Treating Marriage Illnesses – MM #218

Treating Marriage Illnesses - Pixabay - CanvaIn this Marriage Message we will be sharing with you four common problem areas, which author/pastor Wayne Coggins terms as “illnesses.” These illnesses can infect even the healthiest of marriages. If they go undiagnosed or untreated they can lead to the “death” of a marriage. That’s why treating marriage illnesses is so important.

Treating Marriage Illnesses

The following was featured in the book, “Lovers for Life” (which is no longer being published). It has many contributing authors. Wayne Coggins is one of them. One of the marital “illnesses” he writes about are:

1. “MARITAL ANEMIA

I’m convinced that more marriages are in danger of anemia (tired blood) than of getting blasted apart by a surprise affair or deception. Drifting apart a little each day can leave a couple vulnerable to all kinds of problems. For a marriage to stay fresh and vibrant it needs frequent doses of fun and re-creation. [Notice how Coggins changed the word, ‘recreation.’]

“I’m not advocating being irresponsible. But I am saying that all responsibility with no breaks for fun is a sure ticket to burnout and boredom. I often ask couples whose responsibility it is to make the time available for investing in their marriages. God’s? Should we expect God to give us an extra day of the week after Sunday and call it Funday? While that may be a nice fantasy, the truth is that if we value our marriage relationships, we must take the time to keep them alive and exciting.”

Cindy and I (Steve) have found this to be important in our marriage. And it doesn’t take a lot of money to make it work. It mostly takes intentionality, and a few creative ideas to accomplish the re-creation of energy in your marriage. If you need some new ideas, you can find them on our web site in the Romantic Ideas topic.

Additionally, Wayne Coggins gives another marriage illness:

2. “PRESUMPTION

While attending a Marriage Encounter Weekend, I learned that most relationships go through three stages. The first is ROMANCE. That’s a time when we’re so enamored with our newly discovered love that talking for hours is done genuinely and joyfully. I sometimes jokingly share that romance is the anesthetic that enables two normally very cautious people to cast fate to the wind and commit marriage.

“The second relational stage is DISILLUSIONMENT. This is the time when we discover the packages we thought we got when we married our sweethearts aren’t exactly what we had expected. It is when we become inescapably aware of the painful truth that in order for there to be disillusionment, there must have been an illusion. That girl who was so witty and funny and always had the right thing to say turns out not to have an ‘off button’ on her vocal chords! And that guy who didn’t always have a lot to say, but what he did say was ‘deep’, turns out to be the strong, silent type who doesn’t know how to communicate at all in matters of the heart.

The last stage:

“The third stage presents a fork in the road with one direction marked ACCEPTANCE and the other REJECTION. It’s during this stage that the ‘rubber meets the road’, so to speak. That’s when the real work of keeping a marriage healthy and growing is done or evaded. This is where presumption does its deadly deed by presuming that ‘it will all work out somehow.’ You see, ‘it’, or the marriage, doesn’t do the work of communicating when you’re weary of forgiving each other. It’s YOU, the partners in marriage, who do that work. You make the value judgment that the imperfect person you married is a valuable treasure in your life, in spite of those imperfections.

And then there is another of the deadly marriage illnesses we had better watch out for:

3. “HEART PROBLEM

While there are many variations of this condition, probably none are as threatening as unforgiveness and bitterness. If allowed to remain in marriage, they can clog marital arteries quicker than cheeseburgers and French fries can clog your natural ones. They cut off life-giving love and communication that are necessary for the health and growth of the relationship.

“May I suggest a simple procedure that can fix this problem? Try reaching over to your loved one. Take his or her hand in yours. Then, simply pray for one another. Ask God to help each of you to forgive the other for the hurts that have occurred in your relationship.

“You see, I believe that if God asks us to do something, He is faithful to provide the ability to do so. In Ephesians 4:32 we are told to be ‘kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.’ If it feels like the walls of bitterness are too high and trust too shattered to glue back together, believe me —no, believe God —forgiveness is the miracle cure that can make healing possible [at least healing in YOU].

And then lastly, there is the:

4. “SECRET-LIFE SYNDROME

This occurs when a secret part of our lives is allowed to grow until it suddenly springs into view. While this malady has been around since Adam and Eve tried to hide their secret life and sin from God, in recent years a strain has been at work through the unlikely agent of the computer. The addictive nature of Internet pornography and on-line chat rooms is taking a huge toll on marriages. It is such a shame-saturated problem in people’s lives that it often grows hidden and undetected until it has done severe damage to a marriage.

