Dr. Gary Rosberg and his wife, Barbara, are familiar with the troubles that can plague a marriage. As marriage coaches who host a call-in radio show, the Rosbergs take calls every day from people who are experiencing marital problems.
Regardless of what the problem is in the relationship, the Rosbergs said, the true issue is usually a matter of the heart.
“The question may be:
‘Why did my husband commit adultery?’
‘Why does my wife pay more attention to the kids than me?’
‘Why is somebody using the internet inappropriately?’
‘Why does somebody hide money?’ or
‘Why has somebody given up on spiritual intimacy in our marriage?'”
“But all of those issues ultimately draw down to the condition of the heart,” Gary said.
When spouses harden their heart against their mate, they begin to disconnect or push each other away, the marriage coaches said. When this continues for months or years, often the couple decides that the relationship will no longer work.
But the Rosbergs encourage couples: don’t be so quick to throw in the towel. They offer several steps that are essential to repairing a broken marriage.
- Don’t Give Up!
It is never easy to face marital problems and deal with the pain and wounds that have been inflicted. But if couples are willing to stay and tough it out, Gary said, research has shown that they can usually restore the marriage and be happier than before.
“Those kind of hurts, those fears, those betrayals, those conflicts — whatever those things are — they are all valid, and they break our hearts,” he said. “I’ve done 25,000 hours of marriage counseling, so I’m very tuned in to the reality of that pain. Yet here is what you find. When people stay, invariably they get to the other side of it and become happy in their marriages.”
He points to research where couples were surveyed about the happiness of their marriage over five years. Eighty-five percent of the couples who reported being in either an “unhappy marriage” or a “very unhappy marriage,” that stayed in the relationship, five years later reported being either “happy” or “very happy”. “Now that is secular research,” Gary said. “Imagine the power of the Holy Spirit in the midst of that.”
- Surrender the relationship to God.
The first step to improving the relationship is for the couple to surrender themselves and their marriage to God.
“We have to choose to humble ourselves first before God, and then secondly, seek a restorative plan in the marriage that honors God, honors our mate, and puts the relationship above whatever issue we are going through in the marriage,” Barbara said.
- Offer forgiveness to your spouse.
Often there are offenses that both spouses need to be willing to forgive.
They identify four steps of forgiveness that include confession, sorrow, repentance, and ultimately the restoration of the relationship.
The process, which they refer to as “closing the loop,” is not always easy. It can be easy to say, “I forgive you,” Gary said, but there needs to be more discussion if the couple intends to really put the issue behind them. What did the person do? How did it affect his or her spouse? Is the person truly sorry? Does he or she want to restore the relationship?
“When those four parts are there, the relationships begin to heal,” Gary said.
If these issues are not addressed, the result can be an “open” or unresolved conflict that can eventually evolve into anger and resentment that one spouse harbours against the other.
Since every spouse will eventually hurt his or her partner in some way, it is important that couples master these steps of forgiving love. When forgiving love is exercised these loops, or opportunities for bitterness to grow, are closed and the relationship becomes more secure.
- Connect spiritually with your spouse.
Another important step to improving a troubled marriage is for the couple to pursue spiritual intimacy together.
“Spiritual intimacy connects two hearts as well as two spirits,” Gary said. “Often when the horizontal relationship is clogged, it is reflecting that the vertical relationship is messed up. So what we coach people on is when a husband is walking with Christ, when a wife is walking with Christ, it is out of the overflow of that spiritual intimacy with Jesus that the horizontal relationship will connect.”
The best way to connect spiritually is to pray together, he said. Many times couples feel insecure about praying with each other so they avoid it. “We coach guys to go home and take your wife’s hand, sit down, tell her, ‘I’m not really good at this, but I love you. I’m committed to you. Let’s just do this,’” Gary said.
- Seek help and support as you work through marital problems.
