Today’s devotional is written by Lori Steinkamp Lassen. She is our only daughter, who has been married to her husband, Scott for 27 years. Lori is the mother of four children, and has worked with the ministry for many years. May her devotional deepen your spiritual walk with the Lord. – Charlyne
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. Philippians 2:3-4
You may be in a season in your marriage where you wonder if there is hope for survival. You may look at your spouse and not even recognize the person you married. I want to be honest with you today and then fill you with hope.
You are going to face struggles in your marriage.
Even the best marriage will have seasons of hardship. The Bible even tells us that in 1 Corinthians 7:28, where it says, “those who marry will face many trials in this life.” Do not despair! I want you to realize that marriage will take work and then be committed to doing the work to have a loving and God-honoring marriage. It is possible.
My parents (and the founders of this ministry) would soon be celebrating the 36th anniversary of their remarriage. My dad passed away several years ago. Like many, they faced hardship in their marriage. But my dad left instead of coming together and resolving to figure out their differences. He left home 18 times in just 19 years of marriage. Things got tough, and he packed a bag instead of working on the problems.
My mom had finally decided enough was enough, and she divorced him with the encouragement of our Pastor, her friends, and a counselor. They all agreed that there was no hope for the marriage. The only problem was that she never asked God what He thought of their marriage.
Several months after the divorce, my mom heard a couple share their testimony of marriage restoration, and she knew she had made a mistake. You can listen to their full testimony on our Fight for Your Marriage Podcast, but let me share the good news. More than two years after the divorce, on July 7, 1987, they stood in the same Pastor’s office and remarried each other.
We have seen countless other couples experience the same joy and healing after surrendering their marriage to Jesus and asking Him to do new work in their lives. I want you to understand now that there is hope for your marriage.
While we can all agree that marriage takes work, it shouldn’t be filled with anger and rage. Yes, marriage will have conflict, but fighting is not normal. Don’t normalize that level of anger in your marriage. When you face struggles, you must be willing to work hard to get to a healthy place.
Get to the root of the problem –
If you are snapping at your spouse because the garbage wasn’t taken out or a bill wasn’t paid, it is usually not about the surface issue. There is an underlying issue that has been stuffed down. When you are working on your marriage, be willing, to be honest about the frustration you are facing. Nothing will be resolved until you get to the root of the problem.
Be honest –
Getting to that root means you must be honest and accept honesty from your spouse. Don’t expect your spouse to be a mind-reader and instinctively know what is bothering you.
Find a loving way to communicate your frustrations. Find a good time. You may even need to schedule a time to talk about the issue.
Being honest also means that when your spouse is honest with you, there should be a consideration about their feelings, and it must go both ways.
Fight fair –
It is possible to have a marriage that doesn’t revolve around fighting. Tension in marriage is inevitable, but fighting doesn’t have to happen, and there doesn’t have to be raised voices and anger. Make a plan so you both know how to handle tension. If you or your spouse have a temper, discuss ways to approach tension so it doesn’t escalate.
If fighting is an issue in your marriage, agree to have a cooling-off time before discussing the root problem. Make those plans ahead of time so that when the issue arises, you both know how you will handle things.
You can avoid the heartache my parents went through by finding ways to strengthen your marriage little by little. God can be glorified through your marriage.
So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31
If your marriage is at a place where there is deep-rooted anger or sinful actions such as abuse or infidelity, I want to encourage you to get outside help. Christian counseling is a great place to start. Having someone who can guide you to a place of safety and healing in your family is helpful. It is possible to heal, and the testimony of our family is proof of that.
There is hope for your marriage because of Jesus Christ!
You can search the American Association of Christian Counselors if you need to find a counselor in your area.