SEVEN THINGS TO KNOW IF YOUR SPOUSE IS DIFFICULT
“Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.”
There is a good chance your spouse is not everything you hoped for in a marriage. Of course, neither are you. Imperfect people have a way of disappointing imperfect people. Perchance your spouse is difficult at times to live with, here are seven things for you to know.
There is a loneliness in a difficult marriage that keeps you alone. If you are not careful, you can begin to think the good Lord has left you too. It is not true. God loves you, and your circumstances do not alter His love for you. Conditions can change you, but one of the Lord’s many attributes is His immutability: He never changes (Malachi 3:6; Hebrews 13:8).
Paul would say something caught your spouse (Galatians 6:1). Imagine if you were walking through the woods and found your spouse ensnared around the ankle by a bear trap. Your spouse is caught in sin, and cannot extricate himself/herself from it. The caught-ness does not excuse the behavior or the need to confront it, but it does help you to understand there’s a greater issue in play (Galatians 6:1-2).
Paul wants you to give serious thought to how you respond to your spouse. If you walked up on your spouse in the forest, how would you respond? Would you become angry because something caught your spouse or would you try to gently restore while keeping watch on your soul, so you do not become tempted to sin?
Because of your spouse’s habituation in a pattern of difficulty and your vulnerability, you must reach out for help. Do not go through this alone. Regardless of your spouse’s desire to control you, find someone to walk with through this process. Even the Bible’s call to submission does not prevent you from helping a caught person.
I do not know if your spouse will ever change. I do know there are several situations in the Bible where the Lord allowed sin. Paul’s thorn in the flesh (2 Corinthians 12:7-10), the story of Joseph, (Genesis 50:20), as well as the story of Pharaoh (Exodus 9:16; Romans 9:17), are three examples. The most profound illustration where God allowed sin for His greater purposes is when He crushed His Son (Isaiah 53:10).
Though I am not sure your spouse will change, there is no question the Lord is calling you to an other-world reliance on Him (2 Corinthians 1:8-9). You cannot fix your spouse (1 Corinthians 3:6). I know you know this, but I want to state it clearly, and you need to remind yourself of this truth over and over again. Your most compelling call to action is to pray (1 Thessalonians 5:17).
Guard your heart with all diligence because what flows out of it will determine the course of your life (Proverbs 4:23; Luke 6:45). Your marriage is a temptation for you to sin because of your disappointment. Do you hear yourself thinking? Do you hear how you speak to others about your marriage? Do your close friends agree that you’re guarding your heart?
Your gratitude will affect your attitude. It is a quirky saying, but you will remember it, and if you apply the saying to your life, it will begin to change you regardless of what happens to your spouse.
If you are predisposed to journaling, I recommend you write out your grateful thoughts each day and present them to the LORD. Paul had a habit of being grateful to mean-spirited individuals (1 Corinthians 1:4). Rehearse in your mind daily your list of things that make you grateful.