TEN WAYS TO IGNORE YOUR MARRIAGE PROBLEMS
“For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.”
Resist sin in your marriage at every turn. Do not think that you are the exception or that you are somehow above sin and cannot be destroyed by it. When you see it, kill it. If it is more than you can handle, call for the caregivers (local church) and let them help you kill it. The most ungracious thing you can do is let it persist in your marriage.
I’ve counseled many spouses who refused to take this advice. Instead of implementing a biblical plan to restore the brokenness in their marriages, they “nourished and cherished” other things that became replacements for their infected marriages. Here are ten of those marriage replacements:
1. Ministry – Serving others is a common marriage replacement. Whether it’s a pastor or some other serving role, their “ministry” became the new “marriage partner.” The married to ministry problem is bigger than you might imagine. There is a lot of praise that can come through the door of ministry, which can be satisfying for a person in a dissatisfying marriage.
2. Work – A person’s vocation is similar to the “ministry replacement.” It’s a place for a spouse to get his “approval fix.” His marriage is unfulfilling, so he puts all his energy, skill, and time into his job. He uses the “job card” as the answer to why he does not devote more time to the family. “I work all day” is his excuse, which can be a smoke screen to justify his anger toward his wife.
3. Children – For a woman in an unsatisfactory marriage, her outlet may come through her children. Rather than enjoying her husband, she moves her primary human affection to her children. It is not unusual for the child-centered mom and workaholic dad to divorce after 35-years of marriage. After he retires and the kids are gone, the distractions are also gone.
4. Flirting – Both husband and wife may resort to flirting in the workplace or in the church as a method to fill their cravings for “soul-to-soul” companionship.
5. Porn – Many men enjoy the private fantasy world of porn as a wife replacement. Through the Internet, they construct their fantastical narrative. The cyber women “virtually adore” the husband as he enjoys a temporary break from a dissatisfying marriage.
6. Friends – Women are particularly susceptible to this trap, especially her friends who want spiritual intimacy. The Bible study can become a surrogate husband to a wife who is longing for any emotional bonding.
7. Social Media – You can find the new “free therapy” outlet on the Internet. It’s your favorite social media site.
8. Approval – At the root of all of the brokenness in marriages lurks the desire to be appreciated by someone. If the wife is demanding or a nag or the husband is inattentive or harsh, the hurt spouse is tempted to look for any means to feel better.
9. Strengths – A person’s strength is their greatest weakness if they are using their strengths to fill their cravings while ignoring their marriage.
10. Distort the Truth – If your marriage is not what it should be and you don’t find help to resolve the problems, you will be tempted to alter God’s Word in some way. Perhaps you blame your spouse or justify your anger. Sin unchecked, like cancer, will cause more problems.
As you read the list, which one(s) most closely align with where you are? What would you add to the list that most closely reflects your marriage replacement temptations?
If your marriage is dissatisfying, do not ignore your “marriage replacements.” Ask God to help you identify yours and make a plan to cut it out of your life.