So many couples talk about how hard marriage is, but marriage isn’t the issue. Marriage only reveals what’s already inside of us! The real issue is our desire to do things our way, when and how WE want.
Marriage is not hard. Selfishness is!
Marriage is God’s plan to help us see ourselves in the mirror of how we treat others. Without it, we tend to just become more self-centered and demanding, which ultimately shows up in every relationship.
Look at our culture, and you can see this so clearly! We need strong marriages and homes again to save America and the world from self-destruction. And children need the security and love that strong marriages bring.
When I look back at the beginning of Gary’s and my marriage, I know that marriage wasn’t hard… We were!
I’m personally grateful that although we sometimes still disagree, my husband and I have worked on a strong, rewarding relationship that has kept us from becoming hard. It’s tenderized the rough in us and brought out the good. We are better people with a better life because of our marriage to one another and commitment to God.
Here are two powerful strategies to resolving conflict in your marriage and walking in unity with your spouse!
1. Put Yourself in Their Shoes
“I can do things you cannot, you can do things I cannot; together we can do great things.”
My husband, Gary, loves to go deer hunting. At the beginning of our marriage, I resented that!
At the time, we were living in an old, broken-down farmhouse, and we had little kids running around. I thought, Why is he leaving me here to go hunting when there are so many things to get done?
Meanwhile, Gary had spent a week trying to provide for our family, and feeling the pressure of our finances weighing on him. He thought, I need a break. Why does she always have things for me to do when I want to go hunting?
This is a classic example of how the enemy divides us as a husband and wife! He wants you to focus on your needs, your issues, and your problems. He wants to pit you against each other instead of being in unity and working together against the enemy.
SELFISHNESS asks, How will this affect ME? but love asks, How will this affect THEM?
As long as the enemy can divide us, he can conquer our families.
Gary and I had to learn to understand each other. I knew hunting was important to him because God created men with the desire to provide for their families. And Gary had to learn to put our family and me first and recognize the times when I needed his support around the house.
When we learned to understand where the other person was coming from, we began to communicate better!
I stopped using, “you always, you never,” because those words stop communication. They’re not only judgmental words, but also they’re curses!
I also had to learn to be honest when I was upset about something rather than to harbor it. I’ve heard the expression that women are like volcanoes—they have to let off small eruptions or they explode!
2. Pray Together and for Each Other
“When life is rough, pray. When life is great, pray.”
Prayer. It only takes a few seconds, but it has the power to change the very course of our future. It’s our superpower in faith, but yet one of the easiest things to put on the back burner in our day.
I often find that the moments when we should pray the most, we often pray the least.
When we’re struggling to communicate with our spouse!
In those moments when we’re angry, upset, and tired of trying to communicate with our spouse, often the last thing we think about is praying for our spouse. We don’t want to talk to them, let alone pray for them!
Prayer has the power to change atmospheres, hearts, and minds—when we’re having a conflict with our spouse, that’s when we need prayer the most!
I love what Stormie Omartian wrote in her book The Power of a Praying® Wife:
“I Don’t Even Like Him—How Can I Pray for Him? Have you ever been so mad at your husband that the last thing you wanted to do was pray for him? So have I. It’s hard to pray for someone when you’re angry or he’s hurt you. But that’s exactly what God wants us to do. If He asks us to pray for our enemies, how much more should we be praying for the person with whom we have become one and are supposed to love? But how do we get past the unforgiveness and critical attitude? The first thing to do is be completely honest with God. In order to break down the walls in our hearts and smash the barriers that stop communication, we have to be totally up-front with the Lord about our feelings. We don’t have to “pretty it up” for Him. He already knows the truth. He just wants to see if we’re willing to admit it and confess it as disobedience to His ways.”
Praying FOR your spouse is one of the most important habits you can cultivate in your day. Praying WITH your spouse is one of the most important habits you can cultivate in your life!
As a husband and wife, you have to come to the place of unity. It may take some time and some work, but it’s worth it. Changes in your family are going to start from the head down—from you and your husband, from your marriage, and then to your children and family unit.
So let me ask you, how is your prayer life right now? Are you praying for your spouse daily? Are you praying with your spouse daily?
I encourage you to release God’s power and love into your marriage. Trust God and turn your situation over to Him. Please meditate on the words of this prayer. Pray them out loud and personally commit to uphold unity in your marriage:
Father, I thank You for my marriage and for my spouse. I thank You for unity even in hard times, and I pray that You bless our marriage. I come into agreement with my spouse, and I release Your power into our situation.
I thank You that we learn to love like You do and we communicate with understanding,
in Jesus’s name. Amen!