We’ve talked for the past few weeks about the importance of “download” time. We’ve explored the importance of intentionally making your marriage better. But what if you’re the only one in your marriage interested in making your marriage better? Today’s “Marriage Monday” is about how to keep discouragement at bay when your spouse isn’t interested in investing in your relationship.
Marriage is a two-way street. It’s about both giving and receiving. And it takes continual investment to keep the marriage fires burning. But sometimes people find themselves in a one-sided relationship. And if that describes you, it’s very important that you know some strategies to keep you headed in the right direction.
During our difficult years, Mark and I both have seasons where we were more interested in investing in our marriage than the other one was. When one of us was really off track, the other found themselves feeling quite alone in the marriage journey. It’s not an enjoyable place to be. And it is quite a lonely place to be.
Looking back on those seasons, we can glean some lessons we learned about staying focused on your marriage even when you feel alone in doing so.
Here are some of the lessons we learned.
- Keep your eyes on the Mountain Mover and not on the mountains. Only God can change your spouse’s heart. Keep your focus on God’s truth to give you the direction and encouragement to stay strong in a difficult situation.
- Keep temptation at bay. Do not place yourself in any setting where you are with anyone of the opposite sex alone.
- Do the right things that invest in your marriage, even when it’s hard. Choose to love even when you don’t feel like it.
- Ask your spouse to do marriage activities not because you both need it, but because you need it. Sometimes an unwilling spouse will do something because their spouse needs it. (Admitting that you need something is a sign of weakness for some people. This way of making the request helps them tap into their desire to help you even when they are unwilling to seek help themselves.)
- Keep an ongoing list of the good qualities of your spouse. When you start to focus on the disappointments in your relationship, look instead at the positives you do experience.
- Pray continually. Ask God to give you the love and grace you need for each and every day.
We also found a great resource of encouragement for those in tough marriage situations. How To Act Right When Your Spouse Acts Wrong by Leslie Vernick is a great resource.
Here’s a description:
Acting right when your spouse acts wrong will not necessarily guarantee a more satisfying marital relationship, nor will it automatically make your spouse change his or her ways–although both could occur. It will, however, help you see how God is stretching you in the midst of your marital difficulties, teach you to respond wisely when wronged, and lead you into a deeper relationship with Christ as you yield your will to his plan for your life and learn to be more like him.
What about you? How have you learned to act right when your spouse acts wrong?