Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Understanding Your Spouse: 4 Main Issues That Cause Problems

by Terry Coomer

In our Biblical Counseling Center at Hope Baptist Church, Sherwood, Arkansas and through For the Love of the Family Ministries we get to do a lot of marriage counseling. Almost always we find four things going on in a marriage that has created the marital issues.

 1. The couple does not have a real intimate, personal, and passionate relationship with the Saviour.

They may be a church member and even attend church on a regular basis, but their relationship with God is mechanical at best.  If you wish to know more about this click on the following link.  http://fortheloveofthefamily.com/2014/02/how-to-have-a-real-relationship-with-god/

2.  Because of the lack of a real relationship with God they are emotion led-feelings dominated people. They act like children.

Therefore, they make poor decisions and choices. Their marriage, and if they have children both the marriage and the children suffer greatly because of it.  Their home and marriage is chaos and a total roller coaster experience. Children are motivated by feelings. That is their primary way to operate in their life. That being saida person has never really entered adulthood if they have not learned to follow Biblical principles in spite of where their feelings are leading them.  A Christian must learn what it means to be controlled by the Holy Spirit at the point of impact.  To learn more about this click on http://fortheloveofthefamily.com/2014/01/how-do-you-measure-your-christian-life/

Unfortunately, a good number of married couples are children in adult bodies. Though they may have a decent education or have established a nice career, they stopped growing emotionally and spiritually a long time ago or never learned how to grow emotionally and spiritually to begin with. When they feel angry, they act angry. If they feel like pouting, negative behavior ensues. If lying or deceitfulness serves them they lie and deceive. They say whatever comes to their mind and show their spiritual and emotional immaturity. This is nothing less than childish behavior, and, sad to say, it is what keeps me busy as a Pastor and marriage counselor.

I have found that until someone learns to say yes to Biblical principles and learn how to be a Spirit controlled person and no to their childish emotions, they will never learn how to properly deal with their marital issues. They will be up one day and down the next, and they will take their marriage on a perpetual roller coaster ride.

Their children will act the same way they do.  Proverbs 22:6, Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. 

Did you notice the word train?  The most important thing for a parent to do is to see their child come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.  The next thing is to understand they as a parent are to be a trainer.  You are to be a trainer of your children to not live a feelings dominated life but a Biblical principled Spirit-controlled life.  However, you must not be living a feelings dominated life yourself or your training will spiritually fail. Proverbs 22:8, He that soweth iniquity shall reap vanity: and the rod of his anger shall fail.

Most parents try to teach from an emotion-led life which does not work.  The child goes into adulthood still being an emotion-led child.  This is the primary reason that 80 percent of all children who grow up in an Independent Baptist Church do not go on to serve God.  In marriage counseling, I have found that for most couples the Spirit-controlled walk may be a concept they have heard about but not a real application Biblically to their lives.

Our goal for every counselee is spiritual and emotional maturity by learning how to apply Biblical principles to their life and to stop, think, and turnover to the Lord at the point of spiritual impact in their life. This is the point where Satan puts outside pressure on your life to try to get you to react like a child with childish behavior.  Satan seeks to control the Christian’s life by placing outside pressure on them to control their soul which is the seat of their mind, emotions, and will.   By this, he will then control their decision making.  They will react in their emotion led life rather than to submit themselves to God and make Jesus Christ real in their life at the point of impact.

James 4:7, Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

This is our goal to teach as a Pastoral Biblical counselor.  They are in your office because they are immature emotionally and spiritually.  Their childish behavior has put them there.  Most people do not want to admit that.  Until, they are ready to admit it, repent from their childish behavior, and develop a Biblical principled relationship with God nothing will ever change.  Their life and home will be one frustration and chaotic event after another.

They are non-spirit controlled people. Ephesians 5:18-25, And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;

Galatians 5:25If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

3. They are living for their lusts.

Forty-eight times the Bible tells us not to live for our lusts.  In the passage below, notice how many times it says yield (submit). Romans 6:11-19, Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the luststhereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yieldyourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so nowyield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.

 They live like lost people who state they are Christians but do not know how to make Biblical long term change in their life.  They do not know why they live like they do and are extremely frustrated, self-righteous and in many instances defeated and discouraged people.  In essence, they live for the lusts of the flesh.  Many times they have “demand lusts” in their life which control behavior.  They have no clue about what to do about that.

 4.  Trust has been broken in the marriage.  

One of the hardest things to do is rebuild trust in a marriage when it has been broken.  Trust can be lost in several ways. Lying, stealing, immorality, poor decision making etc. Many times trust has been broken on both sides of the fence.  However, men and women react to it differently.  Every relationship is based on trust, including our relationship with God.

Proverbs 3:5-7Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.

For a woman, marriage is a trust issue and she desires safety.  Her safety is in her husband. If trust has ever fallen through, she is very reluctant to trust again.

