We all hold the view that we know our spouse either completely or partially. No one ever says that they do not know their spouse until something happens that is outside their knowledge, and then they say they don’t know the man /woman they have married anymore!
No one sets out to marry a man or woman knowing fully well that he /she will change to what they would not be able to tolerate. We all hope for a blissful future. This is the beginning of faith walk.
Not many of us ever prepare to deal with the changes that come by reason of various circumstances and time. Many of these changes are outside the control of each and every one of us.
Yet despite the changes, we all desire to remain married. Marriage is in the heart of God – the only relationship He compared with Christ and the church.
Most attacks come to marriage through change. When we check the causes of breakdown in marriages, most of the time it is due to changes in spouses. As a Christian, we may classify these changes in various ways, such as fallen from the faith, too selfish, or just not communicating etc.
Some may have pretended to be what they are not prior to marriage, the percentage of this is low. Most problems that lead to divorce are as a result of a change in the course of the relationship. The great question every spouse should ask themselves is how far they are able to tolerate the change(s) in their spouse. How do we intend to manage the change(s)?
Can we still depend on the Grace of God to cope with these changes? The Challenge of our faith is how far we would be able to cope with these inevitable changes in our relationship.
The issue is not to change the person that has changed but to change our attitude towards the change.
Let us remember that the other person probably needs you more than you think.
Someone has compared marriage to travelling on a motorway with the aim to arrive at a destination. Knowing your car and the road does not give assurance that you will reach your destination. The only assurance of making it to your planned destination is your will and the Grace of God to make it.
For instance, a change, in weather that affects your driving, is inevitable and outside your control. Sometimes, to a point of a standstill on the course of your journey with no end in sight but yet with patience and endurance, you will eventually move and arrive at your destination. Your marriage too can work!
Below are changes in a relationship that has to lead to divorce in a particular study in the USA.
TIPS.. when changes start
1 Do not sweep it under the carpet. 2 Whosoever first observes the change should raise it and let it be discussed. 3 Some spouses may have difficulty in having such a conversation, that in itself is the beginning of problem. 4 Communication is the commonest cause of divorce. You must talk about things.
5 Find the best time to raise it with him/her. Over the years you know the best time to discuss serious things. If you try at one time and you fail do not regard that as one who would not listen. He/she may just not get it. Look for another time.
6 Sex is another major cause of divorce, it leads to many other difficulties that only both spouse would understand that the problem started from sexual intimacy. Frustration, rejection, lack of confidence, infidelity and stress in relationship can result from sexual difficulty.
7 Once the change is recognised, let us apply the bible principles as in Galatia 6;1 “Brother if someone is caught in a sin or overtaken in a misconduct, , you , who are spiritual should restore him/her gently, looking to yourself so that you will not be tempted. Be prepared to carry each other’s burden thereby fulfilling the law of Christ. I always feel that for most problems in a Christ -centred relationship , the issue is that we cease to look or watch “self” when we discover the change in the other. We talk about it and act in response to it until we ourselves becomes tempted!. We are to be gentle with the restoration. Paul said we should , not desert, not criticize not ridicule but gently restore him/her!. Most of the time we think of this verse in relation to back sliding Christians. But the greatest backsliding in Christian life is to desert or abandon that epitome of Christ love for the church in humanity!
8 Pray and pray. Ask for grace to manage until restoration will happen.
9 Seek Godly counsel. Counsellors who understand the mind of God on the matter.
10 Confess the word of God over your spouse to negate that which is destroying your relationship.
Remember marriage is a sacred institution that God keenly protects. Honour it and protect it too.