What to do when you think you don’t like your spouse anymore…First Things First series, Part 4

You’ve hit a bit of a dry, rough patch in your marriage and your reservoir of feel-good-feelings towards your mate has evaporated.

The things he or she does that you once admired or found charming now grate on your very last nerve. And maybe that young woman at work, or that single dad at your child’s school, the one who listens attentively to your every word, smiling warmly, is conjuring up some really good feel-good-feelings.

Beware!

When we choose to succumb to disenchantment with our husband or wife, satan is crouching at the door, ready to unleash a hail storm that will bring down our home and marriage quicker than any wolf can huff and puff.

But God!

Hopefully your house is already built and being maintained on a solid Rock foundation. For if God is for us, who can come against us? Unfortunately, sometimes the enemy against us is…us.

Because sometimes we carry a grudge list.

Wives may nag about what they don’t like; husbands perhaps play the Holy Spirit as they name their wife’s sins one by one. And there is nothing wrong with lovingly, calmly bringing up an issue with your spouse. But present it as a good sandwich and cover it with prayer. And dear readers, if your spouse is sincerely pursuing Christ with you, well, they already know their bad. God is amazingly good at conviction. A steady stream of in-your-face reminders of  sin will only drive a wedge or build a wall, but will never create a bridge between two hearts that deepens love and trust.

So what’s a spouse to do about all those “bad” things their spouse does that has made them feel that they no longer like them?

Since we each can only ever change ourselves, here’s something to try.
{This list idea was inspired by the writing of the late Becky Zerbe and is further elaborated on here.}

>Take a sheet of paper and fold in half.

>On the left list all of your spouse’s most annoying traits. (And I’m sure we’ll have no problem filling up the page with what they do wrong.)

>On the right side of the page list how you typically respond to your spouse’s “bad.” Yep, list the sinful things you say or do in response. The ones, perhaps, that you excuse because he or she made me do it.

>Be honest and be brave. God sees and knows it all. Your spouse’s heart and your’s, too.

>Next, take a pair of scissors and cut the list in half.

>Crumple up and throw your spouse’s list away.

>Take your list and bring each item to God in prayer. One by one, repent for each of your wrong responses and ask God for help in changing you.

Pray for agape, patience, maturity, wisdom, and acceptance of your spouse. Take them as they are, trusting that God makes each of us better as we choose to submit to His ways not to our spouse’s insisting or moaning. We all want and need to know that we are loved and valued just as we are, warts and all.

And marriage is a promise to take each other, and keep each other — forsaking all others — for better and for worse.

Not a single one of us is perfect — only One. And your spouse is not your child nor your student. Your spouse, your beloved one flesh other, is your partner for life, neither greater nor less than you.

Fellow heirs of the grace of life. 1 Peter 3:7

And your spouse is not, nor ever will be, your clone. His or her unique personality, with its various strengths and weaknesses — all those imperfections that make you unhappy and prompt you to complain — are the perfect fit for you, chisels that God uses to smooth out and soften your stony heart.

So start working on you and see what happens. 

Forget about that feeling that you don’t like your spouse. Feelings come and go. Feelings change as our hearts, thoughts and actions change. So think the most excellent thoughts about your spouse and start gifting them with your acts of love. 

And then focus on what God doesn’t like in you and concentrate on fixing that…

Please come back for future posts in the First Things First series with practical helps for deepening discipleship and by extension improving your marriage. So you don’t miss out, subscribe now by clicking on the box.

First Things First series, Part 1

Part 2 — Annual Marriage Checkup 

Part 3 — God Changes Marriages as He Changes Hearts

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4 thoughts on “What to do when you think you don’t like your spouse anymore…First Things First series, Part 4

  1. This is a GREAT post!
    I’m going to make my list…not just for my spouse but also other loved ones that push my buttons.

    This goes right along with my Bible study yesterday about not giving an inch to sin. There are no “small or refined sins”. Sin is sin. I can’t justify it. It doesn’t matter if someone “made me upset”.
    I can’t control circumstances but I can decide how I will respond. I can’t control people, but I can decide to love them even if they don’t “deserve” it.

    Thanks for this amazing post. LOVE IT!

    • It’s a humbling process, to look at, confront and change your own sinful ways. Yet we are each called to be His disciples and there is no way around making excuses for our sins. I like your idea about making lists for use with others than spouse. Good idea, TC.