marriage problems

This One Thing Can Transform Your Marriage 

After almost 40 years of marriage I have learned a lot of things I should not to do, and several things I should do, if I want a God-glorifying, satisfying marriage. But there is one thing that I have learned that is most important if I am to have the marriage that I truly desire, and that God longs for me to have. My marriage, like most Christian marriages, started in front of a church altar. There we said our vows before God and the attendees. I know there was a brief sermon as well as prayers that emphasized the importance of God in our marriage; however, at the ripe old age of 23 we were so ‘star stuck’ and convinced that our love for each other was all we needed for a great marriage that I know we didn’t tune into the pastor’s words, or much of any other wise counsel given to us at the time. I think many marriages start off the same way ours did: a perfunctory acknowledgement of God’s role in the marriage, and then shortly after the wedding vows have been uttered, living as if the marriage is just between and dependent upon the two of you. 

 It is good to recognize the need for God to be at the center of your marriage at your wedding ceremony, but it’s far, far more important to realize your need for Him every minute, every hour and every day of your marriage. As we grow in our maturity in Christ, we recognize more and more the truth of God’s Word that, ‘apart from Him we can do nothing’ (John 15:5). That is as true in our marriage as it is in our individual lives; we desperately need to be aware of our need for God to be ‘front and center’ in our marriage if we desire it to be all that God intended it to be when He instituted this special union. Since He’s the one who came up with the idea of marriage, you can be confident that He’s the greatest authority and expert on marriage in the world. He’s also the greatest advocate you could ever have for your marriage. He’s for you, He’s for your spouse, and most of all-- He’s for your marriage! And, He’s available to you 24/7—and at no charge! God alone has the power to transform you, to transform your spouse, and to transform your marriage! He is able to redeem your marriage, to sustain it, and to enhance it!  All He asks is that you choose to entrust it to Him!

The best way for you to know that you are entrusting your marriage to
God is to do this one thing: invite Him to come into and take over your marriage. What do I mean by that? I mean that you pray and commit every aspect of your marriage into God’s expert, tender, loving care, and His almighty power! The marriage that is fully surrendered to God and to His will for it will enjoy the greatest intimacy, mutual love and respect, and the joy of ‘oneness’ that God intends for it to have.

I encourage you to pray the prayer below— or a similar one— with your spouse. If he/she is unwilling to pray with you, or you don’t feel comfortable even approaching them about praying it with you at this time, I encourage you to pray it on your own for your marriage. God is waiting to be asked to intervene on behalf of your marriage! We have a miracle-working God Who is not only able to fix ‘broken people’, but also to heal, restore, and redeem ‘broken or troubled relationships’! Trust Him: He is more than able!

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 Entrust your marriage to God, and see what He can and will do!

 Lord, I confess that my spouse and I have ignored the reality that we desperately need you to be at the center of our marriage. All too often we have tried to accomplish our will for our lives rather than to ask you to reveal to us Your will; often we have done things ‘our way’ rather than Your way and we have reaped the consequences of leaving you out of our lives. Lord, I/we invite you to come into our marriage and to completely take it over. Into your hands, I/we commit my/our marriage and ask you to do what only you can do: redeem where it needs to be redeemed; sustain us where we need to be sustained; enhance that which is good. Thank You Lord for Your love for me and for my spouse, and for your desire for our marriage to be a union that reflects your love. I/we desire for our marriage to be all that You created it to be, and I/we ask You to give me/us the faith to believe that You are able to transform our lives and our marriage into something beautiful for Your glory and kingdom purposes! Oh, Lord, how we need you! Please come into our marriage and take it over so that it is all that you created and desire it to be! Into Your hands I/we commit our marriage. Amen.

