Living the adult life can be a pressure cooker.
There are endless bills to pay.
There are enormous expectations from co-workers, clients, the boss, and the family.
We have unmet personal dreams and goals.
We experience loss of love and relationship due to death, disagreements, or stubbornness.
Do you currently feel this pressure in your life, in your marriage?
Check out Psalm 55, where David had many of the same feelings.
Psalm 55:11-17 Everything is falling apart; threats and cheating are rampant in the streets. 12 It is not an enemy who taunts me— I could bear that. It is not my foes who so arrogantly insult me— I could have hidden from them. 13 Instead, it is you—my equal, my companion and close friend. 14 What good fellowship we once enjoyed as we walked together to the house of God. 15 Let death stalk my enemies; let the grave swallow them alive, for evil makes its home within them. 16 But I will call on God, and the Lord will rescue me. 17 Morning, noon, and night I cry out in my distress, and the Lord hears my voice.
What do you do when your marriage is more about fighting than friendship?
3 Tips for getting back to FRIENDSHIP with your spouse.
Tip 1: Work on yourself and your growth first.
The Bible (and the airline industry) has a principle that we need to look to our own needs first before we help those around us.
Matthew 7:3-5 And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? 4 How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? 5 Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.
The Bible is clear; I must work on myself and my weakness (even sin) before I can address the shortcomings of my wife. I must have a personal growth mindset for my personal, relational, and professional life. I have several clients who have experienced GREAT growth in their marriage because of this principle. The client had EXTREME OWNERSHIP of their life before attempting to “fix” their spouse.
Tip 2: Be humble.
James 4:1, 9-10 What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you? 9Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.
What is the source of the fighting in your marriage? Chances are, you have a part in it. So be humble and ask God to reveal your role in the disagreement. Then be humble and confess. Confession means to tell the truth about myself. There is nothing more humbling than telling others the truth about myself (my weakness, sinfulness, brokenness, and selfishness).
James 5:16 Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.
The principles of James 4 and James 5 are clear. God will lift us up when we have a humble stance with Him and those we are in a relationship with.
Tip 3: (Re)Build your friendship.
Friends are for each other and are motivated by their love for each other to grow the relationship. Check your motivation for WHY you do what you do in your relationship with your spouse. Are you motivated by love for the other person, or is it about yourself and your personal gain?
Friends have shared experiences that build on each other.
Friends have open communication to talk about dreams, desires, likes, dislikes, thoughts, and feelings.
Friends bring new resources like love, acceptance, and feedback.
Where can you be a better friend with your spouse?
What sin or selfishness is holding you back from being the friend your spouse needs?
What will you do this week to be a better friend for your spouse?
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Cloud, Dr. Henry and Townsend, Dr. John (1999). Boundaries in marriage; Understanding the choices that make or break loving relationships. Zondervan Publishing.
Gottman, Dr. John (1999). The Seven Principles For Making Marriage Work. Harmony Publishing.