Sinful Behavior will Fracture a Marriage

When people disobey God, they hurt not only themselves, but others. In a marriage, sinful behavior will fracture the relationship. What are we to do when a spouse persists in destructive behavior? In Matthew chapter 18 Jesus teaches three levels of confrontation. Tell the spouse how their behavior is affecting you. Request change. If they don’t respond, then take someone with you and confront them again. If this does not produce repentance, then share the problem with church leadership. If the church leaders confront your spouse and there is still no turning around, then Jesus said, they are to be treated as an unbeliever, not as a brother. This calls for tough love, tough love is the only kind of love that some people understand.

Fireworks in Your Marriage

Tomorrow is July the Fourth. The fireworks will fill the skies. But I want to ask you a question. Will there be any fireworks in your marriage? I’m not talking about arguments. I’m talking about romantic love. What many couples do not understand is that romantic love has two stages. The first, is the euphoric stage that we normally call “falling in love.” No effort is required. We are swept along by our emotions. But the second stage is ‘covenant love.’ It requires effort and information. We must first know how to express love in a way that will touch the heart of our spouse. Then we must choose to do it. I call it, learning to speak the ‘love language’ of your spouse. When you speak their love language – there will be fireworks in your marriage.

Pray for Military Marriages

When is the last time you prayed for military marriages? These young men and women live under tremendous stress. One military wife said to me, “When my husband is deployed, and I hear a car door slam outside my house, I listen carefully to hear if a second car door slams. Because I know that if there has been a casualty there will be two people coming to my door to inform me.” Those of us who are civilians know little of that kind of stress. So, may I encourage you to pray for military marriages. Pray that God will protect them, but pray also that God will help them process the normal stresses of life that come with a military life-style.

Love Must Confront

Some things are not acceptable in a Christian marriage. When physical abuse, sexual unfaithfulness, sexual abuse of children, alcoholism, or drug addiction persist in a marriage, it is time to take loving action. In fact, one is not loving when he or she accepts such behavior as a way of life. This behavior is destroying the individual and the marriage. Love must confront. In the Bible, confronting is always seen as redemptive. Jesus said that if someone sins against us, then we are to confront them. If they listen and repent, we are to forgive, and the relationship is healed. If they do not repent we are to take additional steps of tough love. The purpose is not revenge, but redemption. That’s tough love and that’s real love.

Love is Firm and Tough

Love is not always meek and mild. Sometimes love is firm and tough, but it is no less love. Consider Jesus’ response to the money changers in the temple. They had turned from prayer to profit and Jesus did not sit idly by. When certain men turned religion into racketeering, He insisted that they leave the premises. Harsh actions? Yes. Loving? Yes. Jesus loved too much to do nothing in the face of corruption. Did these men later return and become men of prayer? We don’t know. That certainly would have been the desire of Jesus. His action revealed his love for them and His love for His Father. Sometimes, we too must show tough love.

The Missing Ingredient – Love

You cannot have an intimate marriage without communication, for one simple reason: only you know you. The word intimacy comes from the Latin word intimus meaning ‘inner’. Therefore, intimacy comes from sharing the ‘inner person’ – your thoughts, feelings, and desires. You are the only one who knows what is going on inside of you. If you choose to share your ‘inner self’ and your spouse chooses to listen, there can be understanding and empathy. If your spouse does the same and you listen, the two of you will have an intimate relationship. Talking and listening – it sounds so simple. Often the missing ingredient is love – the desire to help each other rather than get our own way.

‘Tough Love’ and Genuine Repentance

A lady once asked me, “Is there ever a time to stop loving your spouse?” I responded with a question, “Why do you ask?” “My husband physically and verbally abused me for eight years. He refused to work. I supported the family for 7 years. Then I got sick. Even then, he refused to get a job. I just got tired of it, so I left him. Was I wrong to stop loving him?” “I’m not sure you stopped loving him,” I said. “This may be the best loving you have ever done. He may even get a job.” “Oh, he’s already promised me that he will get a job and be kind to me if I come back.” “Then let’s see if he follows through,” I said. “If he does, and is willing to get counseling, you can rebuild your marriage.” Sometimes it is ‘tough love’ that brings a spouse to genuine repentance.

Time to Call in the Wrecking Crew

If you have lost the intimacy in your marriage, it’s time to call in the wrecking crew. That’s right, it’s time to demolish the wall between the two of you. And the most effective tool for demolition is – confession. Oh, I know it’s not all your fault. But no one is perfect. So, put the sledge hammer of confession to your part of the wall. You might say, “I’ve been thinking about us and I realize that I have not been the spouse you deserve. I asked God to show me my failures and He gave me a pretty good list. I’d like to share these with you and ask you to forgive me. I want to make the future different.” You have taken the first step toward renewed intimacy.

Which of God’s commands have I broken?

“I just don’t understand it,” she said. “Before marriage, I felt so close to Rob. We shared everything. He was so kind and tender and understanding. But now, all of that is gone. I just don’t know him anymore. He is not the man I married.” What happened to the intimacy between this husband and wife? The answer is as old as creation itself. In the beginning, Adam and Eve were both naked and felt no
shame – total intimacy. But shortly, they were sewing figs leaves together to cover themselves. What happened? They disobeyed God’s commands. Sin always separates. So if you have lost your intimacy ask yourself: Which of God’s commands have I broken? I think you’ll find more than one.

“They were both asking for the same thing – intimacy”

“We don’t ever do anything together anymore; he’s always gone. Our communication is almost non-existant.” That was her perspective. But he had a different story. He said, “If we could get our sex life straightened out, everything else would be fine.” What they didn’t realize is that they were both asking for the same thing – intimacy. For him, intimacy meant sex. For her it meant quality time. With a little counseling and a change of attitude, this couple found what they were looking for. In short, they discovered how to speak each other’s love language. What about you? If you long for more intimacy wouldn’t it be worth reading a book or talking with a counselor?

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