If you feel inadequate and need more wisdom, knowledge and understanding…ask God to give you the desire to read His Word (the bible), the Source of all truth, wisdom, knowledge and understanding…Lord, into Your loving and capable hands I/we commit my/our need for wisdom, knowledge and understanding and open up our minds to Your truth, guidance and instruction

If you are having communication issues…ask God to give you His ears to hear your spouse, to give you His words for you to speak to your spouse in a way that your spouse will hear you, and to give you His heart of love for your spouse…Lord, into Your loving and capable hands I/we commit what and how we communicate with one another

 If you are having issues with physical, emotional, or spiritual intimacy…ask God to give you His perspective on your spouse so that you can be a vessel through which His love flows through you and meets the physical and emotional needs of your spouse…Lord, into Your loving and capable hands I/we commit our physical, emotional, and spiritual issues

 If you are having financial issues…ask God to take over your situation and to show you what, if anything, you should be doing to address the issue, and to trust Him as Your Provider…Lord, into Your loving and capable hands I/we commit our financial situation/issues

 If you are having issues with your children…ask God to give you and your spouse His wisdom and His heart, mind and spirit regarding how to raise/respond to your children...Lord, into Your loving and capable hands I/we commit our children’s lives, and how we are to raise, counsel/coach them

 If you are having issues with in-laws/family members/friends…ask God to give you His heart of love for the people involved and to respond to them with His truth, wisdom and love…Lord, into Your loving and capable hands I/we commit our issue/s with our family and friends

 If you feel weary and overburdened...ask God to give you His strength, patience and perseverance...Lord, into Your loving and capable hands we commit our bodies, souls, and spirits

 If you feel fearful for the future…ask God to increase your faith in Him so that you will grow confident that He is over and above every circumstance that you are facing today and that will arise in the future...Lord, into Your loving and capable hands we commit our lives and our future

Once you have committed your marriage into the Lord’s hands, I encourage you to listen to His leading, ask Him to give you the ability and faith to do what He has called you to do, and then obey Him and rely upon His power to work in you. If you find that you try to ‘take back’ that which you have committed to God and to do things your way again rather than His, immediately confess it to Him, and recommit it into the Lord’s hands. Remember, God loves you with an unfailing love; He has a plan for your marriage; and He is available to help you at all times. He is more than able to make your marriage ALL that you desire it to be…and even better than you can possibly imagine!

 Written by Julie

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Overcome the Fear of Rejection in Your Marriage & Relationships

“I’m married and haven’t had sex in two years,” a person recently shared with stress and disappointment in his/her voice (names and gender not mentioned for privacy).  “I don’t know how it got this bad and I’ve been sleeping in another room for quite some time now.  My spouse says that he/she needs ‘time’ to sort things out and while I’ve given her/him a lot of time out of respect, I’m still treated terribly and I want to address the situation about how I’m treated and our intimacy problem, but I’m afraid to.  I’m also feeling tempted sometimes by other people in my life who are around me at the gym and where I work, who are very nice and are giving me attention that I’m not getting at home and I’m afraid I might cave to the temptation and make a bigger mess.” 

What is this person and many others we have talked to really afraid of?  Rejection.

Some psychologists would tell you that fear of rejection is rooted in low self-esteem, and Julie and I would tell you that it is rooted in a low ‘God-esteem.’   To esteem God is “to regard highly or favorably; regard with respect or admiration” 

When we have a low view of God and/or are ignorant of His nature and promises, or do not believe His promises are for us personally we will fear rejection from people. 

We will avoid hard conversations because they are hard, and because it will require strength and courage to face the problem and the people or person that the problem is with.  In the situation above there are 2 fears that this person is struggling with:

  1. Fear of rejection…what if his/her spouse says ‘no’ to any intimacy and does not want to work on the marriage?  What will that mean?  As humans we get to choose what that means. Fearful vs. faith-filled people will define the meaning of rejection in very different terms.  How do you define rejection when it happens to you?  What meaning do you give when you feel rejected?

  2. Fear of succumbing to temptation…what if eventually I can no longer stay strong and I ‘cave’ to the temptation of other ‘offers’ for love, attention and intimacy?

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The first fear is based on this person’s belief that another human can determine his/her value instead of believing God that his/her worth is found in Him, not in the actions or opinions of others.

