There are many husbands and wives who think their marriage was a mistake. They’re looking back with regret at their decision to marry. And they’re wondering now if there is some reasonable way they can correct their mistake. They don’t want to hurt their spouse, their children, or their family. But they just can’t imagine having to live with their mistake for the rest of their lives.
Maybe, this is the way you feel. Or, maybe you have a strong sense this is the way your spouse feels.
In either case, I understand this line of thinking. I’ve been there, on both sides. So I’m not here to pass judgment on anyone for feeling this way.
However, I do want to challenge this way of thinking and the reasonings that go along with it. Read more
“If a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.” Mark 3:25
Marriage is a wonderful gift from God. It’s the union of two unique individuals blending their lives together to become as the bible says, “one flesh.” This unity does not happen when husbands and wives become the same in every way possible. True unity in marriage is established and held together when couples celebrate what they share in common while at the same time learn to accept and embrace each other’s differences. Couples that strive to become “one flesh” know there is beauty and strength in both their sameness and in their differences.
But there is something seriously wrong in a marriage the moment a couple begins allowing their differences to become a place of division. When their differences become a place of contention and dispute their marriage is put in serious jeopardy. Because when division is accepted and tolerated in their relationship they open up the door for greater trouble in their marriage.
Confronting your spouse about an important issue that must be addressed is a very difficult thing to do. And if it is not done properly and with love the results can take your marriage in the wrong direction. But when it is done right it will add a greater dimension of intimacy in your marriage.
On our post, How Do You Handle Constructive Criticism? I talked about the importance of handling constructive criticism well and the value it can add to your marriage. On this post I want to be very specific about how to confront your spouse without causing more damage to your relationship.
It is not easy to receive criticism even when it is constructive, especially when it comes from your spouse, the one you want nothing less than absolute acceptance and approval from. And it is not easy to give constructive criticism to your spouse without hurting your spouse’s feelings and coming across as disapproving and rejecting. But knowing how to give and receive constructive criticism is desperately needed for a marriage to grow in oneness as God has intended.
The struggle with feeling critical toward one another is very real in marriage, I don’t think anyone is immune from it. So the challenge we all face is knowing how to guard against allowing criticism to be used in a negative way that is hurtful and harmful to our marriage. While at the same time allowing constructive criticism to be used in a way that promotes growth and encouragement.
Every marriage should have a good balance of partnership and friendship. It is difficult and there are many couples who fail at it everyday, but it is possible.
Marriage is the only relationship where we should have both partnership and friendship. Ordinarily in any other relationship it is considered unwise to mix the two. A business partnership that starts from friendship will usually hurt the friendship and a partnership that develops into friendship can hurt the partnership. Unless everyone understands the difference and they are able to balance the two properly.
On our last post How Are You Two Related, I started talking about how in every marriage we have different and unique ways of connecting with our spouse. And that the important thing was to find your connection points and work from your place of strength as you work to improve other ways to connect with each other.
On this post I want to start taking a look at how we relate to our spouse in three major categories; friendship, partnership, and lovers. As far as I can tell, any connection we have with our spouse will always fit into one or more of these areas. But the challenge we face is understanding how to move in and out of each area and how to find good balance of all three ways of connection.
How does your spouse measure up? I mean is your spouse good enough, or is there something about your spouse you wish you could change? Is there something about them that drives you mad? Or have you reached a point where you find it hard to see anything good about them at all?
If this is you and you find yourself feeling disappointed because your spouse is not everything you expected them to be, you could be heading down a dangerous road right now. There are many reasons for a marriage to fall apart. But one of the most subtle ways that goes unnoticed is when a wedge is driven between husband and wife over lingering disappointments in each other.
How does it feel when you want your spouse to understand you? To understand the reason behind the way you think or feel. They may not agree with you. Their opinion may be different from yours. But you want them to at least understand your perspective. You want them to understand why you see things the way you do. What you want is for them to have empathy.
In Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott’s book, “I love you more,” they said, “Research has shown that 90 percent of our struggles in marriage would be resolved if we did nothing more than see that problem from our partner’s perspective. Empathy is the heart of love.”
They went on to say that, “When we empathize with our partner, we will never look at him or her the same way again. That’s the magic of empathy. It brings more understanding. And understanding brings patience. And patience brings grace……..grace primes the pump for the unnatural act of forgiveness.” Read more