I know what you are thinking- I have way more than one thing I need to work on in my marriage. If you sat down and wrote out the number of problems in your marriage, it might be completely overwhelming to you.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve received emails from readers that are truly hurting in their marriages and are struggling with a number of issues.
It’s like the problems just seem to compound over the course of time. A problem is left unresolved and it festers. You can’t get your spouse to understand where you are coming from or what you need from them. Then the resentment sets in.
They didn’t fix the problem you needed them to and now you resent them for it.
As the resentment grows, you have less and less patience for things. Maybe you have always been frustrated that they never clean up the office or put the dishes in the sink when you want them on the counter. It’s a lot easier to overlook those annoyances when you are generally happy with them.
The problem comes in when you are not generally happy with your spouse. You’ve allowed resentment to fill your heart. Everything they do is bothersome to you, which leads to a lot of fighting and hurt feelings; in turn, leading to more fighting and more hurt feelings.
There is no way for you to fix all of the problems in your marriage today.
What you can do, is commit to changing one thing and sticking with it. What do I mean by this? Well, I’ll tell you what I don’t mean. What I don’t mean is that you go to your spouse and try to force them to change something. You can’t.
If you want something to change in your marriage, then you have to take a step to make the change you need to make, even if it is not reciprocated by your spouse. I hear you, “It’s not fair that I have to be the one to make the change. They did ______”.
Oh- I know it’s not fair. Life is not fair. You don’t want life to be fair my friend.
If life was fair, God wouldn’t have sent Jesus to die on the cross for our sins so that we can have a relationship with Him. That’s the biggest injustice that has ever taken place, and let me tell you something, I’m thankful.
I don’t know what changes you need to make in your behavior and mindset. This is where you will need to take a look internally.
Maybe you need to-
Overlook something they do that annoys you.
Be nice to them, even during a fight.
Stop doing the thing that you know hurts them.
Forgive them of something.
Change your negative attitude about them into a positive one.
Be physically affectionate, even when you don’t feel like it.
Pick one thing. Just one.
Then, do it no matter what. It doesn’t matter if your spouse makes any changes or efforts. You do what you know is right, no matter the circumstances.
I’m not going to pretend that it isn’t hard to make a change, especially if your spouse isn’t doing what you think they should do. It’s really easy to think that you are the one doing all of the work and they aren’t doing anything. Truthfully, you have no idea what is going on in their heart.
Instead of worrying about all the things they are not doing, just worry about yourself and what you are not doing. Figure out how you can more like Christ everyday.
In your efforts to make changes, I encourage you to pray for a heart change in yourself. Don’t allow yourself to resent your spouse more, because you are making changes and you think they are not. Pray that God will humble you.
Keelie is a mother of three amazing boys and married to her high school sweetheart, Austin. She spends her days running R5 Website Management, taking care of the home, and investing in her children. In her spare time, she loves to encourage married couples to grow deeper in their relationship and find joy in their marriage.