While the fact that being sexually deprived in a marriage does put you at risk for temptation to arise (see 1 Corinthians 7:5), the fear for this person is that he/she will eventually not be strong enough to continue to ward off sexual temptation which opposes the promise of God in 1 Corinthians 10:13 AMP that says: “No temptation [regardless of its source] has overtaken or enticed you that is not common to human experience [nor is any temptation unusual or beyond human resistance]; but God is faithful [to His word—He is compassionate and trustworthy], and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability [to resist], but along with the temptation He [has in the past and is now and] will [always] provide the way out as well, so that you will be able to endure it [without yielding, and will overcome temptation with joy].” 

As Julie and I have mentored people we have discovered that many believers are believing God will be true to His promises for others, but they struggle to believe that He will be true to His promises for them personally.  So if that is you today, perhaps this verse will be a great reminder that: 

“He who did not spare [even] His own Son, but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?”  Romans 8:32 AMP

Do your words and ‘stories’ you have told yourself reflect the truth in God’s Word above?

We encourage you to ask God to help you with your unbelief.  He desires for us all to possess and exhibit great faith in Him. Ask the tough questions, start the hard conversation and believe God to overcome the fear that is keeping you from transforming your life and relationships.  What are you waiting for?

If this post resonated with you and if you would like a free 20-min. consult with Julie and I to receive personalized tips on how to ask tough questions, or start the hard conversation and overcome your own fear, worry or anxiety click here.

Fearless in Him,

Jamie

Are you curious to know how much fear, worry and anxiety is impacting your life? Take our free quiz to learn how fearful, worried and anxious you really are?

After the Affair: Striving and Thriving in Jesus by Telie Sumner


“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!”
Isaiah 43:18
 
Many months after learning of my husband’s affair, the day I had feared for so long finally arrived. I rounded a corner at my workplace and ran right smack-dab into the other woman. It was a huge surprise to us both! I don’t remember either of us saying anything. All I could think about was getting back to my desk and picking up my Bible to see what God had to say. The Scripture above is exactly what He gave me, and I cannot tell you how many times I have repeated it to myself since that day!
            When I look back, it is so clear that for years God had been preparing me for the day I asked my husband about his affair. We were high school sweethearts, and on the eve of our 29th wedding anniversary I confronted him about it. Though we had spent most of our lives together, in that moment, with his cold, unremorseful response, he seemed like a total stranger. He said that he had been unhappy for a long time and was determined to leave our marriage. I was shattered and numb. But rather than dwell on what I could not change, God immediately spoke to my heart about what I needed to take ownership of in the demise of our marriage.
For example, God led me to address with a counselor a significant event from my childhood that I had stuffed deep down in my soul. Many of us are in bondage in ways that we are not even aware of. My husband was the only other person with whom I’d shared about this, but it was early in our marriage, at a time when people rarely addressed past woundedness. After so many years, God was bringing it up to the surface and opening the door to set me free!!! I also began to realize that in many ways I had prioritized parenting and busyness over my husband and our relationship. 😊
In the days and weeks that followed, I spent hours each day on my face seeking God, reading His Word, and allowing Him to breathe truth over me. Never in my life have I felt His presence so vividly as during this season. God became not just my Lord, but my husband, my counselor, my healer, and my precious Heavenly Father. He gave me unexplainable JOY in the midst of complete uncertainty. Whether or not my husband returned, I knew that God would take care of me.
Early on, God gave me Psalm 32:10, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you.” Each time I had a conversation with my husband I would leave knowing that it was God, not I, who had done the talking. God gave me the confidence to know that in spite of what Satan was trying to tell my husband, I knew him better than anyone on this earth! And even though he said he was “happy” with his new life, I knew he was headed to a place of deep misery. God was able to use me as His instrument, equipping me to act more as a friend and less as a wounded wife during this time. I was able to extend forgiveness and show him that no matter what happened, I was not going to live my life with bitterness towards him. As I began to pray on behalf of our marriage, God directed my attitude and demeanor in every conversation we had. Only through God’s grace was I able to communicate with him solely as someone who cared about helping him understand why he was in this situation. True surrender is not being a doormat and submitting in the wrong way but giving of ourselves in a way that allows others to know our true intent is for their good, no matter the outcome for us.
In God’s perfect timing, He worked in my husband’s heart and gave him the courage to end the other relationship. We spent the next year examining our marriage with a fine-tooth comb to expose many things that needed to be worked on. We changed the way we communicated, knowing that we were not each other’s enemy, but the ENEMY was our enemy. Instead of holding things in and allowing bitterness to grow, we learned how to feel safe sharing our deepest thoughts and concerns about our relationship. We changed our demeanor and tone of voice in ways that brought bonding rather than conflict. More than anything, God used physical intimacy, the very thing that Satan had used to try to destroy our marriage, to begin to heal our marriage. I completely surrendered to God this aspect of our relationship, though it meant stepping out of my comfort zone and learning how to love my husband better through sex. Through that surrender, God gave us a joy and completeness that far outweighs anything my husband could find in someone who was not his wife. What we have discovered exceeds all that we had in the first 29 years of our marriage.
            Even though I thought I was doing all the right things to make my husband feel loved and respected, I have learned that one important thing he needs from me is to love him behind closed doors with total freedom, just as God directs us in Song of Solomon. It has now been 13 years, and we can truly say that we would go through it all again to have what we have today. God continues to give us “a brand new thing” as we lean on Him through every stage of life, striving toward obedience to Christ and thriving in God’s love toward us. Our marriage is safe in His arms.

