Marriage In Crisis
Most couples experience conflict and other struggles at some point in their marriage. These issues are normal, though you may feel all alone. Maintaining a happy, healthy relationship with someone is much more difficult than it seems. The apostle Paul told the church of Corinth (1 Corinthians 7:28) that those who marry will have trouble! But, we also know that marriage is a blessing. Fortunately, there are solutions to help resolve marital problems and manage conflict. Here are four pieces of marriage advice for those who are in a struggling relationship:
Work Towards Reconciliation.
There are no perfect marriages because we are all imperfect people. To make a marriage work, you must be willing to forgive your spouse for what angers or hurts you. Whether your spouse made a small mistake or one that was detrimental to your marriage, it’s crucial that you take steps to forgive them. Ephesians 4:32 commands us, “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”
Resolve the Argument, Don’t Try to Win it.
Have you ever had the desire to win an argument and were willing to do or say anything for your partner to lose? To have a strong and happy marriage, it’s important to change this mindset. Your spouse is not your opponent. When experiencing conflict, look at your spouse as your teammate, and your marriage as the prize. It can take a lot of humility to accept not winning an argument but having a happy and healthy marriage is well worth it. 2 Corinthians 13:11 encourages us, “Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you."
Understand Your Spouse’s Feelings.
When experiencing conflict with your partner, try to listen to them and truly understand their feelings. If you take a moment to understand why they are upset or angry, you can better understand how to diffuse the conflict. Your partner wants you to understand them, just like you want to be understood. Developing a great understanding of each other can lead to deeper intimacy and relational growth. James 1:19 says, “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” The next time you are in a disagreement with your partner, try to use language like, "I understand what you are saying" or "I understand how you feel." You will likely find that you experience less conflict and better communication.
Counseling is the First Line of Defense, Not a Last-Ditch Effort.
On average, couples endure six years of being unhappy before seeking help from a marriage counselor. This is because one or both spouses are hesitant to go, or the couple believes they can work through their problems on their own. Marital counseling is more effective for people when they seek help once problems start to arise. This is why marital counseling should not be a last-ditch effort. Think of it this way: Is it better to take your car in when you first hear that strange sound in your engine or to wait until you’re broken down on the side of the road? Your marriage is important, so don't put off seeking professional help to resolve your marital problems. It will be worth the effort!