Ed Welch helps you think about your difficult marriage here.
Take note! He does not encourage us to give up. Here are his main points:
- Ask for prayer and wisdom from someone who will do more than simply commiserate.
- Be careful about focusing on your regrets, and even be careful about focusing on your marriage.
- Bring more scrutiny to yourself than to your spouse.
- Search for the good in your spouse.
- Then, after these steps, talk about your marriage with your spouse.
And if you want more help for your marriage, read this book: What Did You Expect? by Paul Tripp. It is – hands down – the best book I have read on marriage!
If you want to know where adultery and divorce start, check out this short piece by Andree Seu called How an affair begins. It starts with a simple unchecked conversation, and it’s not filled with passion and lust. Take note. Remember. Stand Firm. Love your spouse for a lifetime.
This is from What Did You Expect (chapter 10) by Paul Tripp:
You see, the comprehensive cohabitation of marriage will expose you. It will reveal your true heart and your true character. The pressures, opportunities, and responsibilities of marriage will shine a light not only on your strengths but also on your weaknesses, failures, and sins. What you really want, what you truly value, and what you think and do when you do not get these things will be exposed.
When you are working on rebuilding trust, you need to place your hope not in your husband or wife but in the third person in your marriage, the Lord Jesus. He is in with you and for you. As the designer of marriage and the one who brought you together, he has more zeal that your marriage would actually be what he created it to be than you will ever have. He has the wisdom you need. He has the strength you need. He offers the forgiveness you need. And he will not leave you when the going gets tough. Cry out to him; he will never turn a deaf ear to you.
There are many more pearls in this chapter – buy the book – worth every penny.
Two quotes from this article: Love the One You’re With by Jeremy Pierre.
Spousal resistance anchors you to reality, a reality in which God calls you to love your actual spouse, not your preferred one.
So if your wife laughs too easily for your taste, love her for it. If she’s more pessimistic than you prefer, minister to her fears. If your husband is quieter in social gatherings than you’d like, be grateful for it. If he has more difficulty making plans than you think reasonable, come alongside happily. In all the little spousal resistances, celebrate the privilege of loving a person, not an image.
I’ll work on this because I love you.
Note to husbands: It’s a simple way to show love to your wife.
Paul Tripp writes in his book What Did You Expect:
Things don’t go bad in an instant. The character of a marriage is not formed in one grand moment. Things in a marriage go bad progressively. Things become sweet and beautiful progressively.
Here’s his list of “little-moment” things that we don’t pay attention to:
- You squeeze and crinkle the toothpaste tube even though you know it bothers your spouse.
- You complain about the dirty dishes instead of putting them in the dishwasher.
- You fight for your own way in little things rather than seeing them as an opportunity to serve.
- You allow yourself to go to bed irritated after a little disagreement.
- Day after day you leave for work without a moment of tenderness between you.
- You fight for your view of beauty rather than making your home a visual expression of the tastes of both of you.
- You allow yourself to do little rude things you would never have done in courtship.
- You quit asking for forgiveness in the little moments of wrong.
- You complain about how the other does little things, when it really doesn’t make any difference.
- You make little decisions without consultation.
- You quit investing in the friendship intimacy of your marriage.
- You fight for your own way rather than for unity in little moments of disagreement.
- You complain about the other’s foibles and weaknesses.
- You fail to seize those openings to encourage.
- You quit searching for little avenues for expressing love.
- You begin to keep a record of little wrongs.
- You allow yourself to be irritated by what you once appreciated.
- You quit making sure that every day is punctuated with tenderness before sleep takes you away.
- You quit regularly expressing appreciation and respect.
- You allow your physical eyes and the eyes of your heart to wander.
- You swallow little hurts that you would have once discussed.
- You begin to turn little requests into regular demands.
- You quit taking care of yourself.
- You become willing to live with more silence and distance than you would have when you were approaching marriage.
- You quit working in those little moments to make your marriage better, and you begin to succumb to what is.
Husbands want it. Wives want it. We all want it . . . for the other person! Sometimes we want it, but rarely experience it – true change. And ultimately as Tripp writes, it “becomes predictable and discouraging.” Over and over again I counsel couples who have marriage troubles who don’t see any change and are discouraged and bitter. The change light bulb comes on when they start to “get” what Paul Tripp writes about. Read this and see if this describes what you’re going through:
I often wonder how many people are stuck in their relationships in a cycle of repeating the same things over and over again. They repeat the same misunderstandings. They rehearse and re-rehearse the same arguments. They repeat the same wrongs. Again and again things are not resolved. Night after night they end the day with nothing reconciled; they awake with memories of another bad moment with a friend, spouse, neighbor, co-worker or family member and they march toward the next time when the cycle will be repeated.
Mr. Tripp get’s to the crux of the matter:
Here is the point: no change takes place in a relationship that does not begin with confession.
So the simple yet ridiculously hard (because of pride) solution to our need for true change is confession.
Read the rest of it here.
Paul Tripp again hits a home run in helping us understand the results of unforgiveness. Excerpt:
Forgiveness and unforgiveness are not neutral; each plants certain seeds and each produces a certain kind of harvest. So, it is important to consider the relationship-damaging stages of the harvest of unforgiveness. I am deeply persuaded that many, many people are in some way following this path and many of them do not know it.
Did you read that last line – many are following this path and do not know it. Every couple should sit down and read this together and talk about it.
Saw this posted on Jesus Creed this morning, and thought it was worth passing along:
(not that I’ve ever done anything like this, of course…)
Andrew Peterson has a new song about marriage and how it is hard but worth the good fight. I like it, and I like many of his songs. So listen and kiss your spouse, and persevere together.