“God made them male and female from the beginning of creation… the two are united into one. Since they are no longer two but one, let no one split apart what God has joined together” (Mark 10:6, 8-9, NLT).
My husband and I are slowly approaching our 29th year of marriage (we just celebrated our 28th wedding anniversary this past November). When I was working on my counseling degree I had to create a diagram of my “family of origin” and the relationships within that origin. It was like a snapshot of the marriages and divorces in my immediate family (parents and siblings). Surprisingly, I was the only one in my immediate family who had never been divorced. Statistically, I should have already had a divorce— we were both married at the age of 19-years-old, I only knew my then future husband for only a few months, my parents were divorced when I was a young child, etc. So why am I still married?
I believe that God is the reason why my marriage has lasted this long. It was very difficult when we were first married because we hardly knew each other and we were so different, but as our relationship with God grew, so did our relationship with each other. It was still difficult but not to the degree it was when we were first married. I think the turning point in our marital relationship happened when I not only asked God to change my husband, but I also asked Him to change me.
Often a problem that occurs in the marriage is that there is a cycle of miscommunication and misunderstanding, but in order to move forward, it all has to end. I remember going several days without speaking, or speaking very little; and I also remember wanting to say “I’m sorry, let’s just move on,” but never saying it because I wanted my husband to say it first. The goal of an “argument” is not to be the “last man standing,” it is to hash out disagreements and come to a mutual solution.
I wish all marriages would flourish and last. I think if more people took the time to be truly intimate with their spouse (not necessarily in a sexual way), then it would lead to more open discussions. One way to start this type of intimacy is to read the Bible then pray together out loud. Sounds simple, but it really works. If both husband and wife really want to work on improving the marriage, and their whole heart is willing to do “whatever it takes,” then wholeheartedly read and pray together. It is also important to follow Paul’s instructions in 1 Corinthians 7:3-5.
If your marriage is still not improving then please see a real Christian counselor (one who actually incorporates the Bible into his/her counseling), then sincerely pray for God to change you and your marriage. God can do all things— nothing is impossible for Him. Remember it is not the world’s statistics that defines your marriage—it is God who defines it.
Copyright © 2013 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti