Marriage problems are not usually marriage problems–they are character issues. If you take up offenses, you will probably do it at work, in your marriage, at your church. Do you see a marriage counselor for it? You could, but you’d do better to deal with your offendable heart. Most issues that come up in a marriage can be dealt with by surrendering more fully to the Lordship of Christ and asking the Holy Spirit to work His character in you.
Marriage is not for eternity. It is what God has provide for our time on this earth–for relationship, intimacy, and the procreation of the race. No more procreation in the new earth, the Bridegroom of us all is Jesus, and the honeymoon lasts for ever.
That doesn’t mean that we don’t work on our marriage, but the way we do it is important. It is seldom a specifically marriage problem. Almost always it relates to an issue God is putting focus on so we can grow up in God. This helps us not to say, “If he would only pick up his clothes,” or “If she would only quit nagging…” Instead, we can say, “What can I be working on because of this conflict? Where do I need to change?” You probably don’t need a marriage counselor. You more likely need a change in your attitude or behavior.
Does this belittle the importance of marriage? No. It was the first institution created. It answered to Adam’s loneliness. It brought two very different people together–a man and a woman. “And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion…” (Genesis 1:28). Marriage is God’s provision for our days upon this earth.
Understanding this temporal relationship could head off some divorces: “I can’t live with this woman. She is driving me crazy.” Okay, change how respond to her. Learn to forgive. Reconstruct a thankful heart. Like the plaque says, “People aren’t thankful because they are happy. They are happy because they are thankful.”Your issue is probably not related to your marriage; it is related to you. The one constant in all your problems, whether at work or in your marriage–is you. There you are again.
We need to normalize conflict. We are not surprised when the world or a spouse does not treat us like we’re a superstar. A guy comes home and complains about an overbearing boss. Surprise! Is that a work-related problem? No, it is a life-related problem. This guy needs to learn how to live with people he doesn’t like. Peter would tell him that it is an issue of submission, not something he takes to human resources. An attitude needs to change in him, not his boss. Problems are gifts from God to help us develop character, whether on the job or in a marriage. We are training for the new earth.
And just so you know–how we live here impacts how we will live in eternity. There is something called rewards. It gives us incentives to change, to learn how to live above offense, to develop a good forgiver, to practice the art of thanking rather than nagging. Character is worth going after!