“The real heart-cry that I hear from couples is that wonderful feeling of connectedness that a healthy marriage can bring. That, which can be found in chat-room affairs or cyber fantasies is NOT the real deal. Real love can’t be found in a secret life apart from your spouse.”

Cindy and I have personally seen the destruction this can cause in marriages. If you’d like some resources to help on these issues go to our web site into the Sexual Issues topic. There is also the Pornography and Cybersex topic, and other relevant topics we make available, as well.

Another Treatment for Marriage Illnesses

Something else that may help you treat the “illnesses” in your marriage is the principle of “sowing and reaping and trying to unscramble eggs.” In other words, you (or your spouse) can’t sow doses of poison into your marital life and expect that now that you’ve stopped, there are no consequences. “Illnesses” can be produced. And there could be consequences that will arise because of it. Pastor Mark Gungor, of the ministry “Laugh Your Way to a Better marriage,” explains this well in the following article, that we recommend you read:

SCRAMBLED EGGS

You may feel there are more “illnesses” in your marriage that need healing. Or maybe you feel that your marriage is close to “death.” If so, Wayne Coggins has this encouragement:

“The Lord, who is the Great Physician, can and does heal and restore marriages in need of a miracle moment of healing. He also shares His rich wisdom with us so that we can build healthy marriages right out of the chute. The fact is that He wrote the Book on it, and His office is never closed.”

His “office” IS never closed. That’s why we have a Prayer Wall posted on the Home Page of our web site for you to use.

God’s Timing

But while you’re waiting, keep in mind that if your prayers are not being answered in the timing or way that you believe they should be, God may be up to something that you haven’t been able to see up to this point. After all, He is God and we are not. “His ways are higher than our ways.” (See: Isaiah 55:8-9.)

We appreciate what Oswald Chambers says about this in his book, My Utmost for His Highest.

He writes:

“Even LOVE itself has to wait in pain and tears for the blessing of a fuller communion. When God looks completely shrouded [when you don’t see His plan], will you hang on in confidence of Him?

“In Luke 11:11-13 Jesus says there are times when your Father will appear as if He were an unnatural father. It’s as if He were callous and indifferent. But remember He is not. ‘I have told you —everyone that asks receives.’ If there is a shadow on the face of the Father just now, hang onto it. Know that He will ultimately give His clear revealing and justify Himself in all that He permitted.”

We hope this has been helpful. At times, we all experience some types of marital “illnesses.” But there’s hope because we can receive a touch from the Great Physician to bring healing.

Steve and Cindy Wright

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2 responses to “Treating Marriage Illnesses – MM #218

  1. (USA) Steve/Cindy, Appreciate your article. I now have a dead marriage and my wife dropped the “I don’t love you” (I don’t feel anymore) bomb on me 6 months ago.

    Long story short, no other person is involved; she says after raising kids 25 years in the home, now is the time for her and during that process she became emotionally dead to me. As time goes on, she (being a Christian) has stopped morning devotion time by herself and won’t let me pray with her. I told her at this point, until we surrender our marriage to God, this is going no where. Pastor and professional counselor did not help her -she thought there was nothing new to offer her.

    She does not accept the idea her verbally abusive and physically abusive father towards her mother has anything to do with her just wanting to check out of family life and be single again. I have read thru the Psalms and find myself wondering really where is God now. I have confessed just about everything I ever did in my life to make sure that I have no unresolved sin. Here is the kicker though, and I appreciate any feedback. When asking her if there is anything in me that gives her reason to not want to try or qualitites in me that make her afraid, she says no, there is nothing I am doing as a Christian spouse/father that would cause her to not try. She says she is just tired and wants out.

    I have read your article about holding the rocks and I understand where she is at, but it is like, Oh I’m leaving and there is really nothing you can do to help me. That is torture for any husband. I WILL NOT give in like a lot of Christian men and just send her away. I am holding God at his word that he can do a miracle in my wife. If he can’t, to me, that verse about him hating divorce is going to be questionable, then at that point why can’t the rest of the Bible be questionable?

    I believe this is where the 20+ crowd is at. They see their parents sin, and they are questioning not only the validity of God’s word, but even if God is really up there. Churches need to wake up and stop just throwing verses at families and think it is all going to go away. Thank you for this site you have because, trust me, this has been the only real applicable place for me to find practical help but with biblical backing. What leaves me baffled, is that, I think wouldn’t a woman kill to have a Godly, loving husband who wants to open up and share their thoughts and feelings? I am so blown away, sometimes I think I am losing my mind. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

    1. Hi Dave. How sad I am for you and for the place you find your marriage right now. I hope that you don’t panic and try to rush your wife sooner than she’s ready, so she can eventually clear the cobwebs out of her vision and get her head screwed back on, and reignite your relationship in a positive way, as we pray and hope she will. Your steadfast loyalty, and love for her, despite all she is doing may help to be a saving grace for her as she looks back and is able to say, “what was I thinking?”

