I recently came across an article on Huffington Post about the 9 Most Overlooked Threats to a Marriage. As I read it, I realized that a lot of these can be avoided or overcome in just a few small ways.
You don’t always have to look at your marriage as something that can or will be “threatened,” but you can be more aware of how to take care of your marriage and help it grow. Here is my response to Kelly Flanagan’s article and my thoughts on how to overcome these threats to your marriage.
How to Overcome These 9 Marriage Threats:
1. Enjoy the Change
In Flanagan’s article, he says, “We marry people because we like who they are.” I think as people we do marry the person we see in front of us. We love them for who they are and also who they want to be.
But the thing we should remember going into marriage is that yes, people do change. Life changes. Sometimes things don’t go as planned. I don’t see this as a threat because all people change and grow and the best part of marriage is learning and growing together. Look forward to the change and enjoy it together!
2. Go to God When You are Lonely
The second point that Flanagan brought up is that, “Marriage doesn’t take away our loneliness.” I would have to say that he is absolutely right! Yes, sometimes we marry so we don’t have to be alone, but we can’t place our everything on our spouse. We have to learn to go to God. He is the only one who can replace our loneliness with contentment. If we count on our spouse for all of that, we will always be disappointed.
3. Only God Can Take Away Our Shame
Flanagan says, “Shame baggage. Yes, we all carry it it. We spend most of our adolescence and early adulthood trying to pretend our shame doesn’t exist so, when the person we love triggers it in us, we blame them for creating it. And then we demand they fix it.”
It’s true, a lot of us may carry shame and baggages into our marriage, but we can’t expect our spouse to carry it for us or to fix it. We must allow God to heal us and take our shame and in sin away
“He will again have compassion on us, and will subdue our iniquities. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.” – Micah 7:19
4. Put Your Spouse First
For number four, Flanagan says that, “Ego wins.” This is true because of our sin nature. We are born selfish people and we have to learn and practice Christ’s example in showing love and putting others before ourselves. Marriage is all about the other person. We must learn to put away our ego and put our spouse first.
5. God Controls the “Mess”
When Flanagan says, “Life is messy and marriage is life” he is definitely telling the truth! But what we see as a mess, God sees as our beautiful lives. He is in control and He knows what is happening. I have learned to stop blaming my spouse for the “mess” in our lives and start looking to God for help to get through the “mess” so that together my husband and I can grow.
6. Jesus is the Epitome Empathy
Flanagan says, “Empathy is hard.” And he is right. In marriage we want our spouse to empathize with us and understand us, but as two different people, sometimes that just does not happen. Jesus is our perfect example, He always understands us and He will always be there for us. He showed so much empathy and compassion when He was on this earth. As a couple we should sacrifice our own desires and learn to empathize with our spouse. This was Jesus’ example.
- “But when He saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd.” – Matthew 9:36
- “And When Jesus went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick.” – Matthew 14:14
- “So Jesus had compassion and touched their eyes. And immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed Him.” – Matthew 20:34
7. God, Your Spouse, and THEN Your Children
Flanagan brings up a point that I see so often. He says, “We care more about our children than about the one who helped us make them. Our kids should never be more important than our marriage, and they should never be less important.”
This is SO true! Remember to make God first in your life, then your spouse, then your children. Everything falls into place when you follow this formula. Your kids will be glad to see such great examples in your marriage and know that you both love each other and them very much.
8. Respect Each Other
Flanagan lists number eight as the “The hidden power struggle.” He goes on to say, “Most conflict in marriage is at least in part a negotiation around the level of interconnectedness between lovers.” I don’t think there needs to be any power struggle in marriage. Why? Because it’s all about respect. Respect your spouse, respect each other. Treat each other how you want to be treated. Easier said then done sometimes, but something that is very important in our marriages.
9. Show Our Spouse Gratitude
Flanagan says the last hidden threat to marriage is that, “We don’t know how to maintain interest in one thing or one person anymore.” He says, “We live in a world pulling our attention in a million different directions.” This is so true. In a world where everyone wants instant gratification and where no one can be content with what they have, how are we supposed to keep up?
We can keep up by keeping our eyes on Christ, keeping our spouse first in our families, and remembering to be thankful for them. Thank you spouse every day for who they are and for what they do. Let them know that you need and appreciate them more than anything.
What about YOU? Have you found any overlooked threats in your marriage? How have you overcome them?