A brand new year is here. And with it comes a lot of New Year resolutions. As Christians, there is no greater place to start than within your own marriage. How is your relationship with your spouse? Is it good, or is it full of havoc?
Here are 7 ways to totally wreak havoc in your Christian marriage:
1. Make Mountains Out of Mole Hills.
Marriages are filled with a lot of joys, sorrows, and irritations along the way. Sometimes it can be difficult to distinguish between a mountain and a molehill. Mountains are those things that are worth taking a stand, while molehills are more like minor irritations. Mountains are very large and immovable. Molehills are small irritating piles of dirt that are easily smoothed over.
If you’re having difficulty distinguishing between a mountain and a molehill, ask yourself if this issue is worth taking time out of your day to discuss with your spouse.
2. Yell at One Another.
The quickest way to destroy communication in your Christian marriage is to yell at one another. Proverbs 18:21 states, “Life and death are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” Such power the tongue has! Are you using yours for life or death in your relationship with your spouse?
3. Build Emotional Walls.
Emotional walls steal the intimacy in a marriage. And Christian marriages are not free from them. In fact, every marriage has them from time to time because we are imperfect humans.
Yet, the difference between a healthy relationship and unhealthy one is what you do with the emotional walls. Do you choose to keep your emotional walls, thereby building them higher? Or do you allow communication and forgiveness to help tear them down?
4. Ignore Your Problems.
Avoidance and denial are two crucial ingredients to destroying any Christian marriage. They go together with the adage “If we don’t face it, then it doesn’t exist” or “Don’t rock the boat.”
Conflict avoidance will take your marriage down the pathway to such great destinations of Misunderstanding, Distrust, and Resentment. Where as facing your problems can take you to such resorts as Forgiveness, Intimacy and Happiness.
5. Hold onto Resentment.
Resentment paralyzes a martial relationship. It serves as a catalyst for distance, lack of communication, and bitterness between spouses. If you want a relationship filled with bitterness, plant the seed of resentment and nurture it with an unforgiving spirit.
6. Store Up Ammunition for Your Next Argument.
Long before popular psychology came into existence, the Apostle Paul penned an award winner definition for Christian love. It is found in I Corinthians 13:5, “…it does not keep a record of wrongs…”
Today some may call this “letting go” or “forgiveness.” Regardless of what it is called, as Christians we are encouraged to not keep a running tally list of the offenses our spouses have committed against us.
7. Never Ask for Forgiveness.
As humans, it feels so much better to point out others’ faults rather than admit our own. Yet, marriage is about having the maturity to first ask for forgiveness for how we’ve hurt our spouse, rather than demanding their asking us for forgiveness.
Now that we’ve become aware of 7 ways to cause problems in our marriage (from the E-zine article titled Christian Marriage Blunders: How to Wreak Havoc in Your Marriage written by Terre Grable, lets look at 7 ways to HELP your marriage.
TO NOT WREAK HAVOC IN YOUR MARRIAGE:
1. Choose Your Battles Wisely.
Beware of magnifying the small stuff. It can bring down your relationship in big ways. “Love is not rude, it is not self-seeking. It is not easily angered, and it keeps no record of wrongs” (1 Corinthians 13:5) “A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense” (Proverbs 19:11). “If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other” (Galatians 5:15).
2. “Speak the Truth in Love” –Don’t Yell It.
Screaming at each other sabotages communication. It also slams your spouse’s ears shut and puts him or her on the defensive. Instead of working to build relationship bridges, each person is busy defending their “side.” “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice” (Ephesians 4:31). “A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control” (Proverbs 29:11). “The quiet words of the wise are more to be heeded than the shouts of a ruler of fools” (Ecclesiastes 9:17).
3. Work to Build Relationship Bridges Rather Than Walls in Your Marriage.
Life (with the emotional baggage and differing expectations you bring into marriage) has a way of dividing you physically and emotionally. “I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:1-3). “Let us make every effort to do what leads to peace and mutual edification” (Romans 12:18).
4. Deal with Rather than Bury Problems.
If you ignore problems, they could fester with time. And then they cause more trouble than you would have had in the first place. “The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge. The ears of the wise seek it out” (Proverbs 18:15). “Each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor [spouse], for we are all members of one body. In your anger do not sin; do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold” (Ephesians 4:25-27).
5. Release Resentment.
“Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many” (Hebrews 12:14-15). “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:30-32).
6. Your Spouse is Not the Enemy. So Stop Treating Him/her as Such.
“The words of the wicked lie in wait for blood, but the speech of the upright rescues them” (Proverbs 12:6). “I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:1-3)
7. WHEN WRONG, SINCERELY ASK FOR FORGIVENESS.
This is true, whether your spouse is gracious in giving it or not. It’s the right thing to do. “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace” (Colossians 3:12-15).
May your New Year together, as husband and wife, be blessed by God in amazing ways.
Cindy and Steve Wright
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