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Marriage is like a house. There are things you can do or not do, that can over time ruin the property. When you don’t fix things when they break, or do preventive maintenance, your house can go from nice to run down and maybe even unlivable. Your marriage is the same way, if you just ignore your problems or refuse to work at preventing them, your marriage can go from nice to run down, or maybe even unlivable! Learn how to change the things that ruin your marriage.
1. Ignore Your Spouse
Listening is a key part of succeeding in a marriage relationship. It is like my relationship with God, knowing that He is listening to me, gives me comfort and security.
And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.I john 5: 14-15
Knowing that your spouse cares enough about you to listen to what you have to say creates comfort and security in your relationship. Likewise, if you don’t listen to your spouse it gives them the signal that you don’t care about what they have to say.
The LISTEN Method
|L||Look at your spouse- Make eye contact when you are listening. Even if you are “multitasking”, giving your undivided attention lets your spouse know that you care.|
|I||Initiate conversations- Ask about how their day is going, or how things were at work. This confirms that you actually care about the things you are asking about.|
|S||Support your spouse when listening. Listen with understanding. Practice listening, so that you can summarize what your spouse is saying if needed.|
|T||Talk with your spouse. Participate in the conversation. This sends the unmistakable signal that you want to be involved with what is important to your spouse.|
|E||Engage in the conversation. Ask follow up questions to learn about the context of the conversation.|
|N||Nourish the conversation. Keep conversations with your spouse alive and new. Learn to enjoy being a part of the conversation. Make listening your pastime.|
Stop talking about yourself
You talk about the things that are important to you and expect your spouse to listen. However, your spouse may have some things that are important to them. Sometimes it may be time to stop talking and listen to what your spouse has to say.
This is when listening becomes incredibly intimate. To think that my spouse is so interested in me, that she would stop talking about the things that she cares about to find out what I care about! This is an act so personal, it sparks a flame of passion that you can’t find anywhere else in this world.
Have you ever experienced God answering a prayer for you? If not, I would highly recommend that you ask for some specific, personal things from God. (see James 4: 2-3) It is like your faith in Him just explodes! I believed that He was listening to me, now I absolutely know that He was not only listening, but He cared about what I was saying to him.
The marriage relationship can be similar. If you know that your spouse is listening to you, the joy in your marriage will just explode! It is just another way that the marriage covenant reflects the story of the Gospel. He loves us with a love that is so intense, that it inspires Him to listen. Love your spouse with a love so intense, that it inspires you to listen.
2. Be Greedy
The Gospel story involves a giving that is unimaginable. God gave his son.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.John 3: 16
He traded the life of His Son for unworthy sinners. It was a trade for people who cared nothing about Him, or what He wanted. I don’t think that any of us will fully understand the impact of the giving that He gave until we get to Heaven. It is not just the act of forgiveness, which is absolutely amazing, but it is what He has promised for us in eternity. It is found all throughout the New Testament, that salvation is in what He has made for us throughout eternity.
Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.I John 3:2
Within the simple phrase, now are we the sons of God, is the promise of a truth that reflects the way He has fully given His life for ours. He so completely gave Himself away for you, that you become the son of God. In willingly laying down His life, He held nothing back.
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.John 15: 13
Then there is our seemingly pathetic attempts to give back to Him. His part of salvation was in a single sacrifice, and before that moment, the decision to give us everything had already been made. My part of giving my life back to Him, is unfortunately, a process. It is an ongoing struggle of me surrendering, of me giving up myself for Him.
The act of marriage is the act of giving
When you make those sacred vows before God, you are giving yourself away. Marriage is a commitment to give yourself unreservedly to the one you love. It is the closest act to the Gospel that this world has to offer. You are giving away everything because you love the person to whom you are giving. It is the divine plan of your creator, to give yourself away in the marriage covenant.
The following are some things that you should give away to your spouse. These things consequently mirror the giving that God gave through the Gospel.
Marriage is the act of giving your heart away to someone else. To open yourself up to the possibility of being completely destroyed. To become completely vulnerable to someone else. It is like the chance that Jesus takes with you. He knows that you could always reject His love yet He offers it without reservation.
For you to make the decision to take the risk of completely giving your heart away, is the ultimate meaning of marriage and love. Don’t hold back from giving yourself away to your spouse. In your giving, do like God has for you, give everything.
It was on the cross of Calvary, where Jesus gave His body away. This is when He willingly gave Himself away for you. In marriage, this is what you should do, give your body away. It is God’s plan from the beginning (see Genesis 2:25). With complete love to willingly give your body to your spouse, is to fulfill the act of love. In your giving, do like God has done for you, give everything.
It is the most valuable thing that you own. It is the one thing that you can never get back once it is gone. Love is taking your time and giving it away to your spouse. Give the time to talk, date, and hold each other.
One of the most amazing things about being a christian, is the time that He takes for you. How is it possible that the God of Heaven would even think about me, much less have a relationship with me? Amazingly He does!
Marriage is about giving your time away to someone else. It is saying, I have this time and I am giving it to you.
Marriage is basically saying, “I love you so much that I want to grow old with you.” I am giving you the rest of my life. I make this vow to spend a lifetime with you. It is in the words, “for better or for worse”, that this commitment becomes a reality.
God designed marriage as a lifetime commitment. In this way it shows His commitment in the Gospel. However, His love, commitment, and giving is not momentary or attached to temporary emotion, but it is wrapped up in one word, eternity.
The act of marriage is in giving yourself away for a lifetime.
3. Never Compromise
This is when marriage gets hard, when you don’t get your way. To submit your will, for the happiness and betterment of the person you love is what marriage is all about. This is found in the Bible instructions for husbands and wives in the book of Ephesians, in fact it is like the preamble, it is like that title that sums up everything that is about to be said.
Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.Ephesians 5: 22
To be honest, this verse hits incredibly hard. After all, life is about the pursuit of happiness, it is about making myself happy, or so we have been told. The truth is something entirely different, that you should be in the pursuit of making someone happy. Real joy is found in giving up what you want, for the sake of someone else.
Again, this principle is burned into the pages of Scripture in the ultimate submission of Christ to the cross for the sole benefit of the unworthy sinners that He loved.
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.Hebrews 12: 2
Its OK to let your spouse have what they want
It is ingrained within your sinful nature to seek what you want at the expense of someone else. Learn to compromise what you want, to give your spouse what they want. You will discover a secret of marriage, that in letting go of what you want, you find what you really wanted along without knowing it. There is joy in letting go of yourself and embracing another.
This is what Jesus did in the Gospel, He let go of His life and found the Joy in embracing the wants and needs of someone else. The word comprise has received a bad rap over the years. However, it is OK to compromise in marriage. You don’t always have to have it your way.
You don’t have to compromise your principles, or your faith, but you can comprise what YOU want. Healthy relationships require compromise to stay healthy. No you can’t have it your way all the time, even though your inner toddler may want it that way. Some people never learn the lessons of compromise.
Make it your goal to discover what they want
Work at finding what your spouse wants, and giving it to them. Study what they say and what they desire and seek to give it to them.
Anyone who knows Jesus, can tell you, that He does this. Moreover, He deliberately gives you things that you want, just to let know that He cares that much about you.
Three Surefire Ways to Ruin Your Marriage
- Ignore your spouse
- Be greedy
- Never compromise