Category: Conflict

Q+A: Desperate Marriages

Q: Gary, after 15 years of marriage, we are contemplating separation. We have had many battles over the years, one being depression. Walls have been built and the fear is that I can’t break the wall again. I feel I’m done. Is there hope? Is separation just prolonging the inevitable?

Gary: I believe that there is always hope, even when you have lost hope. And I understand how you can get there, because I have been there myself. There are two books I would recommend to you: One is called Desperate Marriages. It specifically deals with the whole depression issue and living with someone who is depressed over a long period of time. The other one is called One More Try: What to do When Your Marriage is Falling Apart. I believe either or both of these books will help you as you struggle to know what to do next.

Marriage Makes Me Angry

I don’t ever remember getting angry until I got married. Maybe I have a faulty memory, but one thing is certain: six months after the wedding, I found myself angry with my wife. Why? Because she did not live up to my expectations. Incidentally, she was angry with me for the same reason. In those days, if you had asked me, “Are you angry?” I would have said, “No, I’m just disappointed. I’m hurt.” I had been taught all my life that anger was sinful. I didn’t want to sin, so I gave my anger a different name. The first step in learning to process anger is to admit: “I’m feeling angry.” You can’t deal with it, until you are honest enough to admit that you have it.

Q+A: Controlling Spouses

Q: Gary, my husband is very stingy with ‘our’ money and doesn’t let me spend anything on my own. I feel like a prisoner!

Gary: My guess is you also feel like a prisoner in other areas of the marriage because what you’re talking about is a controlling personality. In this case, it happens to be money, but when a spouse has a controlling personality they make all the decisions. The other person feels like a prisoner or a child that has to ask for every nickel. I think I would discuss this openly with him, share your feelings with him. If he’s not willing to think with you about it, I would say to him, “I’m going to counseling because I can’t continue to live with this kind of pressure. I would encourage you to come with me.” If he does, wonderful! If not, you go and chances are you will have the support and help of a counselor in how you might take further steps to help him recognize what he’s doing to the relationship.

Forgiveness is Always the Christian Response

So, your spouse has failed you. But now, they have confessed their wrong and are seeking to change their behavior. What are you to do? In the Scriptures, forgiveness is always the Christian response to confession and repentance. Remember, forgiveness is not a feeling. It is a decision to lift the penalty and declare the person pardoned. Forgiveness means that you will no longer hold that failure against your spouse. Human forgiveness is based on God’s forgiveness. Christ paid the penalty for our sins. When we confess and repent, God forgives us. The same principle applies in human relationships. There are no healthy marriages without confession, repentance, and forgiveness.

Becoming the Person Your Spouse Deserves

You don’t have to be perfect to have a good marriage. But, you do need to deal effectively with your failures. Otherwise they sit as barriers to a growing marriage. How do you get rid of past failures? First, you identify them – write them down. Second, you confess them as wrong – to God and to your spouse. Third, you repent – change your behavior. To confess this week, and then repeat the same behavior next week, does not remove barriers. It makes things worse. God is in the business of changing lives. Why not sign up for God’s rehabilitation program. Let Him give you the power to break old habits and replace them with acts of kindness and love. You can become the person, your spouse deserves.

Starting Over

Would you like to put the past behind you and start over? I’m talking about in your marriage. Many couples have so much pain from past failures that they have a hard time moving ahead. Time alone, will not heal hurts. Healing comes when we are willing to confess our failures and change our behavior. Some of us would like to leave out the confession part and just focus on being different in the future. However, confession is essential to the healing process. Even God requires confession before He forgives. I John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins.” Confession means that we admit to our spouse that what we did is wrong. We accept responsibility for our failure and request forgiveness.

Identifying Past Failures

Most of us will admit that we are not perfect. From time to time we say and do things that are not loving, kind, or helpful. In a marriage these failures build into walls of separation. If you would like to remove past failures, you must first identify them. Get pen and paper and ask God to bring to your mind the ways you have hurt your spouse in the past. Now, go to your children individually and ask them to tell you times when they have seen you being unkind to your spouse. Get ready, because children can be brutally honest. Then ask the same question to close friends who have had opportunity to observe your behavior. This process can be painful, but it is the first step in dealing with past failures.

Biblical Forgiveness

Biblical forgiveness in marriage is the decision to no longer credit an offense against your spouse with a view of exacting vengeance. It means you release your spouse from a debt owed to you as well as the blame he or she may deserve. Forgiveness is first and foremost a decision. It doesn’t begin with an emotion. It is not contingent on how you feel about your spouse, but rather it is a choice to no longer blame your spouse for an offense.

Continue reading article by Dr. Tony Evans >>

 

Q&A: Should I Apologize to Those from Past Relationships?

Q: Gary, I will be getting married soon and I want to have a clean conscience. Should I apologize to those whom I might have hurt in previous relationships?

Gary: I think a good basic pattern is that we always apologize to the people we’ve hurt in the past. Sometimes we haven’t learned that and we leave a whole string of relationships that are fractured because we never accept that responsibility. If you’ve hurt people in past relationships, then yes, I think it’s good to go back and apologize for your part in that relationship and for what you did. You’re not asking for reconciliation because you’re getting married to someone else, but you are acknowledging responsibility for your failures in the past.

Your Unhappy Marriage May be More Harmful to Your Children than You Realize

We’re often warned about the detrimental effects divorce can have on children: It can make them insecure, worried, or harm their ability to have a successful marriage later on in life. If you find yourself in an unhappy marriage and have decided to stay for the sake of the children, it is vital to realize there are repercussions to that decision. Below are three consequences of maintaining status quo in an unhappy marriage which will hopefully serve as motivation to reignite the process of healing and restoration in your marriage.

Continue reading article by Nancy Pina >>

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