In the spirit of Throw-Back-Thursday, I thought I would repost my most viewed blog. Originally posted Aug. 20, 2012
New American Standard Bible (NASB)
31 For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. 32 This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she[a] respects her husband.
When a couple comes into my office the very first time, I usually ask each person what the problem in their marriage is according to their opinion. Many times one or both individuals will answer with “if my spouse would change, we would be fine.” I always chuckle at remarks such as this because we as people are always quick to blame someone else so we do not have to focus on our own behavior. Even after explaining that each person in the marriage plays a role in the harmony as well as the conflict, I have had several continue to insist that the problem in the other person in the relationship.
Today, I would like to share with you that an attitude like that is most likely the main problem in the conflict. You see, when a person is unwilling to examine his/her own life and own behavior, change will not occur which means that the conflict will just be a merry-go-round with some ups and downs but always end up at the same place. I don’t know about you but merry-go-rounds are not my favorite rides at the carnival. Matter of fact, I have not been on one at the carnival or fair in about 20 years when my children needed me to ride with them.
So how do you get off the merry-go-round in your marriage and begin moving toward the common goal of a harmonious relationship that is fulfilling for each person involved?
Here are several things that need to be addressed.
- You have to take your eyes off your spouse’s behavior. When you are focused on your spouse’s behavior, you cannot look at yourself and the role you are supposed to play. You see, the Bible gives each the husband and the wife a role to play. There has to be a balance between the two for the relationship to work properly. (Now if your spouse is being abusive or committing adultery, that is another subject all together. This discussion is for those conflicts that occur in most relationships.)
- You need to ask the question “What am I doing wrong?” As I have already stated that each person plays a role in the conflict as well as the cooperation. Are there areas of relationship that you could be doing things differently or better? Are you being selfish in some of your thinking? Are you more concerned about your needs than the needs of your spouse? All of these questions need to be answered. If any of them are answered “yes” then you have some work to do on your own behavior.
- You need to ask the question “What am I doing right?” You might be confused with this question. Sometimes a person loses sight of what is good in his/her behavior. Many individuals believe the lie that he/she is the total problem in the marriage, which is not the case. (Again, we are not dealing with adultery or abuse here.)
- You need to remember you are on the same team. Your spouse is not the enemy. Satan loves to bring conflict into marriages. He uses whatever means he can to separate the union that God has brought together, even if that means creating disharmony through friction. A husband and wife are to be one in spirit as well as flesh. If a couple does not remember this, the clash of the two will bring a chasm that is difficult to overcome.
When your favorite football team takes the field in a couple of weeks, I want to encourage you to notice if the offense is blaming the defense for the mistakes being made or for the losses incurred. Maybe the defense is blaming the offense for the losses. Which ever the case, that team is in trouble!! But, if when a team loses, everyone begins talking about the changes they need to make and they win as a team and lose as a team, there is hope for that team to improve. The same is true for your team of being a husband and wife. If you can identify what you are doing wrong and what you need to work on and allow your spouse to do the same, your marriage can be a winning marriage moving in the right direction of bringing God glory and you fulfillment.
Bradley D. Watson, BCBT Directed Path Ministries
After spending more than 25 years on church staffs, God has allowed me to take the experiences and knowledge that I gained to develop a Biblical Counseling ministry. The basis of this ministry is to allow God’s Word to shine on the main issues in peoples’ lives in order to bring His resolutions to problems.