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Hope for Troubled Christian Marriages - 5 Tips for Stability and Sanity
Being a Christian does not insulate your marriage from times
of trouble. Like every other person walking around and breathing, Christian
relationships can be ransacked with the pain of infidelity, the cold distance
resulting from bitterness, and the loneliness of conflict. Here are 5 things
you can do to bring a sense of stability and sanity to a troubled Christian
1. Recognize there is a problem
As a counselor, I am always amazed at the energy that is
spent in denying the existence of a troubled relationship. Spouses - male and
female - will go to great lengths to avoid dealing with a problem. Problems
will be denied, overlooked, or even ignored in hopes that they will somehow
resolve themselves. Sadly, it does not happen, and couples find their
relationship in dire circumstances.
Couple Tip: Admit there is a problem. You do not necessarily
have to agree on the cause of the problem. Simply agreeing a problem exists can
cause a change in attitude.
2. "Quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to
James 1:19 reminds us to "Post this at all the
intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue,
and let anger straggle along in the rear." (The Message). Quick tempers
and a lack of listening to one another is a sure fire way to get into an
argument. James emphasizes the significance of listening over talking.
Couple Tip: Consider whether you are truly listening to your
spouse's need or are you interrupting so that you do not have to take any
3. Do not make a major life changing decisions regarding
When I counsel couples I am always interested in whether one
spouse has already spoken to a divorce attorney. This often tells me the depth
of their emotional pain. Hasty decisions can have permanent consequences.
Divorce can always take place. Reconciliation after divorce requires more work.
Couple Tip: If you feel like talking to a divorce attorney
then consider talking to a trusted friend about your motives. Are you making
your decision based on emotion?
If you do talk to an attorney, do not make any final decision for 60 - 90 days.
Emotions can be very volatile even for 30 days.
4. Support, support, support
Assuming you both desire to save your marriage, I encourage
you to find some likeminded fellow Christians that can walk with you during
this time. Many churches have marriage mentor programs, or a pastor to will
meet with you. Some of the best advice we received was even from older couples
that my husband and I sought out to talk with.
Couple Tip: Dare to ask for help. It is much easier to
isolate than to reach out. No one can help you if you do not ask for it.
5. Pray blessings for your spouse
Too often when we are in the midst of crisis, our prayers
remain self focused. If I shift my focus from wanting justification for my
behavior to blessings for my spouse then my attitude will become more peaceful.
Therefore, I am more amiable and approachable.
Couple Tip: Write down 15 things you are grateful for your
spouse for, and share the list with them either verbally or in a card or email.
6. Get some professional help.
Sometimes it is difficult to see the end of the tunnel when
we are in the middle of a storm. It is important to get some professional help,
especially if you feel like you are reaching a dead end or getting stuck in
that same old patterns.
Couple Tip: Find a local counselor that can help you work
through the issues of your marriage. Ask your pastor, or friends for a referral
of a qualified counselor.
Being a Christian does not guarantee your relationships will
be wrinkle free. However, God does promise to walk with us through these times,
and provide respite when we need it. (Psalm 23) and provide hope for troubled
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And they have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb and by
And they did not love their lives so much that they were afraid