I would think that most couples would agree, unless they are newlyweds, that their marriage is not perfect. There are aspects of the relationship that could be better. If this is true then my marriage is broken in some way. If it is broken then I should work on fixing it. Let me share a few insights on fixing your marriage.
First, make the focus on how you can change not on your spouse. It is almost expected that couples that come for marriage counselling are coming to get their spouse fixed. I know they say they want to change but I soon discover the real reason is so there spouse can get the help they need! The truth is the only person that you can change is yourself. “However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.” (Ephesians 5:33)
Second, adopt a win-win approach in your relationship. It is too easy for couple to take an adversarial approach and treat each other as if they are prosecuting attorneys trying to incriminate their spouse. If you have not figured it out yet this approach does not work. Why? Because it creates a Win-Lose scenario (or even a Lose-Lose) since one person wins and the other loses. A win-win approach begins with a different attitude. The desire is to work things out. This requires that you stay focused on the issue and do not allow yourself to get sidetracked in attacking your spouse’s character. Much can be accomplished when you treat your spouse with respect. There also needs to be the seeking and offering of forgiveness as you own your wrongs and forgive your spouses wrongs. The bottom line factor in a win-win approach is being willing to compromise to fix the relationship. I love Jesus’ instructions, “Correct any followers of mine who sin, and forgive the ones who say they are sorry. Even if one of them mistreats you seven times in one day and says, “I am sorry,” you should still forgive that person.” (Luke 17:3–4)
Third, and probably the most important, view your spouse as God’s gift to you. This perspective makes a huge difference. It is natural for us to take care of ourselves and the things that we value. The opposite is also true, we can tend to neglect those things that we do not value. It is appalling the way couples treat each other when they do not understand the value of their spouse. I need you to take a moment to think of some physical object that is valuable to you. It could be jewelry or a car or whatever. I would bet that you take care of that item, you spend money on that item, and you even invest time in that item because it is valuable to you. We should invest that same effort into our relationship with our spouse because of their value in our life. Solomon wrote, “A man’s greatest treasure is his wife— she is a gift from the Lord.” (Proverbs 18:22)
Our current sermon series “Reboot” is a call to invest in the most important areas of our lives in 2017. This past week the message was on Prioritizing My Relationship with My Family. You can listen here.
-Pastor Joe Parkinson