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5 Reasons Your Marriage Is in Trouble

October 25, 2012

It’s been a while blog friends.  I have been on hiatus but now I’m back in the game.  It’s good to type to you!

Marriage demands skill.  You can have passion, intense emotion, great desire, and even spiritual fervor but if you don’t have the skill then your marriage won’t have the thrill (shades of Johnny Cochran – oh my, what have I become).  With that in mind I give you 5 skills necessary to make marriage thrive.  This list isn’t exhaustive, but it does contain vital direction.

If your marriage is in trouble it might be that you are contributing to that trouble through one of these five errors.

(1)  You concentrate on your spouse’s faults and neglect your own faults.  Jesus warned us about our tendency toward self-deception by magnifying the faults of others.  His image is vivid:  we are focused on the splinter in our spouses eye while completely unaware of the plank in our own eye (Matt. 7:1-5).  You can’t fix your spouse, but you can fix you.  The quickest way to have a better marriage is to work on yourself.

(2)  You pursue too much or you don’t pursue enough.  Most couples are in a vicious cycle in which one spouse is constantly pursing and the other is constantly distancing.  The pursuer never feels like he or she gets enough from their spouse and will pursue through enticement as well as bitter criticism.  The pursuer is motivated by the fear of being rejected so they cling and demand to keep that from happening.  It can be smothering.  The distancer is too passive.  Fearing too much closeness he or she doesn’t invest enough in the relationship   The distancer is also motivated by fear, especially the fear of being controlled or the fear of rejection (they stay distant in efforts to keep from becoming too invested as a protective measure).  If you are a pursuer then take your foot off the relational pedal, stop putting so much pressure on your relationship, and give up the use of force to get what you want from your spouse.  If you are a distancer then start investing more in your relationship and open up to your spouse.

(3)  You lack bids for connection.  Part of marriage is simple mathematics:  you have to have more positive connecting moments than negative connecting moments.  This means that if you are not intentional to make bids for connection then you could very well run low in your marital tank.

(4)  You lack skills of conflict.  No one ever taught you how to handle conflict.  Conflict skills are so important that Jesus found time to offer guidance on the matter (Matt. 18:15-20).  Unfortunately, most of us were schooled only by the examples of our family of origin and our personality disposition.  Here’s 4 things to remember:  start off soft, take seriously the concerns of your spouse without being condescending or dismissive, calm your emotional intensity in the midst of conflict, and repair the relationship when it is over.

(5)  You reject the gospel and the wisdom of Jesus it contains.  For marriage to thrive we will need to discover and embody the kind of love that Jesus teaches us through his teaching, life, and death (1 John 3:16).  Without this wisdom our love will be self-centered and only given when it benefits us and this sort of pseudo-love will destroy our marriage.  The gospel teaches us to submit, sacrifice, and live for the honor of our spouse rather than the defense of our own honor (Eph. 5:25).

One Comment leave one →
  1. November 1, 2012 2:10 pm

    Glad you are blogging again with such great advice. I’ll certainly apply this to my marriage. Thank you….Ron Joyce

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