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Thursday, January 9, 2014
The change you seek in your marriage starts with you.
I heard a disturbing advertisement on a local radio station this week. The crux of it was something like this: "You know you are tired of suffering in your bad marriage. Hey it's a new year, why not make a plan to get out of your marriage this year." It was an ad for a divorce attorney group.
Seriously? Do people really think this "It's a new year so get rid of your old marriage" ad will be effective? Is the divorce business so bad that divorce attorneys need to actually try to push people into divorce?
After shaking off the disgust, the ad actually gave me the idea for this post.
Time For a Change?
Let me encourage you in an entirely different direction than the divorce attorney ad. Yes, if you have a struggling or difficult marriage, maybe it is time to get a different one.
But I'm not talking about divorce and re-marriage. I'm talking about changing the marriage you have.
What's the best thing to focus on when something has got to change? You already know what I'm going to say, but I'm going to say it anyways. It's YOU!
The truth is that you CAN change your marriage. But it isn't going to happen by trying to change your spouse. No, it starts with changing you. Ultimately, that's the only thing you really have control over anyway.
Most of us can easily list the things we'd like to change about our spouse. It takes a little brutally honest self-reflection to make a list for yourself.
Now to be clear, I'm not talking about just beating yourself up. I'm talking about getting before God and asking the Holy Spirit to shine light into the dark corners of your life. God is NOT an accuser, so if you feel accusation, that's the enemy. But God does want to grow you into the fullness of all that he has for you and all that he has for your marriage.
What do you do when the issues seem insurmountable and change seems impossible? Dr. Corey Allan at Simple Marriage has a great post called "Every Day, Take Action." I suggest you read the entire post, but in summary he describes three simple steps to meaningful change.
- Get the right mindset and gain the proper perspective. See the issues before you as an opportunity to grow. Know that God is completely for you and for your marriage.
- Own your own junk. Pack off the other stuff. As I said, you have to own your own issues and take responsibility for your own missteps, as well as for your own happiness. Own what's yours, but don't try to own what isn't. You can't own your spouse's issues.
- Take action every day to live according to what you hold dear. When the road ahead seems steep and rocky, just concentrate on the next step. Look to what you can do today to live according to what you know to be true, despite your circumstances.
We Can Do Hard!
I don't want to downplay those in difficult marriage situations. Really hard stuff happens. Maybe you've even suffered infidelity or some other devastating blow to your marriage relationship. Maybe you've lost a close relative and your marriage has taken it on the chin as a result. Maybe financial difficulties have you constantly fighting over money.
There is stuff that is really, really hard. No denying it.
My wife and I have a saying that has developed in recent months. "We can do hard."
God is eternally faithful, even if our spouse is not. His love is unflinching, even when ours changes as often as the weather. His promises are true, even when we aren't so sure of them. He is strong when we are weak. He is steady and steadfast, even when our patience wears thin. He is for us, no matter what.
God is what makes us able to say, "We can do hard."
If you are facing longstanding issues and need a little encouragement, go read my last post, "The Weight, The Wait and the Hope."
A Different Marriage
Whether you are in a marriage that is struggling or one that is thriving, there is always room to grow. There is always deeper intimacy, more passion, stronger trust and better communication.
There's always more!
We all have stuff to work on that can lead us to a different, better marriage. Never grow complacent, because your marriage is a living organism. It's either growing or dying. There really is no static state.
If you want something more, something different, then you have to actually do something different.
So think about what you want more of in your marriage. Maybe even just start with one thing. Then ask God what you can change about what you are thinking, doing and speaking that can help bring that about.
If you could have more of one thing in your marriage this year, what would it be? Leave a comment and let us know!
I wanted to share a few of the many great related "New Year" posts from my blogging friends:
- Brad at One Flesh Marriage: Marriage Renovation
- Kate at One Flesh Marriage: Cleaning House
- Jolene Engle of The Alabaster Jar guest posts at A Biblical Marriage: All Things Made New
- Jay Dee of Sex Within Marriage guest posts at A Biblical Marriage: How to Follow Through on New Year's Resolutions
photo credit: ximagination / 123rf.com
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