Marriage.com addressed 25 common marriage problems, each of which creates pain in marriage. Here are nine of them. I think you’ll resonate with them.
- Selfish Behavior – Do your desires, opinions, ambitions, hobbies, and more get in the way of your marriage?
- Communication Problems – Do you really listen to your spouse? Are you committed to understanding them? Do you realize that others including your spouse may not understand what you’re feeling or trying to say? Communication is tough for everyone.
- Keeping Score – Do you see your spouse as your opponent? She did this, so I get to do this. He said this, so I get to say this. Maybe you’re trying to win, and marriage isn’t a contest.
- Technology and social media – What if your phone is getting more of your attention than your spouse? What if social media is more enticing and exciting than your spouse? That would be sad. Know the dangers of technology.
- Sexual Differences – Your sexual preferences are probably different than your spouse’s, which is probably, to some extent, the source of hurt, insecurity, and anger in your marriage.
- Traumatic Situations – Maybe you and your spouse struggle to know how to respond to very difficult situations, and you find yourselves not knowing what to do.
- Stress – Stress can come from various angles, and couples often don’t handle stress effectively; it shows in their marriage. How you handle stress affects your spouse.
- Trying to change each other – Do you accept your spouse as they are? Of course, Christian couples should encourage one another in sanctification and spiritual growth, but that’s different than trying to change them. What would happen if you learned how to better appreciate your spouse for who they are?
- Lack of appreciation – Thankfulness to God for your spouse and appreciation of who they are and what they contribute to the marriage is among the biggest protections. Think more about how you are a blessing to your spouse than your spouse is a blessing to you, and you’re likely to become a very ungrateful spouse.
Do you resonate with these difficulties? My guess is that you do. I certainly do. Do you believe God cares about how you and your spouse struggle through these difficulties? Do you believe God can help you? You may quickly say yes because that’s the right thing for Christians to say. But do you really believe God cares about your marriage and helping you? It’s easy to doubt, and maybe your subtle doubt ends up manifesting in your thoughts, feelings, words, and attitude toward your spouse. I believe your confidence in God will grow the more you know God. Who is God, what is He like, and how exactly does He love you? The more you understand these answers the better spouse you will be.
Have you ever thought about how Trinitarianism can help your marriage? I’ll admit, I don’t often think about this. But we should think about this. The Apostles’ Creed is a Trinitarian creed that can help your marriage. Its structure is Trinitarian. Heidelberg 24 says:
How are these articles divided? Into three parts: the first is about God the Father and our creation; the second about God the Son and our redemption; the third about God the Holy Spirit and our sanctification.
Think about how each Person of the Trinity relates to your marriage. The Father created you, your spouse, and your marriage. That’s profound and worth thinking about. The Son redeemed you from your sin and misery. That’s huge! The gospel is your strength, comfort, and hope in marriage. The Holy Spirit is a precious gift to you. He dwells in you as a married person. His role is to change you from the inside out and to conform you to the image of Christ, which by the way, makes you a spouse more like Jesus the perfect spouse (Matt. 25:1ff; Jn. 3:29; Eph. 5:22ff). The Father, the Son, and the Spirit, and creation, redemption, and sanctification, all relate directly to your marriage. Your calling is to understand how better and better.
I have one Biblical truth that I’d like to drive home today. It’s simple, but it’s also quite profound. Here’s the point: God created marriage. You already knew that. So did I. But I doubt you or I know the depths of this profound truth. God thought up marriage and created it because He thinks it’s a really good thing that serves His really good purpose. So, however you’re feeling in marriage right now, know this: God created marriage.
In Genesis 1, God created Adam and Eve in His own image. Adam was male. Eve was female. Their sexes complemented each other beautifully. And God saw the marriage that he had made, and Genesis 1:31 says, “it was very good.” That included marriage. Marriage was very good. The Fall didn’t make marriage very bad. Certainly, sin corrupts and complicates marriage, but marriage remains very good when it is stewarded unto God’s intent for it.
In Genesis 2:18, God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” You know where this is going. Genesis 2:22 says, “And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man.” Did you get that? God created the woman different from the man to complement the man, and he created her from the man and brought her to the man. Marriage was a divinely-created gift that God gave Adam and Eve to mutually enjoy and steward for His glory.
I hope you confess the Apostles’ Creed. I hope you say, “I believe” with great conviction. And I think it will benefit you to think about how the Apostles’ Creed can help you cherish your spouse. Heidelberg 26 asks, “What do you believe when you say ‘I believe in God the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth’?” The phrase is quickly off the tongue, but do you know what it means and how it relates to your marriage? You should give some thought to this. Here’s what we’re confessing in this punchy line:
That the eternal Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who out of nothing created heaven and earth and all that is in them, and who still upholds and governs them by His eternal counsel and providence, is, for the sake of Christ His Son, my God and my Father. In Him I trust so completely as to have no doubt that He will provide me with all things necessary for body and soul and will also turn to my good whatever adversity He sends me in this life of sorrow. He is able to do so as almighty God and willing also as a faithful Father.
Wow. That paragraph could transform your marriage. Think about it. God is eternal. No beginning. No end. God is Father, and He has a Son Jesus Christ the Lord. Out of nothing, God created all that exists. God created heaven and earth. God created cherubim, seraphim, angels, animals, and humans. God created marriage for humans. God created the anatomy of male and female to wonderfully complement one another in deep sexual intimacy. God created the beauty of human form and the ability to delight in it. Remember, marriage was very good. And God upholds, sustains, and governs marriage just as He sustains the earth’s rotation around the sun and the change of seasons. How? By His divine and eternal counsel and providence. Why? For the sake of His glory.
Brothers and sisters, your marriage is about the glory of Christ Jesus your Lord. God is your God and your Father. He loves you. He has given you the gift of marriage to benefit you but also to magnify Him. You need to trust Him on that, and you need to better understand how His eternal counsel and providence uphold and govern your marriage for your good and His glory.
We’ll return to Heidelberg 26 next time, but for now please think about this: God created marriage. Satan didn’t create marriage. Humans didn’t create marriage. God created marriage, and it is very good. Of course, sin corrupts marriage, but the gift He gave us is good and for our benefit. May the Lord open your eyes to how marriage is working for your good.
Quotes from the Heidelberg Catechism are taken from Zacharias Ursinus & Jonathan Shirk, The Heidelberg Catechism (Manheim: Small Town Theologian, 2021).
Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. May not copy or download more than 500 consecutive verses of the ESV Bible or more than one-half of any book of the ESV Bible.