      From what you’ve written of her background it sounds like she may have thought that she never got to “play” because she had to grow up faster than she now thinks she was ready for and that’s why she wants to rebel a bit. That doesn’t mean it was your fault… it’s just what happened. I hope that eventually she can see that you both can play together. If she wakes up… it would be good to find ways to dream together, to find ways to laugh and explore life, contrary to how you did before. I’m not sure… ask God what that might look like, if your wife gives you the chance.

      As for your pessimism, I get it. I’m not sure if I could put a positive spin on this at this time, if I were in your place. This is tough stuff, to say the least. You said you read through the Psalms. As you can see, King David also questioned where God was at different times when he didn’t see God’s hand as active as he thought he should have. As he wrote in Psalm 73, which I refer a lot to during those doubt storms, “But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold.”

      Concerning doubts, “there are hailstorms. There are rainstorms. And there are doubstorms.” Max Lucado talks about them in his book, “In the Eye of the Storm.” He says that “Doubtstorms are those turbulent days when the enemy is too big, the task is too great, the future too bleak, and the answers too few. But then there are Gentle Lights. Gentle Lights… God’s solutions for doubtstorms… not thunderbolts… not explosions of light… just gentle lights… visible evidence of the invisible hand. It’s soft reminders that optimism is not just for fools.

      “‘When God comes,’ we doubters think, ‘all pain will flee. Life will be tranquil and no questions will remain.’ But because we look for the bonfire, we miss the candle. Because we listen for the shout, we miss the whisper. But it is in the burnished candles that God comes and through whispered promises he speaks: ‘When you doubt, look around; I am closer than you think.'”

      God tells us in the Bible in Daniel 2:22, “It is He who reveals the profound and hidden things; He who knows what is in the darkness. And the light dwells with Him.” Hope, like an anchor, is fixed on the unseen and upon whatever light we can envision and see. We need to look for His Light and trust Him through the darkness that we encounter –through the Doubtstorms. It’s difficult, no doubt. My husband and I have been on a looonnnnng journey with our two prodigal sons. The one son has been living his testimony for over 20 years now. Sometimes our knees are numb and our hearts are definitely shredded while praying for him to wake up. The tears we’ve cried would fill an ocean it seems… and yet, we know we are to keep standing and trusting.

      Something that Oswald Chambers wrote comes to mind to give you. In his book, My Utmost for God’s Highest, he wrote, “God has frequently to knock the bottom board out of your experience if you are a saint in order to get you into contact with Himself. God wants you to understand that it is a life of FAITH, not a life of sentimental enjoyment of His blessings. Your earlier life of faith was narrow and intense, settled around a little sun-spot of experience, full of light and sweetness; then God withdrew His conscious blessings in order to teach you to walk by faith… Faith by its very nature must be tried, and the real trial of faith is not that we find it difficult to trust God, but that God’s character has to be cleared in our own minds.

      “Faith in the Bible is faith in God against everything that contradicts Him –I will remain true to God’s character whatever He may do, “though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.” I hope you are. I get the feeling that you are battle-weary and want to give up and yet, something (I’m thinking it’s Someone) within you is letting you know that the battle is not over and you must keep persevering. I hope you can. I pray strength for you. For the sake of your 25 years together, the covenant you entered into, the “kids” who are watching and waiting, others who are watching, and for the victory that can be had by your remaining “steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord,” I pray you will one day “know that the work that you do for the Lord is not wasted.” I’m not trying to give you a “rah-rah” speech, but to let you know that we sense your tiredness, your confusion, and your wanting to give up.

      Yes, you’re right… “most women WOULD kill to have a Godly, loving husband who wants to open up and share their thoughts and feelings.” And why your wife doesn’t appreciate that at this point, I don’t know. She’s definitely blind in many ways. I pray the Lord opens her eyes and I hope that once they’re open, she turns them towards you and lavishes her love upon you for your faithfulness. We all are given choices… but what we do with them is the variable in all of this. Just because something doesn’t appear to be happening, it doesn’t mean that it’s not. What it means is she has not taken her freedom of choice, to go in the way she should right now. How I hope for you it will be different in the future and that you will be able to stand faithful for whatever length of time you should. I lift up in prayer and hope for you Psalm 112:4, “Even in darkness light dawns for the upright, for the gracious and compassionate and righteous man.” “May the Lord direct your heart into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance.” (2 Thessalonians 3:5)