Dealing With a Difficult Marriage Part 3: Don’t Let It Change You for the Worse But for the Better

(photo source)

In this series:

Dealing with a Difficult Marriage Part 1: Do Not Dwell in Your Hurts for a Long Time
Dealing with a Difficult Marriage Part 2: Make a Firm Commitment to Obey Gods Word No Matter What 

It is not our job to change our husbands. That’s an impossible task to do. Until we accept that fact, we wouldn’t stop trying and then failing and being frustrated with the futility of our efforts. Changing a person’s heart is the work of God. That’s why we should never grow faint in offering constant, earnest prayers for ourselves, our husbands and children, for only God can do wonders and miracles in a person’s life.

But, empowered and guided by the Holy Spirit, there are things that we can do to help improve ourselves and our relationships. When we find ourselves in a difficult marriage, we may become bitter and deteriorate into an “ugly”, pitiable person, or we may become a better, stronger, more beautiful woman of God, as the Lord has intended us to become by putting us into our difficult situation in the first place. He wants us to be overcomers.

Many times in the Book of Revelations, the Lord Jesus speaks of the wonderful blessings for those who overcome. We must understand, therefore, that as long as we are at the center of God’s will for us, He will deliver us from whatever difficult situation we are in. In the meantime that we are waiting for Him to transform our marriage, we may focus ourselves into doing the following:

       1.  Live Past Our Disappointments

As long as we adhere to the belief that we have married the wrong person and that he is hopeless, our married lives will become exactly that – beyond repair, hopeless. We can never think and see any good thing about him and our situation. We become torn between thinking of maybe-a-happier-life without him and living a life that does its best to completely ignore him. In both situations, we know that these are not the will of the Lord.

But if we understand and accept that the Lord put that person in our life, especially as sacred a commitment as marriage, then we can rest in the thought that we are not in the wrong relationship but only a difficult passage of our married life. And we can stop thinking that there could be a better life outside of it. On the other hand, we can trust in the Lord that He is with us in this and thus, we will be emboldened to recommit ourselves into the marriage and do our best to make it work.

        2.  Keep the Stance of Constant Forgiveness

This doesn’t mean that we delight in evil or rejoice about injustice, for love does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out (1 Cor. 13:6 NLT), but we do it to liberate ourselves from the burden of unforgiveness, keeping the Lord’s words to forgive “seventy times seven” (Mat. 18:22). Meaning, we should forgive even until we have lost count.

When he seems to be unremorseful, we pray. We pray for grace to forgive even that, too, and rest in the truth that God is righteous and just.

       3.  Re-examine Ourselves

As we wait for the Lord’s help, we can spend this time to search our hearts. Turn the waiting period into a cleansing time wherein we strain to really look inside us and examine our attitudes that might have been annoying to our spouses. Since we realized we cannot change our husbands, then we can turn our attention to ourselves. Maybe there are still things in us that we need to work on and improve. Maybe when we have removed the “mote in our eye”, we can begin to see that it’s not really “a beam” that is lodged in our spouse’s eye (Mat. 7; I intentionally reversed whose is the mote and whose is the beam)! Meaning, maybe if change started in us, removing those things that, upon our thorough studying, irk our spouses, things will improve.

      4.  Make Our Baseline Love, Peace and Friendliness

Maybe we have lived in on-and-off hostilities too long that we have become used to treating each other unterderly. Both partners have become used to criticizing, snapping, and even insulting each other.

Start making your baseline love, peace, and friendliness. Meaning, do not automatically think that the other is hostile making us react in the same way, but always presume that he means well, even if sometimes, he slips. Let nothing fall below this baseline where hostility resides.

Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it. (1 Pet. 3:11 NLT)

This is most effective if both spouses agree amicably to set this as the standard and commit to keeping it.

Practice dwelling on the side of love, peace and friendliness all the time, and not on the side of animosity. If one feels that the other is deliberately and actively being antagonistic, do not do the same. Instead, remind him gently but clearly.

Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. (Eph. 4:15)

       5.  Be a Shining Light

Never forget that we were created for God’s glory and the best way to be that is to be a shining light to others, showing them that He lives in us.

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. (Mat. 5:16 NIV)

So, that being our motivation, let our actions give glory to His name: treating our husbands with respect and loving and caring for our family unflinchingly even if we’re hurting.

Next Monday, by God’s grace, Dealing With a Difficult Marriage Part 4: Focus on Your Marriage and Not on Others’ Marriages.


My weekly gratitude list – thankful to the Lord for His gifts:

  • the uniting power of need and trials
  • having a sweet, restful slumber with my little Tim, all warm and chubby curled up beside me and snoring away ~ 🙂
  • the beauty of words that give light and heal – grace from the Word
  • morning by morning, waking up to new and refreshing inspirations from my Lord and King!
  • learning that our new housekeeper does nails, too!

