your marriage
Look for what your spouse is feeling and examine your own feelings. Hurt feelings are real and they have to be dealt with even when there seems to be no legitimate reason for the hurt feeling. Most of us know we should not be led by our feelings. But if we leave hurt feelings unchecked they do seem to find a way of getting in the driver’s seat of our lives.
Feelings such as mistrust, offence, jealousy, neglect, rejection, disrespect, unloved, disappointment, used, and betrayed, are just some of the feelings that can be symptoms of sickness in your marriage. Each one of these feelings by themselves may not seem too bad, but if you let these feelings start piling up on top of each other they will lead to trouble. And if you want a strong healthy marriage, none of these bad feelings should be permitted to stay in your marriage.
Confront the marriage sickness
So if any of these symptoms of sickness are in your marriage, then confronting the issue must be done. You cannot ignore these things and hope they go away. And if these negative feelings are confronted properly they can become stepping-stones on your way to greater intimacy with your spouse.
When you confront theses bad feelings the first thing you have to do is pray. This is not something you want to do in your own strength and trusting in your own understanding. You need the Lord’s counsel to guide you and to help you attack the problems and not each other. And if the problem is your own bad feelings, then prayer may resolve the problem simply by the Lord ministering to your place of pain.
The second step in confronting the problem is open communication with your spouse. Talk to each other about the feelings each of you have. Don’t let the enemy keep you bound by keeping your feelings a secret. Be honest with your spouse and allow your spouse to be honest with you. What do you have to lose?
Janet and I have found that open, honest conversations about the feelings we struggle with have been the key for deep healing in our marriage. For us, when we have tried to hide and protect our negative feelings from each other we have had more blow ups over miscommunication and irritation toward each other. Getting that stuff out and in the open has been huge for our marriage.
After confronting the issues you and your spouse have to respond with forgiveness. Nothing short of unconditional forgiveness will work. You have to be mature enough to accept that hurt feelings are a part of being human. You will feel hurt toward your spouse and your spouse will feel hurt toward you. You will never have a perfect life or a perfect marriage where hurt feelings do not happen.
Don’t make hurt feelings into a bigger deal than it is. Forgive your spouse and forgive yourself, even if you feel the hurt feelings are unjustified. Don’t draw battle lines over hurt feelings, it is not worth it and it will not get you anywhere. Forgiveness is the only way to move forward, there is no other way.
Finally to protect yourself from the sickness of hurt feelings in the future, live a life of grace. Understand that we are all sinners. Which means we are sinners married to other sinners. You have to know your spouse cannot be perfect, nor can you. Let the saying “but for the grace of God, there go I” ring loud and clear in your heart. Let the same grace that God has given you be given to each other in your marriage, as well as everyone else.
Thanks for letting me share my thoughts with you on this important matter.
Question: Do you have hurt feelings you know you should let go of, but you struggle to do so?
Let us know in the comments. We want to encourage you and to pray for you.
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