How Self-Care Can Improve Your Marriage
In order to make your marriage a top priority, you will have to take the necessary steps and work through some issues. The starting point may surprise you, though. Don’t begin by focusing on your relationship. Instead, take a deeper look at your own life. Self-care can be the first step to moving your marriage to a healthier place.
We so often look to the other person for our happiness, but the fact is we all have some unfinished business to deal with in ourselves. Why not start there and forget about what your spouse needs to do?
Do you have unfinished business with your parents? A past relationship? God? What expectations did you bring into your marriage that are disappointing you right now? Is there anything you can do to repair the past? Is there some repair work to be done by you? I have no doubt, unless you are a bit delusional, that an issue or perhaps many issues popped into your mind as I listed those questions. Remember that marriage is a humbling journey. When one sinner marries another sinner, there is always going to be trouble.
If you feel that your issues are too intense for you to even begin working on, or you don’t know what to do, I would suggest that you seek the wisdom of a qualified marriage counselor. The Bible is clear: “Where there is no counsel, the people fall; but in the multitude of counselors there is safety” (Proverbs11:14 NKJV). If that statement works for the entire population of Israel, then it works for your life.
Do your part to repair your own brokenness. You have nothing to lose. I know one couple who were struggling with their marriage and both refused to get help until their spouse made the first move. They were at a stalemate and their relationship was suffering. Finally, the healthiest person in the relationship went in for counseling. As she started working on her issues, her husband became intrigued and decided to get some help himself. After working on some of their own individual problems, they began to work on their marriage. Today, they have a healthy marriage because they made their emotional and spiritual well being a priority. Someone might ask, What if the husband had refused to go for help? Then the woman still would have become healthier by seeking help on her own.
I like how Henry Cloud describes this principle: If the tooth is infected, “pull the tooth.” In other words, stop the negative energy drain in your life and make room for the good stuff. The Bible says, “[There is] a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away” (Ecclesiastes 3:6). If you have been meaning to work on an issue of brokenness, then let me say that it will never be easier than right now. If you continue to put it off, you will only become more broken. Now is the time to do the work it takes to find wholeness for you and for your marriage. Remember, you don’t have to do all this on your own. God created marriage and He created the blueprint to make it work.