Scripture warns, “Pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!” (Ecc. 4:10). This idea applies to marriages too, Gary said. Often, they see marriages end because couples have no one to support and encourage them as they work through problems.
The support of a marriage counsellor, or another married couple serving as their mentors, can help a couple repair the relationship.
“Imagine if a guy falls down and another guy picks him up,” Gary said, “and another gal picks up his wife, and they say, ‘We’ll fight for your marriage with you.’ That’s what Barb and I have given our lives to.”
In addition to pursuing counselling, couples can find principles to repair their marriage in one of the Rosbergs’ books, Healing the Hurt in Your Marriage.
- Pray for your spouse.
The Rosbergs encourage couples to take their 30-day challenge.
At the same time each day, find a place where you can be alone and pray for your spouse. “Tell God how frustrated you are,” Barbara said. “Tell God your hurts. If you’re angry, He knows it. Get it out of your system. Just get it off your chest. Talk to the Lord and then ask, ‘Father, how do I pray for my spouse? How do I understand where we are at?’”
The important thing, she said, is giving God the marriage and seeking His ways to restore the relationship. “Pray in such a fashion for the next 30 days,” she said, “and watch God begin to restore your heart, restore your marriage, and set you both on your feet and walking places you thought you’d never walk together again.”
“We believe that if you just stay and then you open up your heart to the restorative work of the Holy Spirit of God, that relationship has got great hope,” Gary said. “The biggest mistake is that people cut and run. The culture says cut and run. What we want to say is stay.”
This article first appeared here –
God always makes a way. Sometimes it’s not in our timing or even in the direction we were perhaps thinking BUT He will make a way.
For many of us in seeking guidance, pleading for prayers to be answered or pondering transition, we would love nothing more than God to turn up and part the Red Sea, or send a ram to sacrifice instead of a son, or even perform a miracle that would completely change our circumstances.
In these times of waiting and pondering, praying and seeking, a great scripture to hold on to is Philippians 2v13&14. ‘For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose!’
God is at work in our lives even in the waiting. It’s all part of the process. We need to remain confident in the truth of God’s love for us and that He is at work in our lives for His Glory.
When one door shuts another one really does open. With a surrendered heart to God’s will, we can trust that He is working out the best fulfilment of his purposes for our lives. Remember, He sees what we don’t. When we hurt over a door that didn’t open, a ministry charge that didn’t call us, a sweetheart that didn’t want to marry us etc., we need to trust in these moments that God isn’t spoiling our lives but perhaps actually saving us from something that would.
I have always loved the analogy of the tapestry poem. It has most definitely been comforting in times of trial or confusion and not being able to find God’s way. This poem became all the more meaningful years after discovery when I learnt that the author was none other than Corrie Ten Boom. For any who don’t know, Corrie Ten boom was a remarkable woman with incredible faith. A woman of courage, she hid hundreds of Jewish prisoners and then becoming a prisoner herself in the Nazi Camps of the Second World War.
May the words of this poem - bring fresh perspective and fresh hope if you are in a season of waiting on God to make a way. Whether it’s a yes, a no, or a not yet.. He will answer your prayers. Hold fast and trust His hand at work in and over every aspect of your life.
“Life is but a Weaving” (the Tapestry Poem)
My life is but a weaving
Between my God and me.
I cannot choose the colors
He weaveth steadily.
Oft’ times He weaveth sorrow;
And I in foolish pride
Forget He sees the upper
And I the underside.
Not ’til the loom is silent
And the shuttles cease to fly
Will God unroll the canvas
And reveal the reason why.
The dark threads are as needful
In the weaver’s skillful hand
As the threads of gold and silver
In the pattern He has planned
He knows, He loves, He cares;
Nothing this truth can dim.
He gives the very best to those
Who leave the choice to Him.”