Written by Telie Sumner

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1 Reason You May Be Disappointed In Your Marriage, and What To Do About It

I’ll start by saying that there are many reasons that a person can have for being disappointed in their marriage.Today, I’m going to cover one reason that I have discovered can cause disappointment in your marriage and what you can do to find satisfaction.

Recently, I was talking with a friend who described her husband in this way,  “He is everything to me; I love him and he totally completes me. I don’t know what I would do without him. I have given up everything to be with him. Yet, I still feel very insecure, and I wish he would change his ways to make me feel more important.”  As she spoke I thought, “God longs for us to love Him so much that He is our “everything’”, the One Who completes us; the Person for Whom we would give up everything; and the One we cannot imagine living without.” When that is truly our heart toward God we will be freed from the unrealistic expectation that our spouses can ever fully satisfy our need for security and love that only God can provide.

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Stop expecting your spouse to fill every need to you have; he/she is NOT God.  God wants to “complete” us.  God created us with a space that only He can fill.  A human cannot “complete” us.  When we look to ANY human to fill our every need and desire we will be left disappointed.  We are not capable of being “everything” to anyone!  If we are not careful, we can put our spouse in the position of God in our lives, and expect more from him than he is able to give.  We must worship only the Creator, not the spouse he created.  Yes, we can deeply love our spouses, but it is a sin to make our spouses an idol in our lives which is what we do when we love and worship our spouses more than we do God.

God’s Word tells us:

Matthew 6:33

"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well."

Isaiah 44:6

“This is what the Lord says— Israel’s King and Redeemer, the Lord Almighty: I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God.”

Jeremiah 13:10

"These wicked people, who refuse to listen to my words, who follow the stubbornness of their hearts and go after other gods to serve and worship them, will be like this belt—completely useless!"

Romans 1:25

"They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen."

Deuteronomy 6:5

"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength."

Ask God to give you a heart that makes Him the first “love of your life!”  

We often want God to be OVER our marriage, when God wants to be IN our marriage.  Here’s a simple diagram to demonstrate the difference.

Do you look at God from a distance as being in “heaven” far away, hoping he’s looking “over” your marriage?

                                                        God

                                 Husband<——————->Wife

Or, have you invited Him to be where He longs to be, “in” and at the very center of your marriage?

                       Husband<—————>God<—————>Wife

Written by Jamie Shaver

Are you curious to know how much fear, worry and anxiety is impacting your life? Take our free quiz to learn how fearful, worried and anxious you really are?