When you’re dealing with what you consider problems in your marriage, it’s easy to sit back and think about all the ways in which your spouse needs to change. Undoubtedly, there are some things that you would like for your spouse to do differently. But what if the real key to change in your marriage has nothing to do with your spouse changing, and instead hinges on your willingness to change? You can change yourself and change your marriage.
Marriage is one of the most beautiful gifts that God has given us. Whether you’ve been married for decades, are still in the “honeymoon phase” of a young, blossoming marriage, are about to get married, or are still waiting for God to bring you your special someone, it’s important to understand the true beauty that marriage is. Within the relationship of a Godly marriage, God illustrated His love for His Church. That’s why the Bible calls the Church the “Bride of Christ” multiple times.
When we love our spouse with the type of love that God wants us to display, marriage can be a beautiful, generous, compassionate, completely committed relationship. However, marriage is never easy. The process of two people becoming “one flesh” the way the Bible describes is a growing, learning process. In order for that process to be complete, it’s necessary for you and your spouse to leave some habits behind and make some changes.
No, this doesn’t mean that you have to change to please your spouse. If you’re married to someone, it should be someone who loves you for you, not the version of you that they wish to create. However, there are some changes that you should want to see within yourself, especially if you want to see a change in your marriage.
When longing for a change in your marriage, it’s easy to think about all the ways that you wish your spouse would change. Maybe you want your husband to work fewer hours, or you want your wife to be more attentive. While it’s certainly a good idea to share those desires with your partner, it’s important to understand that the only change you can possibly create in your marriage is change within yourself. No matter how much you love your spouse, you can’t force him or her to change.
What would your marriage look like if you lived changed? Would there be fewer arguments? Would the excitement and romance that was the trademark of your relationship at the onset reemerge? Would your intimacy with your spouse be improved on multiple levels? The answer to all those questions is yes!
Today, you can make the commitment to make some changes within yourself so you can see a real change in your marriage. God is passionate about marriage; therefore the Holy Spirit will help you make the necessary changes to take your marriage to the next level.
The Shape of Marriage
Matthew 19:4-6 (TPT)
“Haven’t you read the Scriptures about creation?” Jesus replied. “The Creator made us male and female from the very beginning, and ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and live with his wife. And the two will become one flesh.’ From then on, they are no longer two, but united as one. So what God unites let no one divide!”
Have you ever heard it said that marriage is a 50/50 proposition? Under this concept, marriage requires each of you to give half in order to make a marriage that is 100% complete. While this idea probably comes from a place of pure intentions, that’s not actually God’s design for marriage. Instead, God wants both partners to give 100%. That means you do everything you can to make your marriage a happy one, to make your home a peaceful place, and to make yourself a place of refuge for your partner. If that sounds like you’re giving a lot, take note: it also means that your spouse is giving his or her 100% to reach the same goals.
If you could view marriage geometrically, it would be a triangle. But wait, isn’t your marriage just supposed to be between you and your spouse? Physically and emotionally, yes! But marriage is a spiritual concept designed and created by God to serve as an illustration of His love for us. Triangles have three angles, obviously. With that in mind, if you’re giving 100% to be your “part,” and your spouse is giving 100% to be his or her “angle,” where does the other angle come into play?
When you and your spouse are 100% committed to your marriage, you will see that God is also 100% committed to the union. The other part of your marriage triangle isn’t a person, it’s God! In order for a triangle to be a triangle, all three angles must be present. Your marriage works the same way. If you have been giving less than 100% in your marriage, let today be the day you make a change.
1 Peter 2:9 (TPT)
But you are God’s chosen treasure-priests who are kings, a spiritual “nation” set apart as God’s devoted ones. He called you out of darkness to experience his marvelous light, and now he claims you as his very own. He did this so that you would broadcast his glorious wonders throughout the world.
One of the most dangerous ideas floating around marriages today is that it is your job to serve as your spouse’s fulfillment, and his or her job to be yours. No matter how healthy your marriage is, you and your spouse cannot find your ultimate fulfillment in one another. This doesn’t mean that you don’t find your marriage fulfilling. Quite the contrary. Instead, it means that you understand that the only way you can find complete spiritual fulfillment through being a child of God.
God has chosen you and has set you apart. Yes, your spouse also chose you, and you have been set apart to be a contributor to that relationship. While you can find romantic, emotional, mental, and physical fulfillment from a healthy marriage, we understand that spiritual fulfillment is the most important.
Don’t treat your spouse as thought it’s his or her job to fulfill you spiritually. Also, don’t put yourself under the weight of serving as his or her ultimate fulfiller. Instead, meet the needs of your partner that you can meet, and trust God to serve as his or her spiritual fulfillment. Anything more than that is putting unwarranted pressure on both you and your partner.
Fighting for Control
1 Peter 5:8 (TPT)
Be well balanced and always alert, because your enemy, the devil, roams about incessantly, like a roaring lion looking for its prey to devour.
Finally, one of the best things you can do to change your marriage is go from a position of defense to one of offense. Do you want to know why Satan hates marriage? Because God created it and is passionate about it. Anything that is Godly in nature is in direct opposition to Satan. With that in mind, Satan is constantly roaming about looking for marriages that he can destroy. Instead of sitting back and waiting for him to make a run at your union, go on the offensive!
In Ephesians 6, Paul discussed the armor of God and explained how it’s important for every believer. As a married individual, it’s important that your marriage has the armor of God on it. Not only do the pieces of this armor protect against attacks, but the “sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God” serves as an offensive weapon that you can fend off Satanic attacks with.
Instead of handling problems in your marriage from a defensive place, choosing instead to react, go on the offense. If it looks like there is something that may become a problem, attack it early with the truth of God’s Word! Doing so allows you to commit your marriage to God and gives Him the ultimate control over your relationship.
A Closing Prayer:
Father, thank You for my spouse. Instead of asking You to change him/her, I’m asking You to help me change. Let me make changes within myself so I can change my marriage for Your glory. In Christ’s name, Amen.