Category: Marriage help

Q&A: Is my husband spending too much time with his parents?

Question: My husband goes to his parent’s house every afternoon after work and every Friday night. I only see my parents once a week. My question is: What does a healthy relationship with parents look like for a newly-wed couple?

Answer: This is a question that many young couples can identify with, if you  live in the same town as your parents. The Scriptures say that we are to “leave our parents” and “be joined to each other.” What that looks like may differ with each couple, but the principle is clear. It appears to me that you think he is spending too much time with his parents and that may be true.

What I’d like to know is what is he doing when he goes to see his parents? What motivates him to go there? Is his mother demanding that he come to see them? That’s unhealthy. Or, is he helping his father with a work project? That’s different. Is he sharing his marital problems with his parents? That’s not good. Find out the motivation and then seek a pattern that demonstrates that the marriage is priority.

Asking for God's Help in Your Marriage

If you want to improve your marriage, are you open to trying the radical teachings of Jesus?

The first step is get alone with God and pray this prayer: “Lord, you know what I live with, and you know how I’ve been treated. But I know that I’m not perfect and what I want to know is where am I am failing in my marriage. What am I doing and saying that I shouldn’t? What am I failing to do and say that I should?” That is a prayer that God will answer. He will show you your failures. I suggest that you write them down as God brings them to your mind:

  1. I was not kind last night. I was harsh and cutting with my words.
  2. I have been withdrawing lately. Not willing to talk or express interest in his life.
  3. I’ve been acting like God is dead and hope is gone.

Write them down and confess them to God. ‘Lord, I know that these are wrong. I confess them to you. Thank you that Christ has paid for these sins. I ask for your forgiveness.” According to scripture, the moment you ask, you are FORGIVEN. Thank God for His forgiveness. “Now Lord, help me to do something good with my life today.” Friend, you have taken the first step in improving your marriage.

Asking for God’s Help in Your Marriage

If you want to improve your marriage, are you open to trying the radical teachings of Jesus?

The first step is get alone with God and pray this prayer: “Lord, you know what I live with, and you know how I’ve been treated. But I know that I’m not perfect and what I want to know is where am I am failing in my marriage. What am I doing and saying that I shouldn’t? What am I failing to do and say that I should?” That is a prayer that God will answer. He will show you your failures. I suggest that you write them down as God brings them to your mind:

  1. I was not kind last night. I was harsh and cutting with my words.
  2. I have been withdrawing lately. Not willing to talk or express interest in his life.
  3. I’ve been acting like God is dead and hope is gone.

Write them down and confess them to God. ‘Lord, I know that these are wrong. I confess them to you. Thank you that Christ has paid for these sins. I ask for your forgiveness.” According to scripture, the moment you ask, you are FORGIVEN. Thank God for His forgiveness. “Now Lord, help me to do something good with my life today.” Friend, you have taken the first step in improving your marriage.

Q&A: Contemplating separation

Question: After 15 years of marriage, we are contemplating separation. We are both Christians but have had many battles, one being depression. I feel I’m done. Is there hope?

Answer: I understand how you might feel like giving up. Depression that extends over a period of time can be difficult to deal with for both of you. However, there is help for those who are depressed. The most successful treatment involves both counseling and medication. I know that some Christians want to stay away from medication, but the reality is that often there is a chemical basis for the depression. Successful treatment then requires medication.

I also know that you may have tried medication and it has not helped, but don’t give up. Different medications help different people. Talk with your doctor and try another medication. However, don’t omit the counseling. Many times the depression is fed by relational issues. This is where a counselor can be very helpful.

Q&A: Contemplating separation

Question: After 15 years of marriage, we are contemplating separation. We are both Christians but have had many battles, one being depression. I feel I’m done. Is there hope?

Answer: I understand how you might feel like giving up. Depression that extends over a period of time can be difficult to deal with for both of you. However, there is help for those who are depressed. The most successful treatment involves both counseling and medication. I know that some Christians want to stay away from medication, but the reality is that often there is a chemical basis for the depression. Successful treatment then requires medication.

I also know that you may have tried medication and it has not helped, but don’t give up. Different medications help different people. Talk with your doctor and try another medication. However, don’t omit the counseling. Many times the depression is fed by relational issues. This is where a counselor can be very helpful.

The First Step is Yours

Improving a marriage is hard work, but the good news is you can do it because the first step is always yours.

Jesus said, first get the beam out of your own eye and then you can help your spouse get the speck out of theirs. I know that someone is objecting: “But the beam really is not in my eye. I’m not perfect, but the real problem is my spouse.” Let’s assume for a moment that you are correct. Let’s say that your spouse’s behavior accounts for 95% of your marital problems. Now that only leaves 5% for you. I’m suggesting and I think Jesus was suggesting that you best begin with your five percent.

In fact, your five percent is all that you can ever change. You cannot confess your husband’s sins, but you can certainly confess your own. You cannot change his behavior, but you can certainly change yours. Once you deal with YOUR five percent, the marriage is already improved. I will guarantee that your action will get the attention of your spouse.

Is there a marriage that doesn’t need help?

There’s no doubt that couples with troubled marriages are desperate for improvement. However, I find that even couples with good marriages recognize that there‘s room for growth. I’m convinced that you can have a better marriage and the key to improving your marriage is you. Some of you might be thinking, “But you don’t understand, I live with an alcoholic. My wife is depressed. My husband is abusive.” Others of you may be thinking, “Well, my marriage is not that bad.” The question is—do you want to have a better marriage? My response is you can and the first step is yours.

Jesus said, “Why do you keep talking about your spouses’ faults and spend so little time thinking about your own? Don’t you know that if you’ll begin by cleaning up your own act, you will have a greater influence on your spouse? First let’s deal with your own failures, then you can expect to see change in your spouse!” (loosely paraphrased from Matt. 7:1-5).

Restraining Response

Uncontrolled anger can destroy your marriage! All of us get angry when we believe that we have been wronged. Feeling angry is not sinful, but how you respond may be. In Ephesians 4:26 we read: “Being angry, sin not, don’t let the sun go down on your anger.” We are responsible for controlling our behavior. The husband or wife who lashes out with harsh words is sinning.

The first step in learning to control your anger is to restrain your immediate response. Count to 100 before you do anything.  Take a walk around the block. Go water your flowers. Do something to stop the flow of hurtful words or abusive behavior. Take a ‘time out’ and you’re less likely to sin.

 

 

Helping Succeed

Winter marriages can turn to Spring. Most of us are self-centered. We focus on our goals. Often we reach those goals and lose our marriage. How many men have climbed the ladder of vocational success to find themselves alone at the top? I can’t believe that is what any of us want. But if we don’t develop our marriages as we climb the ladder, both of us are losers.

There is a better way! Focus on helping your spouse succeed. Find out their aspirations and how you can help. The Scriptures say, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” That principle is true in marriage. Learn the joy of helping your spouse succeed.  Your Winter marriage will turn to Spring.

 

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