Feb 272013 19 Responses

How To Stay Married in the Tough Times

Marriage must be about something bigger than you.

If it’s primarily about your happiness, your satisfaction, your well-being, and your contentment, a time will quickly come in which you aren’t happy, satisfied, well, or content. In those moments, what keeps you married? Even if you stay married, what motivates you to do something about the state of your marriage?

Marriage is about the transformation of our hearts to be more like God. This is our pursuit.

Happiness, satisfaction, emotional well-being, and contentment are all by-products of a healthy marriage. They are second results, not the main pursuit. The primary focus of a marriage should be becoming more like God. The Beatitudes would say, “blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.”

It is our desire for God, more than our desire for our spouse, which should keep us married in the tough times.

Marriage is about a joint pursuit after the heart of God. Few things can assist us in experiencing the character of God as much as marriage.

Marriage reveals our sinfulness. Marriage and parenting are the two avenues in which God most often reveals my sinful heart. I never knew the depths of my selfishness, pettiness, or crankiness until I got married. I’ve always known I’ve needed to change, but marriage reveals how much change is needed. It also has shown me my desperate need for grace. I don’t need just a little forgiveness; I need a level of forgiveness I could never earn.

Marriage reveals our sinfulness in the safety of covenant love. Marriage reveals the depth of our depravity, but it does so in the safest of environments. It is only after we say, “I do, forever,” that we truly begin to see who we have married. If the revelations came before the promises, the promises might never be made. While I’m tempted to hide every fault and flaw, the safety which is found in a committed relationship allows me to reveal my sinfulness knowing I won’t be rejected by my spouse. We expect one another to discover sinful mindsets and behaviors. Instead of hiding them, we expose them in order to let God transform those areas of our lives. Without the security of covenant love, it would be impossible to have the courage of revealing who I really am. (See: The Most Important Marriage Advice I Could Ever Give)

Marriage provides accountability to change. Because we are both pursuing righteousness, marriage gives me the freedom to reveal my true nature, but it does not provide the liberty for me to continue in my sinfulness. If I don’t change, she knows it. If I’m continuing in a behavior, she has the right and the responsibility to call me on it. Transformation rarely happens alone. Marriage provides an automatic accountability partner as we both spur each other on to good works.

I’ve been a pastor for over a decade and during that time I’ve seen a lot of couples go through difficult times. Many do not make it, but some do. There is a common characteristic among most of the marriages which make it—both people are willing to work on themselves and the marriage. When one quits or will only focus on the other person changing, the marriage fails. Yet when both are open to work and change, the marriage normally makes it. (See: 5 Keys to Save Your Marriage)

When we see marriage as an avenue in which God is transforming our hearts to be like his, we will see every challenge in marriage through a different lens. We will see them as opportunities to learn about ourselves, about God, and about what changes we need to make to become more like him. We will see them as opportunities to receive God’s grace and to give that grace to others.

Have you ever considered marriage as a primary avenue God will use to change your heart?

19 Responses to How To Stay Married in the Tough Times
  1. […] We can have a marriage about something more than just ourselves. […]... kevinathompson.com/do-not-redefine-marriage
  2. […] Divorce is a violation of God’s commands. With very few exceptions, God forbids divorce. He do... kevinathompson.com/divorce
  3. Cheryl Maxwell Reply

    This Is All So True, Kevin! I Believe That God Uses Marital Difficulties To Change Our Hearts As Well As To Help Make Us A Better Spouse. You Definitely Hit The Nail On The Head With This Entire Article!

  4. […] Marriage should be easy. If someone was created just for me, we should then fit together like a perf... kevinathompson.com/happy-valentines-day-youre-not-my-soul-mate
  5. […] That shouldn’t be the bar to which we compare our actions within marriage. The goal should be ... kevinathompson.com/lowest-bar
  6. […] Physically they spend time with each other each day, but emotionally, spiritually, and relationally,... kevinathompson.com/wonder-dont-love
  7. […] This is especially true in marriage. (See: How to Stay Married in the Tough Times) […]... kevinathompson.com/every-couple-needs-couple
  8. […] Pursue something greater than yourself (or your marriage). When marriage is submitted to a higher p... kevinathompson.com/the-task-of-marriage-conflict-resolution
  9. […] Seek relationships with others who are in healthy marriages. In the same way that divorce is contagi... kevinathompson.com/divorce-contagious
  10. […] Consider what tomorrow holds for your marriage. If you will be married for the next forty years, are... kevinathompson.com/long-haul
  11. […] El matrimonio debe ser fácil. Si alguien fue creado sólo para mí, entonces debemos encajar como u... revistasud.com/2015/02/09/dia-de-san-valentin-feliz-tu-no-eres-mi-alma-gemela
  12. […] Having a child with special needs is a unique scenario for couples. Few people every imagine the po... kevinathompson.com/does-having-a-child-with-down-syndrome-make-marriage-tougher
  13. […] Physically they spend time with each other each day, but emotionally, spiritually, and relationally,... fairfieldcountymarriages.com/no-wonder-you-dont-love-each-other
  14. […] Far too often when a husband runs from his responsibility, the wife chases him. Terrified of what sh... kevinathompson.com/if-your-dog-or-husband-runs-dont-chase-him
  15. tiffany Reply

    what if i am only married by the court?.. Will God still help me save my marriage?

  16. […] Whenever I look at that ring, I’m reminded that I come from a legacy of love. What my wife and... kevinathompson.com/two-rings
  17. get your ex back Reply

    Hi there friends, how is the whole thing, and what you desire to say regarding this
    piece of writing, in my view its truly awesome for me.

  18. […] How To Stay Married In the Tough Times […]... kevinathompson.com/you-arent-the-perfect-couple

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Please enter your name, email and a comment.