Wednesday, 22 September 2010

So You Want Your Marriage to Get Better?

I would love to win the Pennsylvania lottery but I never buy a ticket. And your response to me is “Dah” or something equally as insightful. Well I see many couples who want their marriage to be better than it is but aren’t willing to do what it takes to make it better. Now I ask you, does that make any more sense than my desire to win the lottery?

In many cases when a couple comes for counseling one member of the couple, if not both, come begrudgingly. Some come to get their ticket punched, i.e. they can say that they tried counseling but it didn’t work. In the vast majority of cases one of the partners is coming so that the counselor can change their spouse. Occasionally a counselor will be blessed with a couple who is willing to make the changes necessary to significantly improve the quality of their marriage.

In my opinion improving one’s marriage starts with individual’s relationship with God. Most problems in marriage stem from “problems of the heart” and God is the only one who can change a person’s heart. All too often it seems as though God is an appendage to one’s life, an afterthought. Real change occurs when God is placed at the center of one’s life /marriage. When God remains on the periphery of one’s life He has little influence, it is still about the kingdom of me. When God is the primary influence I am more apt to ask “What would God want me to do in this situation?”, and that will change the outcome dramatically.

You see when God is in first place in your life then it is easier to “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit but in humility consider others better than yourself. Each of you should not only look to your own interests but also the interest of others.” (Phil. 2:3-4) As long as the kingdom of me is still in charge it will negatively impact every relationship. Once we surrender our hearts to God and ask Him to help us to change those things about us that grieve him, then we are on our way.

How do you know you have surrendered to God? You have a desire to read and memorize his Word. You begin to read other Christian books like Crazy Love by Francis Chan. You come to church to worship God and be fed, not because it is just the right thing to do. You get involved in a study group and/or an accountability group. You begin to pray every day. And you reflect the love of Jesus to those you live with and those who you meet on the street.

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