All around me, I’m seeing marriages and relationships struggle to stay afloat. Not to act like my marriage is perfect, because it is not. However, I can honestly say that about 97% of the time my relationship is wonderful and we get along perfectly. I’m not writing this to brag about my marriage. Rather, I’m writing to give my point of view on rocky relationships and some tips that might work to fix them.
First, I want to give some advice that a very wise woman I am blessed to know gave me. She says very often, “Do your best to out-serve one another.” This means to pay attention to things your partner likes or doesn’t like. Personally, Travis likes to have dinner ready by 6 because he is so hungry after work. So, I do that. He doesn’t like me being unorganized or not having a plan so I do my best to be organized and have a plan in place for the day/weekend. The more you do for someone, the more likely they are to return the favor. (Romans 12:10)
Second, confide in someone and seek help. If you happen to be in a relationship that has become unhappy or unhealthy, don’t just give up. It’s likely that even if you feel that you’d be fine moving on without your spouse, you have kids that are begging for you to stay and fight for it. I truly believe in therapy and the tools it can give a couple to see one another’s point of view and work on the issues at hand. If your spouse is unwilling to go to therapy, it may be beneficial for you to go solo. It’s likely that the therapist can give you tools to work on your relationship even if the other party is not there and doesn’t like to admit their faults.
Another important aspect of a healthy marriage is not relying on each other for everything. I feel it is so important to have friend time, hobbies, exercise time, etc. separate from your spouse. I think it’s attractive, especially to men, when we don’t rely on them to do/be everything and take some initiative. For instance, Travis golfs by himself or with his friends at least once a week and works out in the mornings by himself. I workout multiple times a week by myself, write, and have friend time as much as possible.
The most important thing in a relationship is to have God in the middle of it. When He is in the middle, it is almost guaranteed that each spouse will treat the other with honor and adoration. “In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God’s gift of new life. Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered” (1Peter 3:7).
Although we will fall short of treating each other with love, respect, and selflessness, having God as the foundation of our marriage helps us to forgive one another, and agree on how we should treat each other.
“For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her” (Ephesians 5:25). ”
“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands” (Ephesians 5:22-24).
When your marriage is not built on similar values, it is easy to be defiled because each party is not on the same page. Travis and I are complete opposites in most areas but I feel that the reason we are both so in sync most of the time is because of our love for Jesus first, then each other.
Although I hate that divorce and separation is so normalized, I understand that sometimes it is all one can do because they are at the end of their rope. Sometimes your spouse decides for you by filing or simply leaving/giving up. Sometimes the relationship is beyond repair because of unfaithfulness, abuse, selfishness, etc. The Bible talks about divorce quite a bit. It says multiple times that anyone who divorces their spouse and marries another commits adultery, a sin in the eyes of the Lord. It also says that the marriage must be nurtured and you will be judged for adultery, just as you will be judged for all the other sins. Divorce breeds sin and God hates sin. The wonderful thing about this is that God is forgiving and He uses the bad for good (Romans 8:28). He hates the sin and loves the sinner.
I do not know what will happen and how one will be judged for divorce but I do know if we work as hard as possible to avoid it, that is the best case scenario for our lives. If divorce is what one decides to do, it can be forgiven and that does not mean that your life is over.
No matter what your relationship is going through right now, just remember to fight as hard as possible before you throw in the towel. You never what a little bit of self-awareness, self-love, and selflessness can do in a relationship.