Even the best of marriages are challenging and can be difficult. Many couples were not modeled positive ways to communicate with their partners. We see couples that struggle with communication, getting their needs met and identifying their partners needs, as well as more difficult couples who struggle with addictions, infidelity, or abuse. I always find myself breathing a sigh of relief when couples come in and reveal to me they have faith. I feel relieved because I feel like we have a positive resource to now draw upon. Having faith provides you with so much more than couples that don’t believe in God. Why?
- You have a manual. Many people feel the Bible is just a book of shoulds and shouldn’ts, trying to take the fun out of life. Or it’s a book of old stories irrelevant to our lives today. I see it as a manual to go to find the answers that God provides for us to live our best life. I see it as a resource full of stories that if you look deep enough are relevant to life today. The circumstances may be different. We may not be facing a real nine-foot giant but don’t we face giants everyday? The Bible is a resource for couples to use to teach us how to love and how to treat each other.
- Prayer: You’ve heard the saying, “The family that prays together stays together”. I believe that’s true for couples as well. In addition to praying regularly together, I encourage couples to pray before they know they are going to have a heated conversation. Have you ever tried to pray with your partner while you are upset or angry with them? There is something very humbling about going before God with your partner. It seems to naturally diffuse the issues so you can actually hear what your partner is saying. It also helps us to learn to listen to God about what He is trying to tell us about what WE need to change rather than focusing on changing our partner.
- Support: I know many people struggle with organized religion. People have had various issues that may have hurt them that prevent them from going to church regularly. However, if this is you, as it once was me, I encourage you to continue trying until you find the right church. People are people and we all make mistakes. Church can be a wonderful support to a marriage. Most churches offer so many classes, groups, and activities that encourage growth and positive interaction with other couples struggling thru many of the same issues. If you surround yourself with negative, critical, unhappy couples, sooner or later you will start feeling the same. By surrounding yourselves with positive people you will feel more positive about your relationship. Accountability is also an excellent reason to form relationships thru your church. You are less likely to fail if you have a group to cheer you on and ask you what’s going on.
- Strength: Faith offers strength. Those of you that have been thru the storm know what I mean. God can give you strength in your relationship that you never dreamed. I have seen relationships that have recovered that I KNOW were miracles. It was God’s strength that gave the couples the ability to hang in there. Nothing more.
- HOPE: God offers us all hope. Hope for strength. Hope that we will one day all be perfect in Christ. Hope for forgiveness and grace. Hope that God can make a way when there seems there is no way.
Many people I see have issues with God. They may have had a horrible childhood so they see God as a parent that is abusive, critical, or neglectful. Many clients once believed in God but because of what they see in this painful world they have difficulty understanding why God would allow such evil. I am asked question after question and told story after story of how someone’s faith in someone else turned him or her against God. If you are someone who struggles with your marriage and your faith, seek someone out to help you sort thru it. A pastor, spiritual mentor, or a faith based counselor can help you sort thru your issues. You will be amazed by the healing that can happen in your life and in your relationship; it’s worth the risk to believe and get help from the Healer of us all.