My wife and I went to see the Christian movie, War Room, recently produced by the Kendrick Brothers. It is about the battle that ensues over a troubled marriage. Whether you consider yourself a Christian or not, there are a number of key lessons to learn for your marriage to succeed. Here are six:
1. Be prepared for conflict: when you get married you are entering into a war zone.
Before long, one or the other of you will hurt or disappoint the other, and conflict will occur. In time you may also experience conflict between you and your in-laws; between you and your children; and potentially between you and those outside your marriage who don’t care if your marriage survives or not. If the Ashley Madison scandal proves anything, it reveals that there are many people who are looking to have an extra-marital affair with someone else who is married. Learn to work through conflict.
2. We need a force outside of ourselves to fight for us and bring about change.
Often when I am mad I am aware that I WANT to be mad. It’s not a good thing—I know—but I don’t want to let go of what I am mad about. It takes a force outside of me to bring me to that point. Sometimes it is a new perspective, sometimes a revelation, sometimes a strong conviction. Whether it is one or all three, it comes from outside myself. It is from God. I need God to change me, to change my spouse, and to change our marriage for good.
3. The growth of any marriage can start with just one person.
Determine to fight for your marriage not against it. (Tweet this!) Take a long hard look at you and begin there.
Remember, though you may feel alone, you are never alone. You don’t have to wait for your partner to get on board. YOU can start now, today. Much restoration and growth can take place if even one party is willing to begin with self examination. Ask God, ask others, and even ask your spouse what needs to change in you, to become a better husband or wife. And pray hard for you both!!
4. Happiness is not found in another marriage.
At some point in the battle, you may be tempted to throw out the white flag and go elsewhere. Don’t. Get help. Call for reinforcements. Even retreat when necessary. But don’t quit. Another marriage may look good, but it won’t be without its conflict. Far better to learn now what it takes to win your present battles.
5. The lateral damage divorce has on children is more than you can even imagine.
When it comes to children, I often hear couples who are considering divorce say things like: “they are resilient. It may be hard on them, but they will get through it okay.”
It is a myth.
Research on the impact of children growing up in divorced homes clearly points to the opposite.
Elizabeth Marquardt – herself a child of divorce – author of Between Two Worlds, lists a few descriptions of her experience and that of others:
“…she looks back with deep sorrow on a difficult childhood and a bewildering adolescence.” p. xi
“…the proportion of emotionally troubled adults is around three times as great among those whose parents divorced as among those from intact families…” p. xx
“…I missed my mother and father terribly when I was separated from one of them – and I was always separated from one of them.” p. 8
Divorce has serious long term negative affects on children. If you are considering divorce please do everything possible to get help now!
6. We all know people struggling in their marriage. Don’t let them struggle alone. Muster the courage and love them enough to get involved.
- Ask them if they have sought counseling. Be ready to recommend someone in your church or community they can go to.**
- Offer to watch their kids when they go for counseling.
- Pay their way to a marriage conference.
- Suggest good resources on marriage.
- Offer to pray for them and really do it!
- Let them know you care.
** People ask me if I am still taking clients. I am. I also know many others in our community who can help.