20 comments on “Dealing With a Difficult Marriage Part 3: Don’t Let It Change You for the Worse But for the Better

  1. Tereasa says:

    I amreally enjoying this series! This post is applicable to all relationships. I can especially see it helpful with difficult children. Thank-you, sister.

    • RinaPeru says:

      I’m glad you see it that way, Tereasa. Yes, it’s exactly what I posted on FB, that the lessons here are also applicable in other relationship problems. Thank you, sweet friend!

  2. Beth says:

    Great words of wisdom here, Rina! I’m so glad you’re making this topic a focus of your blog. I’ll be back to see more! 🙂

  3. Joan says:

    As I started reading your post, your first line jumped right out at me! You are so right! We cannot change our husbands…or any person for that matter. God is the one in the business of changing hearts. What is important is to get ourselves right with God and then be an example of love and light in our homes. Blessings! Joan

    • RinaPeru says:

      To “be an example of love and light in our homes” and to others… Exactly, Joan! And this is what I’m taking hold on to as I write my next post: The Transforming Power of Love {Christlike Love}.

      Blessings, too!

  4. Hazel Moon says:

    Your points are with wisdom given you by the Lord. It is important to treat the other person in the marriage with courtesy and respect and hope that it will be returned. Thank the person for acts that please you and complement on their appearance. Soft and sweet words are so important.

  5. patsy says:

    I remember reading the story of Joyce Meyer and how she was a very difficult wife. Her husband was patient and loving, and look what happened to Joyce Meyer!!! God’s grace! It is amazing!

  6. Dawn says:

    Hi Rina,
    Glad I found you, and appreciate this post. We can always choose our response in every circumstance through Him who empowers us. This is possible only by His amazing grace. Grateful for His provision. Dependent on it and still learning to live in that empowerment daily.

    • RinaPeru says:

      Oh, Dawn, I thank the Lord Jesus for bringing you here! Yes, nurturing our marriages through the Lord’s strength and guidance is really a continuous learning process which needs our dedicated, unselfish efforts.


  7. You are absolutely right, Rina. I must look at my husband as having been brought to me by God for my own good, because he was. I must not only respect him, but want to respect him. I must love him in kindness, in agape love, because I cannot love God if I do not. I must remember that his reactions, the outcome of events, is not the measure of our marriage’s success. Whether I can allow God’s glory to overcome my own desires and prejudices and preconceptions is.

    • RinaPeru says:

      Thank you for these beautiful words you have so kindly added in, Joanne. Yes, we must intentionally and consciously respect our husbands for this is the will of the Lord.

  8. Joe Pote says:

    I like this series, Rina, and thank you for blogging on this important topic.

    I think that every marriage has difficult times, and your points are applicable in those situations…as much for the husband as for the wife.

    I have found it to also be helpful to check my own motives. If I am acting unusually defensive, there is a good chance it is rooted in a wrong motive on my part…such as acting in love with the expectation of reciprocal behavior, rather than out of true motivation to bless my spouse.

    As a side note, I assume you are talking, in this series, about common relational difficulties and not about repeatedly escalating abusive situations, which should be handled quite differently.

    Thanks much and God bless!

    • RinaPeru says:

      Thank you for adding your insights, Joe, which are surely helpful in this discussion. No, I’m not talking about physical abusive behavior for then, as you’ve said, it should be handled differently. In part 1 of this series, I laid down some of the problems that Christian marriages encounter and those are the bases of this discussion.

  9. great series that you are posting on your blog. and helpful reminders even when our relationships are going well. i will keep your blog in mind and pass the link on. thanks for sharing!

  10. You can never change another person, you can only change yourself. Marriage is difficult in many ways because women and men have different brains and see life in different perspectives… What we all need to realise is that when we disagree with anything, whether it be our marriage or job or whatever, then we are complaining about Gods Will for us. We all need to learn and we are all being shaped into a usable vessel. Your advice is sound and wise. Well said. Hugs from Australia~~

    • RinaPeru says:

      Thank you Crystal Mary, for joining in the discussion and sharing your insights. We are all learning here as we unselfishly share with one another the valuable lessons we’ve learned from our own marriages and close walk with the Savior. {Hugs}


  11. Charlotte says:

    Thank you for sharing these very helpful tips, Rina. I think probably all marriages are difficult in some respects. And it’s so true. We’re not going to change anybody. They won’t change unless they want to change and, of course, that applies to both partners. Too many times we want to change our husband, but don’t want to make changes in our own selves.

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