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Embrace the Struggle

Mon, Sep. 05, 2016 Posted: 05:57 PM


The following is an excerpt from my book, Marriage God's Way.

As you read about marriage, whether in God's Word or books like Marriage God's Way, you'll recognize weaknesses in your relationship with your spouse. This can create tension, but it's actually a good thing! God is introducing areas that need to be improved, and the best way to do that is by asking each other tough questions. A husband might say, “Outside of the Lord Himself, do you feel like you are taking second place to anything in my life?” If a wife answers that she does not feel she is the supreme relationship in her husband’s life, the husband should not try to talk her out of the way she feels or persuade her to see things differently. Likewise, a wife might ask her husband, “Do you feel like I respect you?” If the husband explains how she makes him feel disrespected, the wife should not argue with her husband and try to convince him he’s wrong. Instead, each spouse should listen to the other and try to make the appropriate changes.

When couples ask each other these difficult questions, they should expect some painful discussions. That’s great. Let me give you an analogy. A few months ago I hurt my lower back. It is a recurring injury that reminds me I am getting older. So I returned to the chiropractor. If you have ever been to a chiropractor, you know they can be pretty forceful—pushing, twisting, snapping, and popping. Sometimes you are left feeling sore, but that is supposed to happen. That’s how the chiropractor makes adjustments and straightens things out.

But what if you went to the chiropractor and all he did was rub your shoulders, pat your back, and tell you everything looked fine? After that, he sat next to you and asked how your day was going. How would you react? I know how I would react: “This is not why I came here. I know if you are going to help me, you are going to have to apply some pressure and do some pushing and pulling. There’s going to be some tension. There will even be a little soreness afterward.”

Likewise, if we are going to improve our marriages, there is going to be some discomfort. There is going to be some struggle and tension. We should not be surprised or alarmed, because this is part of the natural healing and strengthening process as God works in our hearts. And what is the alternative? Simple. Close this book. Be lazy. Do not ask each other the tough questions or talk about the tough issues. Do not take your marriage seriously. Do not improve as a husband, a wife, or a Christian.

If you avoid discussing the biblical teachings in this book with your spouse, you will not have any tough issues to wrestle with. But you won’t grow either, and your marriage will not be strengthened. Even if you avoid the difficult discussions now and the discomfort that accompanies them, you will more than likely experience even tougher, more uncomfortable situations later.

So I want to encourage you to embrace the struggles because of what they are going to produce. The Apostle Paul tells us: “We glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character, and character, hope” (Romans 5:3¬–4). Glory in the struggles you are having, knowing that they are producing something good as you, your spouse, and your marriage are refined!

The following is an excerpt from my book, Marriage God's Way.

Scott LaPierre