“The problem they are having is that they aren’t in alignment.”
That’s what I heard one woman say as she pointed out the reason another couple was fighting so much.
Afterward we remarked, “Wow! That’s spot on… she’s right.” They’re both turning their ears, eyes, and attitudes so far away from each other, that they can’t really hear or see each other’s view on anything. And if they can’t hear or look at each other from their vantage point, they certainly can’t work together to find a mutual solution to the problems they’re facing. Their marriage relationship is totally out of alignment. As a result, everything is off-kilter. And nothing will fit together as it should.
“Alignment in a relationship means that you are living and loving in the same direction as someone else. If you do not take the time and effort to align your vision, core values, and passions with your partner, it will slowly start to take a toll on your relationship.” (Stefan James, from his article, “Relationship Alignment”)
The Need for a Marriage Alignment
We’re sure this married couple each thought they were right in their viewpoints. But that’s the point. They were totally out of alignment in the way they approached their issues. Each of them could only see their point of view. And neither one of them were willing to budge. As a result, their relationship was in serious trouble. (Actually, they eventually divorced for this very reason.)
This couple forgot to approach life from the stance of marriage partnership. When you’re two single people, who cares if the other is right, wrong, or whatever? You can just walk away from each other and say, “to each their own.” That’s just fine!
But that’s not what we vow to do when we enter into marriage. At that point we are to marry our lives together in such a way that even when we don’t think alike we find ways to think together. We listen to each other, talk to each other, and find ways to work through conflicting matters so we each feel satisfied. We address the issues that are separating us.
Addressing the Alignment Problem
What are we to do when the steering or wheelbase is out of alignment in our car? And what are we to do when a wall is out of alignment that is causing cracking and fractures in our home? Do we ignore the issues—hoping they will disappear? If we do we will eventually encounter even worse problems.
But if we’re smart, we either figure out how to fix our problem ourselves, or we call upon an “expert” to help us. The same goes with relationship issues.
We need to do whatever it takes to get our relationship back into alignment. There are times where we can do this without help. Other times we need to reach out for help. Sometimes it’s a matter of learning what we need to, and then applying what we learn. And then other times we need even more help than that.
Also, it’s important to note that if we tend to our fracturing matters as early as possible—we have the best opportunity to ward off more serious problems. But the longer we wait, and the more that we ignore our issues, the tougher it will be to close the gap between us. It’s not impossible; but it’s definitely more difficult.
Making the Problem Worse
The problem is that too many spouses wait too long to get help. They allow themselves to get deeper into the matter than they should. Whether it’s because of embarrassment, stubbornness, matters of pride, stupidity, naivety, immaturity, or whatever, we can’t afford to play around with serious issues. If we do a destructive wedge will start to separate us in our relationship. Eventually, we stop listening, seeing, and acting like partners. We instead, start acting like we’re opponents. And we look for the wrong solutions to solve a more basic problem.
To explain this a bit better, Dr Tony Evans gives a glimpse into this problem in the following video clip:
We encourage you to do something that Dr Evans said in this video clip. He said:
“The Creator of marriage, God Almighty, has created a way for marriage to work but only when it’s aligned properly unto Him. Check your marriage alignment because you may be fixing or seeking to fix the wrong thing.”
One person made the following comment concerning Tony’s advice:
“The Holy Spirit asked ‘me’… Are ‘YOU’ willing to check the alignment in your heart for your husband??? POWERFUL… because I’m always quick to point the finger and blame at him ‘my husband.’”
That goes for many of us spouses—both wives and husbands.
Giving the Benefit of the Doubt?
I (Cindy) confess that I have done this. It’s amazing how much grace I want from my husband when I do or say what I shouldn’t. I can give all kinds of excuses for my own poor behavior. And yet I’m not always as willing to accept my husband’s excuses for his. Sometimes I don’t give him the same benefit of the doubt and grace that I want from him. God is helping me with this. But sometimes I can be willful.
