Since marriage is a dynamic interpersonal relationship some people struggle with the growth and change process that it brings. Here are some key issues to keep in mind as you make your marriage better.
Change and Comfort Zones
In order for your marriage to get better things are going to have to change. Did you see that word? I said “Change!” And change involves you being moved out of your comfort zone.
It’s all well and good to say you want things to be “better”, but better also means “different“. When things become different, even if the different is “better”, there will be a process of “change”. That will mean your comfort zone will be disrupted.
So, are you really ready for the change process?
The Demanding Wife
I have helped a number of couples whose relationship has been strained by the demands of the wife. A demanding wife often sees the weaknesses and failings in her husband and wants him to change. What happens at times, however, is that the changes upset the wife who is demanding them!
What some wives fail to understand is that if their husband was to become more responsible, more involved in things, more proactive, and all that, then he will displace the position which she currently occupies. That means her own responsibilities, behaviours, thought processes and personal meaning will all be challenged.
I have had to deal with situations where the wife has been upset about her husband changing, even when he became the person she wanted him to be.
The Unsettled Husband
Similarly I have seen husbands become unsettled when their wife changes her attitudes and behaviours. Even though those changes may be for the better, they can upset the husband’s comfort zone. Some men resent their wife changing in ways that put added responsibility onto them.
The change process impacts both husbands and wives and so I need to share with you two key principles which will guide you through that process of making your marriage better.
You Will Be Uncomfortable
Face this fact – You will be Uncomfortable! Change brings challenge. Change your job, your home or your lifestyle and see if you don’t find yourself challenged in the process.
So, uncomfortable is not bad. It is a sign that you are undergoing change. Don’t fight it or resent it. Recognise it and deal with it. Face up to it. This is a necessary part of the readjustment process.
In order for a man to rise to the levels of responsibility and authority which his wife wants him to attain the existing relationship will be left behind and new ways of relating will replace it. But even the new will be temporary, as the couple moves toward an even better balance.
Both husband and wife will face moments of discomfort, uncertainty and unfamiliarity as your marriage moves through change. But change is your necessary pathway to “better”, so don’t fight it or resent it.
As you navigate through the uncertainties and discomfort of the change process there are two keys which will support you on the way through. Remember that change can take time and you may be in various stages of uncertainty for many months or even over several years.
Key number one is to Fear God. Key number two is to Trust God.
The Fear of God
When you feel uncomfortable the worst thing you can do is to be out of order. If you react with anger, resentment, bitterness or the like you will damage your marriage. But when people feel challenged by change they can instinctively fall into such things.
I have seen husbands and wives argue, fight and damage each other, as they throw accusations, make justifications, and struggle with the uncertainties of the change process.
That’s why I so strongly advocate that you fear God. If you fear God you will bring your own actions into check, even if your spouse is out of order. You will think and do the right things, rather than giving in to your baser instincts. Instead of jealousy, anger, frustration, accusation or the like, you can respond by being the husband or wife the Bible instructs you to be.
And you will not justify your wrong behaviour on the basis of your spouse doing or saying the wrong thing. You will know that you do not have an excuse for any wrong behaviour, words or attitudes on your part, even though your spouse is out of order.
Faith in God
Faith in God, or trusting God is also needed. This is where you realise that God has everything under control, even though you don’t. It is the confidence that God is going to bring you through to a glorious outcome, even though things don’t look too good at the moment.
Faith keeps you moving forward, instead of pulling back and giving up on the marriage. Faith keeps you hopeful and prompts you to make new investments in your relationship, confident in a good harvest in the future.
Make Your Marriage Better
Armed with Fear of God and Faith in God you have nothing to worry about in moving out of your comfort zone and into the better place that your marriage is meant to move to. Don’t be afraid of change, and don’t be afraid of the future.
Put your trust in God. Ask Him to work on you and your spouse, so you can build a new and better level of relationship. Learn what a godly marriage looks like and determine to achieve that in your own life.
With God on your side, and with you determined to fear God and to trust Him, you are now ready to Make your Marriage Better than it has ever been.