Examine Your Life and Your Marriage
I hear couples say all the time, “We’ve lost our focus. Our priorities and attitude took a wrong turn.” No one starts out to have a second-rate marriage, but it happens so often because we blame our spouse and don’t have the emotional energy to be intentional in making the decisions ourselves that will make a difference. You first have to create a healthy marriage by examining your own life. When you take the time to think about it, you probably already know what you need to do. It’s a matter of having the courage to change and allow God to intervene in your life. Most people don’t take the time to really examine their life. Americans tend to work harder on the outside appearance than their inside soul. We scrutinize and reexamine our finances but most of us don’t take enough time to examine our lives or how we can affect our marriage relationship in a more intimate way. Many people feel dead on the inside and their relationships are stale, but they continue to function on all things visible. Below the surface, the invisible has been pretty much ignored. Grief that is ignored is turned into depression and hopelessness. Hurt turns to defensiveness toward our spouse, and anger turns to bitterness. These are the tumors of our heart and marriage.
The unexamined life lets the fast pace of our existence take over and relationships become a reaction or worse yet, just happen. The unexamined life doesn’t work at creating a life of AWE (Affection, Warmth and Encouragement) or a healthy marriage. We get so distracted with emotional pain that we can’t even identify the real issues. Pretty soon the negative forces of life creep inside us and before we know it, we are stale, unhappy people in poor relationships, often doing things we don’t want to do. The Apostle Paul’s advice to Timothy was this, “Keep a close watch on all you do and think. Stay true to what is right, and God will bless you and use you to help others.” (I Timothy 4:16) So how can we take a closer look at ourselves and attend to the forces at work in our lives that relate to our marriage? Personally, I learn best by asking questions.
Here are five questions that help me focus:
∙ Is my marriage working?
∙ What’s right about my marriage?
∙ What’s wrong about my marriage? (And what can I do about it?)
∙ Am I giving my marriage only my emotional scraps?
∙ How can I bring AWE to my marriage?
As you create an atmosphere of AWE in your marriage you will need to quit blaming your spouse, kids, parents, mother-in-law, boss or the dog! They are not responsible for your unhappiness. Sure, they may be contributing to your hurt but unless there is abuse in your life, you are responsible for how you respond. My good friend, Dr. Henry Cloud, summarized it this way; “I cannot blame them for what I do with what they do to me. I am responsible for how I respond.” (1) Henry is right. You can’t do much about your spouse, but you work on your own life, attitude and relationship.