It’s a matter of my attitude alignment being out of whack when that happens. Lets face it—we all need to realign our attitudes and actions sometimes.
So, we’re making this simple. Here are some maintenance check questions for you:
— How are YOU doing in the alignment of your attitude and YOUR actions?
— Does your attitude line up with the marriage vows you made to live in partnership with your spouse?
— Do your words and actions line up with the way Jesus would have you treat your spouse? Do they reveal and reflect the heart of Christ?
— Are you selflessly participating with Jesus in showing His love (even tough love) to your spouse?
Your spouse may or may not join you in working on your marriage problems. But don’t let that stop you from doing your part. This may well inspire your spouse to join you in realigning up your “out of sync” relationship.
And even if it doesn’t, you can know that God will be pleased with your actions. And you will be better able to live with yourself. You will know that you are doing what you should. So, where do you start?
Marriage Alignment Starts with Prayer
“If you feel like walking in the opposite direction of unity, walk into the arms of Jesus; allow Him into the dark places of your marriage.” (Ngina Otienda)
We love that. First walk into the arms of Jesus. Ask Him to help you to see and work on the “dark places” in your marriage.
We’ve told the following true testimony before, but it applies to this point as well. Dr David Clarke writes, in his book, A Marriage After God’s Own Heart about a couple he met with that badly needed a marriage alignment. When he first started working with this couple he said “the situation looked grim.” But he laid out “the step-by-step approach” he planned “to take in their marriage therapy.” He then asked them to spend the next week “thinking, praying, and soul-searching about their marriage.” When they left he prayed for them. And this is what happened next.
Dr Clarke wrote:
“The next week, I watched this same couple stroll down the walkway to my office. I couldn’t believe my eyes. They were holding hands, smiling, and laughing—just as couples do when they’re in love. As they came into my office and sat down on the couch, I said: ‘I don’t know who you two are, but what have you done with the Smiths?’
“They looked at each other in a knowing way. And then they told me an incredible story. They said they’d gone home after the previous week’s session ready to end their marriage. After three days of silence, the husband suddenly asked his wife to pray with him. He told her he was desperate, and the only option left was to turn to God. So they prayed. And prayed. And prayed.
“For three solid hours, they cried out to God on their knees in their bedroom. They confessed their relationship sins. And they repented of the many things they’d done to hurt each other. They admitted their resentments and gave them all to God. Through tears, they asked for forgiveness—from God and from each other.
“And, they told me, after those hours of prayer, something amazing happened. Forgiveness and healing happened. They felt cleansed. They felt hopeful and closer to each other. And they felt passion and love for each other for the first time in years. With God’s help, they knew they really could start over. To be sure, this couple still had hard work to do in therapy. We spent several months clearing away old debris and building a new marriage. But their prayer marathon was the beginning of their journey.”
The Best Alignment Starts with God
Now that is a proper marriage alignment! They poured out their hearts to God first. And then God led them onto the right path to make the proper adjustments they needed to realign their marriage relationship.
So, be honest here. Prayerfully look at YOUR actions and words. Are you approaching your spouse the way that Jesus would have you? Is your marriage out of alignment because of any of your actions?
If this is the case with you, then this is your wake up call. Do what you know Jesus would have you do. Start first with prayer alignment. If your spouse will join you in this—that is the best way to start. But if not, then start with prayer one on one with your Lord and Savior. And then follow Jesus as He leads you from there. And as you do:
“May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!” (Romans 15:5-6)
Cindy and Steve Wright
— ADDITIONALLY —
To help you further, we give a lot of personal stories, humor, and more practical tips in our book, 7 ESSENTIALS to Grow Your Marriage. We hope you will pick up a copy for yourself. (It’s available both electronically and in print form.) Plus, it can make a great gift for someone else. It gives you the opportunity to help them grow their marriage. And who doesn’t need that? Just click on the linked title or the picture below:
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