Most women want to know that their relationship with their husband is stable in the areas of unconditional love, commitment, and finances.  Deep down, they desire to know that their marriage will hold up their self-worth as well as their expectations.  When it shows signs of weakness, they tend to test its strength by doing non-biblical emotional things. This is usually done in one or more of the following ways:

1. A wife may withhold her love for her husband until she sees that he truly cares about her and  not merely himself.

2.  She may show hesitancy to act like everything is fine in the marriage.

3.  Some act cold or indifferent about the marriage until they see viable change.

4.  A wife might question her husband’s motives for making changes for the better.

5.  A woman could display a lack of willingness to participate in physical intimacy.

6.  She could be cold, and, at times, mean and rude toward her husband.

These are all natural tendencies for a wife that feels insecure about her relationship with her husband.  This, of course, does not mean this type of behavior is okay, but it certainly explains why some wives are tempted to act in such a way.   This is probably a good description of what happens, but it does not mean this is what should happen in a marriage.  It is non-Spirit controlled behavior.

A man thinks because he asked God to forgive him it should be over with.  When a woman is hurt she does not let you back in that easily. I have had many women say, our finances are out of control and I cannot trust him to make good decisions.  Same way with men who are frustrated by their wives poor decision making on finances and decision making.  If a person is not having a real, intimate, personal and passionate relationship with God they will make trust breaking poor emotion led decisions.   I do not know how many times I have asked a couple “Why in the world did you make that decision?” The answer generally goes like this.  I prayed about it (self-righteous, self-serving prayer).  Many times it makes no common or spiritual sense and puts undue pressure on one or both partners and therefore, trust is broken.

We have many men who are emotion led dreamers.

They go from job to job, one hair-brained scheme to another.  They are always seeking to sell their wife on the dream, but she has long since thought, “here we go again another non-responsible dumb decision.  I cannot trust him to make a good decision.”  Why, because his decisions are all about what he wants with the scheming and selling of another dream leaving to the wife having to pick up pieces.  Trust has been broken.

Then the man acts impatient because his wife is reluctant to follow another hair-brained idea even if the husband is bound and determined he has prayed about it and “the Lord has told him.”  Dreamers break the trust and confidence of their wives and children.  This is the primary way they lose their hearts.  It is his reaction to her reluctance that will prove to be vital in repairing their relationship.  Many men are hiding their insecurities by again telling their wife and children this is what God is leading me to do and it ends up in failure.  Trust is broken. 

 Some men, are afraid or overwhelmed by the task of building a Biblical principled life.  Others just feel incapable. So, they go from one scheme to another selling it all the way.  Either way, they will do well not to run and hide from their God-given responsibility to promote an atmosphere of safety and nurture in their home and in their marriage through sacrificial service and spirit controlled actions and conversation with their wife.

Other men err in that they focus on their wife’s reluctance rather than their responsibility to build a Biblical marriage of unconditional love and having true Biblical character in their life.  This is a crucial mistake that many, if not most men make as they work at trying to rebuild some kind trust in their marriage.

Here is a man selling his wife again with long one-sided conversations of emotional manipulation and expecting her to follow along again.  Listen carefully, many men could avoid countless one-sided discussions by doing more to repair and build a godly home, marriage, and children rather than trying to keep selling his wife on the fact that everything is okay , ‘just trust me.”  If this continues she just thinks and in many instances says “you can talk all you want I still cannot trust you.”  The man walks away proud of himself because he thinks he has manipulated her again!  I got news for you, it did not work!  The damage you are doing is severe to your wife and children in the area of trust.

When women show hesitancy to trust their husbands, men get defensive and impatient.  These actions may be natural, but they do little to boost a woman’s level of confidence in her husband.  Men that are prone to such behavior will be wise to understand that you have to repent of your living the Christian life in a self-righteous, self-serving way.

When a man repents or has a change of mind, he generally changes on the spot.  Women are vastly different and it takes time for her to see the need to trust the husband. This is a source of frustration to a vast amount of men, yet if he shows impatience, he will only hurt his cause.

When a woman is hurt, she will build a castle around her heart and shut the door tight.

As she hides for safety, the man stands outside of the castle door trying to encourage her to let down the door.  The problem is that if he shows any signs of impatience, he sends out the resounding message that he is in it for himself.  Rather than using anger as a form of control (and many men do this) he is showing if I do not get my way on this I will pout, get angry, and lecture her and make her think it is her fault that I have another great deal going here and why does she not trust my self-serving idea?

Ephesians 4:29-32,  Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all (what part of all do we not understand?) bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour(public quarreling), and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

No matter what you do at this point she thinks you are being “nice” to emotionally manipulate her again. She perceives that he is using charitable acts of kindness to emotionally manipulate the situation.  His impatience will not serve him well.

If the husband gets impatient he normally will say hurtful things in a self-pity mode like, “what else do you want me to do? You don’t care about me. It is always what you want.”  You are hurting your cause.  Plus you are showing childish behavior.  God wants you to provide a nurturing environment for your wife. That means you have to change from a feelings dominated life to a Spirit controlled Biblical principled life.  Guys, work on this: Ephesians 5:25, 28, 29Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for itSo ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:

She will only trust you again if she believes you are real and desire true Biblical long-term change.  You cannot lecture her into change. You will have to show her you have really Biblically changed.  Work at always making her trust in you unwavering.

by Terry Coomer

Original article can be found here.

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