Has your once joyful marriage become filled with constant bickering, miscommunication and hurt feelings? Have you started sleeping in separate rooms? Have the times you are physically or emotionally intimate become less frequent and/or enjoyable? Feeling alone and lonely even when you're together? Because of this, have you and your spouse come to a crossroads in your relationship? Considering separation, or divorce, just to stop the pain and conflict?
Well, you're not alone. So many couples are right where you are. Stuck, scared and unsure what to do to change things. You've tried everything you can think of and nothing seems to be working. It's not supposed to be this hard right? So often, what starts out as such a strong relationship can quickly be overwhelmed by everyday pressures. Financial problems, kids, issues about extended family... So where do you go from here? Here are 5 tips to get you moving away from the crossroads and onto the right track together.
- Take a moment to Pray. Not for your relationship, or your spouse, but for yourself. Use God's word to speak into your life. Recite Psalm 51:10, "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew in me a right spirit." Why you ask? When we seek God's involvement in our lives, we first need to address any issues we may have personally. If we are struggling with unforgiveness, bitterness, resentment, even if we feel justified, can keep God from moving. He calls us to forgive, to be love & His light, so asking God to cleanse your heart & renew your spirit first allows Him to correct you, heal you and act on your behalf. Seek God's wisdom. Pray then for understanding and guidance and that His will be done. Doing so gives Him control and takes the burden off of you. Allow Him to make you carefree and remove this from you.
- Emotions are not based on facts! Stop reacting and responding to emotions in the moment. They change constantly and are unreliable. How many times have you reacted in anger then regretted it? Or were hurt over someone's words only to realize that it was just a miscommunication? Allow your initial emotions to subside and instead Choose to allow your spirit to guide you. The Holy Spirit does not consider your ever changing emotions but instead connects you to God's will, which is always consistent.
- Be still. So often when we are upset, scared, or hurt we make huge and often rash decisions. We decide to move, quit our jobs, cheat in our relationships, get a divorce, etc. This often leads to unintended consequences and regret that we cannot undo. Being still creates an environment where you can hear God's voice and He can direct your path, so your decisions are well thought out and your heart is at peace. Say it with me, Peace. That's what you really want right!?
- Be open. Conflict, especially problems that have caused pain in a relationship, can lead us to close off our hearts and our minds to our partner. It becomes increasingly hard to hear their point of view, consider their emotions, or any alternative outcomes. We become isolated and angry in our relationship which can take things from bad to worse. Opening yourself up allows God a place to enter your heart, begin to heal your wounds, return love and forgiveness into your relationship. It creates an opportunity for you to receive all that God has for you.
- Get help when you need it. Sometimes the most difficult thing to do as a couple is to seek professional support and help. We feel ashamed and like “we should be able to do this”… “Nobody needs to be in our business.” We will go to friends and family, but struggle with seeking help even from our spiritual leaders. Seeking spiritual support and guidance is key to a Christian couple. Nowadays, marriage has become like a fast food drive through where you get in quick and if you don’t like it you send it back immediately… This is not how God originally designed it. Knowing and understanding God’s first intention and what He expects of you as husband and wife can positively impact your relationship. Your “hopeless situation” can change with the right support.
Coming to a crossroads in your relationship is overwhelming and can seem hopeless, but if you use the suggested tips prior to making any major decisions, you can find yourselves together again, on the road God designed for you. The hardest thing to do is to admit that we’ve navigated away from one another, but once that’s done, all it takes is using the skills and support that God already provides. God doesn’t want you unhappy in your relationship, He wants to restore, renew and rebuild it into what He originally designed. So, be open, let your Spirit lead and seek help.