“Three Truths To Remember When Marriage Gets Tough”
By Cindi McMenamin
It’s a fact that stress runs high around the holidays. And for you, that could mean one more stressor to your marriage.
But remembering three basic truths about marriage could head off an argument — or an unhealthy mindset — and remind you that your spouse is a gift, not an irritation.
Here are three truths to remember, especially during the stressful times, to hold you — and your marriage — together are…
- Your spouse can’t possibly meet all your emotional needs. Only God can (Psalm 145:16). And to expect your husband to be your all-in-all is a recipe for disaster. So if he’s not talking with you at the level you want him to, or saying the things you need to hear every evening, or reading your mind and knowing exactly what you need, do him and yourself a favor. Look to God to be your “spiritual husband” (Isaiah 54:5). It will take a tremendous load of expectation off of him and it will help you be a confident, capable woman who can get through whatever life and marriage brings your way — including the stressful holidays.
- Marriage is not intended to make you happy. Admit it, you married because you believed your spouse would make you happier than if you remained single. I believe we all go into marriage with this basic assumption. But God’s intention for marriage is more about making us holy, than happy. God knows that marriage is a situation in which we can daily practice dying to self. It is an arena in which we can learn and live Christ-likeness. It is a field in which we can practice love, even when we don’t feel like it. Happiness is not a result of how someone else treats you. Your level of contentment is a choice that must be made by you or a heart condition that must be altered by God. See your marriage as the training ground for becoming more like Christ (Galatians 2:20). No one can teach you better how to love another unconditionally than the person you are living with in very close quarters.
- Grace is the glue that holds the two of you together. Disappointment is inevitable because we’re all broken. I wish this weren’t true, but it is. And when my husband and I remember the fact that we’re both broken — by sin, and by our wounds from the past — we have a more realistic perspective and expectation of one another. Just as your spouse has disappointed you, you have also disappointed your spouse. And that’s where God expects us to show the same grace to our husbands as God has shown toward us. My husband and I wrote in our book, When Couples Walk Together, that “grace is the glue that holds the two of you together.” Once you and I realize we are just as broken as our spouse, we will extend grace much more easily to our husbands.
I’m so glad God doesn’t drop us when we begin acting differently than when we first committed to Him. God doesn’t give us conditions that we must meet or He’ll walk out. He loves unconditionally and perseveringly. And thereby He models to us how to love each other, even when we don’t feel like it.
Remember these three truths when the stress hits your marriage this Holiday Season. It could be one of the best gifts your husband receives.
Cindi McMenamin is a national speaker and the author of several books including When a Woman Inspires Her Husband and When Couples Walk Together, which she co-authored with her husband, Hugh. Cindi and her husband have been married 26 years, have more than 20 years experience in ministry together, and live in San Diego with their grown daughter, Dana. For resources or encouragement to strengthen your soul, marriage or relationships, see her website: www.StrengthForTheSoul.com.
What is one way you can show grace to your spouse this Christmas? Would you share it for our readers in the space below? We’ll pick a winner to receive a copy of Cindi McMenamin’s book, When Couples Walk Together, which will help you grow closer to your spouse in the next year.