Corrie ten Boom
There is a town where only ducks live. Every Sunday the ducks waddle out of their houses and waddle down Main Street to their church. They waddle into the sanctuary and squat in their proper pews. The duck choir waddles in and takes its place, then the duck minister comes forward and opens the duck Bible. (Ducks, like all other creatures on earth, seem to have their own special version of Scriptures.) He reads to them: “Ducks! God has given you wings! With wings you can fly! With wings you can mount up and soar like eagles. No walls can confine you! No fences can hold you! You have wings. God has given you wings and you can fly like birds!”
All the ducks shouted, “Amen!” And they all waddled home.
Short story by Tony Campolo
It’s good to laugh. It’s actually really good for us to laugh. Good for our mental, physical, and emotional health. Even the bible tells us that laughter is like medicine! (Psalm 17v22)
A good, hearty laugh relieves physical tension and stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes after. Laughter boosts the immune system. Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease. Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals.
Whatever is going on in your world and mine, take a moment to relax and see the funny side in the following best funny comments from children. Enjoy a good laugh, even perhaps a smile or two! It is so important not to take ourselves or the pressures of life too seriously.
-A mother took her three-year-old daughter to church for the first time. The church lights were lowered, and then the choir came down the aisle, carrying lighted candles. All was quiet until the little one started to sing in a loud voice, “Happy birthday to you, Happy birthday to you.”
-A 6-year-old was overheard reciting the Lord’s Prayer at a church service: “And forgive us our trash passes as we forgive those who passed trash against us.”
-A little girl became restless as the preacher’s sermon dragged on and on. Finally, she leaned over to her mother and whispered, “Mommy, if we give him the money now, will he let us go?”
-A child came home from Sunday School and told his mother that he had learned a new song about a cross-eyed bear named Gladly. It took his mother a while before she realized that the hymn was really “Gladly The Cross I’d Bear.”
-A wife invited some people to dinner. At the table, she turned to their six-year old daughter and said, “Would you like to say the blessing?
“I wouldn’t know what to say,” the girl replied. “Just say what you hear Mommy say,” the wife answered. The daughter bowed her head and said, “Lord, why on earth did I invite all these people to dinner?”
-A Sunday school class was studying the Ten Commandments. They were ready to discuss the last one. The teacher asked if anyone could tell her what it was. Susie raised her hand, stood tall, and quoted, “Thou shall not take the covers off the neighbour’s wife.”
D . MacNeil
Yesterday, I posted about what to do when church work just hurts. (www.chucklawless.com/2019/09/7-things-to-do-when-church-work-just-hurts/) Today, here are some the reasons I still love ministry, even when it’s tough.
- For whatever reason, God has called us to this task.Why He chooses to use any of us—particularly me—is beyond my comprehension. It’s humbling, overwhelming, and gratifying at the same time.
- What we do has eternal significance.Every day, I know that what God allows me to do matters. Even the hard conversations and actions that ministry sometimes requires are about helping others walk with an eternal God.
- The love of God’s people is special.I have Christian friends I’ve shepherded and who’ve shepherded me who are as close to me as any blood relative. God has a cool way of making us brothers and sisters.
- We have the incredible responsibility—and privilege—to help others know, understand, and follow God’s Word.If we genuinely believe the Bible is God’s Word, we ought to be amazed by our opportunity to teach it. Even having God’s entire Word in our hands ought to humble us.
- Few people get the honor of sharing life with others like pastors do. Who else gets to share life from birth to death, often being invited to be a part of every major celebration and heartache in between? There’s a sweetness to that access that’s quite a blessing.
- We get an up-close look at the transforming power of the gospel.We can tell stories of lives dramatically changed through an encounter with Jesus – and we get to watch newborn believers grow into maturity.
- We’re privileged to raise up the next generation of gospel leaders and send them out.We don’t always do that task well, but we nevertheless get to pave the way for others to do greater things than we’ve done.
- We’re never alone in this work.The Spirit of God lives in us. He places us in His body with other believers who journey with us. Even in our toughest days, God reminds us of His presence.
This article first speared here.