We all have a tough time in our relationship or marriage at some point in our life. It takes time and patience getting to know someone, learning their likes and dislikes and living in close quarters. Communication, compromise and forgiveness are three things every couple should practice.
When selfishness does not yield to what is good for the marriage, problems arise.
Advice on how to love a difficult spouse
I get asked this question often: How do you love a difficult spouse? The truth is, if we take an honest look at ourselves, we are all difficult in one or two areas. We just don’t realize it because, well – we don’t have to deal with ourselves.
If we could just have everything exactly the way we wanted it in this world, or at least in our little world, things would be perfect, right?
We would be miserable. And we would never grow into the people God wants us to be. That’s why he gifted us with the spouses we have.
Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. Genesis 2:22
Did you know – your spouse is a gift from God chosen just for you?
Don’t speed by this during your quiet time while reading. After creating Eve from the rib of man, God brought Eve to Adam and presented her to him.
“That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.” Genesis 2:24
This is the first marriage. Just as God designed a suitable helper for Adam, He also designed a suitable helper for you.
Think about this for a moment? You and your spouse both have a unique set of gifts. God has brought you together for a reason. Your gifts fill a need your spouse lacks, just as your spouse’s gifts fill a need you lack.
You may also be surprised to know that your spouse’s greatest gifts and weaknesses will also be your greatest challenge. You were brought together to carry each other’s load; to make each other stronger; to grow in each other’s strengths and weaknesses; to learn from each other; to become a well-oiled machine.
But you must work together.
When you refuse to work together, when you reject your spouse; when you disrespect your spouse or treat them in a less than loving way, it’s like saying to God, “I don’t want your gift. I think I can do better for myself, God”
So how do we achieve a God-centered marriage with a difficult spouse?
We need a heart change.
Oftentimes in marriage we grow weary when we make a positive change and our spouse doesn’t immediately notice it. We have taken that first step toward them, and we want results. When we don’t see that they have noticed, or that they have also taken steps to change (or let’s be honest, the steps we think they should take), we grow more angry, more impatient, and things get worse.
We want to be in control of their changes, instead of letting God be in control of their changes.
We need to remember that God works on different people at different times and in different ways.
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” Matthew 7:1-5
Here 6 Steps to love a difficult spouse and have a God-centered marriage:
1. Take an honest look at your own behavior and your own actions. We are responsible for our own walk with Christ. We can’t be in control of someone else’s walk. That is between them and God. Let go and trust God to work in your spouse’s life. (no more suggestions, nagging, leaving behind hints, arguments, etc. focus 100% on you.)
2. Ask God to reveal the changes you need to make to become a God-centered spouse. Begin to read scripture and ask God to show you what you need to learn. You may be surprised what He shows you. Start to work on these things as they are revealed to you. Become the kind of spouse you would want to be married to. Model this to your spouse. Don’t speak it.
3. Pray for your spouse. Be specific. Ask God to love your spouse through you. That way, if/when you are disappointed by something that wasn’t said or done, let God take over the action of loving.
4. Serve God, not your spouse when doing your daily tasks and going about your life. Do everything with joy and thanksgiving. This is especially helpful when it comes time to do things that may not be your favorite. How much easier would it be to do them with a joyful heart if you were serving God? In all things, God is the ultimate Creator. He is the One we need to please. Your spouse will see that no matter what their behavior or mood, it will not dampen your outlook on life or your marriage. You may be surprised how contagious joy can be.
5. Pray with your spouse if they are open to it. Nothing helps a marriage more by a couple praying together. You will find that it opens the door to communication and intimacy.
6. Your value comes from Christ, not in what you do, in who people say you are or in what people label you. You are created in the image of God. Never forget this. Your body is a temple (Corinthians 6:19-20). The Holy Spirit dwells in this temple from the moment you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior. Everything you put into this body, and everything you do with this body is also done with The Holy Spirit.
The next time you find yourself loving a difficult spouse, remember this: Your spouse is a gift from God. Think about why He brought the two of you together. Begin to serve God in your marriage and pray for guidance. You will be on your way to living a God-centered marriage.
Please note: if you are in a physically or emotionally abusive relationship, you should find a safe place and seek help from a professional.
Keep the Faith,
I’m linking up here today.