Addressing Marital Problems

We have been taking a look at marriage difficulties in our last several posts and how to address them biblically. This is helpful if your marriage is troubled or if you are looking for ways to disciple or biblically counsel a friend.

One question worth considering in any situation in life is what to do when problems have developed because a person knows what the right thing to do is, but does not know how to actually do what is right.

In counseling we call that failure to overcome a pattern or automatic behavior. I often use the example of an elevator. We can know what the elevator is and what it does. We can understand every process involved in that elevators operation, and have memorized the diagram or schematics of it. We even understand intellectually that getting in that elevator is faster, easier and safe- but every day we head for the stairs anyway. The stairs have become our habitual way to get from one floor to the other, and we forget to do things the new way. People trying to overcome problems in marriage can face the same problems. They know what the new right responses should be, they know that doing the new thing will make things better and honor God, and yet they continue to take the stairs!

We spend considerable time teaching our counselee’s new things about marriage because most have not been taught much at all. Many come to the altar with the wrong idea of what marriage is, for and is to be about. If there was little or no pre-marital counsel, if the couple did not grow up in Christian home, got married by someone who did not understand the biblical roles of marriage or have a correct understanding themselves of what marriage is for this is a certainty.

Often we have to begin at ground zero with couples. We go back to the fundamental truths about what God says about marriage. We want to help them to understand that marriage is not something to be taken lightly or to be entered into on a whim. I positively cringe when I watch programs on television like Bridezilla’s and Whose Wedding Is It Anyway. The focus is entirely, completely, and utterly wrong! So often the focus of the couple to be married is on the pageantry of the event and the ceremony is treated as what they have to do to “par-tay!” There is no reverence for most people regarding the marriage ceremony, and frankly there is more interest in the venue than the vows to be taken before a Holy God. God’s holy ordinance is treated casually and made mockery of.

I realize those programs are for entertainment purposes, but experience has taught me that real people have the most goofed up ideas about where marriage came from, who “created” marriage, and why we even get married. In order for the couple to have an accurate view of the fix for their marital problems, they both must learn and agree that marriage is designed by God, what the purpose of marriage is, and the obligations of marriage and so on before we can even begin to address the “read” issues the couple brings to the table.

Marriage was designed by God (Genesis 2:18-25) and its purpose is companionship.

Genesis 2:18 – “it is not good for man to be alone”

Man was found to need a companion, a helper, and God created someone who was an equal. God showed Adam through the parade of creation that he was incomplete without someone to complement him. God created Eve to assist Adam in fulfilling the task of filling, multiplying, and taking dominion over the earth. Adam was inadequacy without Eve. MacArthur says woman was made by God to meet man’s deficiency.—MacArthur—

Next time- sexual purity

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