Habits in Troubled Marriages

"Consider others better than yourselves..." Philippians 2:3 (NASB)

Many marriages so south because sinful habits and practices have developed and gone unchallenged. These begin to erode the oneness in the relationship and chip away at the foundations of the marriage. Because few marriages are truly Christ-centered these days it does not take long for the foundations to crumble. Remember Jesus illustration of the houses built on solid ground or sinking sand? It obviously applies to marriages as well! Marriages that are based on how the other person "makes me feel" or on a constant demand for affection and attention from the other person will struggle. However, I find that most marriages today are based on just those ideals.

Sinful attitudes and practices in a marriage can and must be overcome. Marriages have been healed and restored to better than new condition when one or both people determine in their hearts to honor God and live by what His Word says.

Communication is one of the weakest areas of most marriages. It seems people just don't learn how to talk to one another anymore and so corrupt communication is rampant. Either it is is limited to texting, twittering, and emailing or it is non-existent. Women complain all the time that their husbands don't talk to them. I also hear that when they do talk there is a lack of honesty and integrity and too often there is cursing and abusive speech. Communication is more than words! Our counseling center has an entire module on Biblical Communication. If this is an area you struggle with, get some training and help in this area!

Another common area of marriage breakdown is selfishness or self-centeredness. Nothing destroys a marriage faster than selfishness. Scripture tells us to be others focused not self-focused. Learn the One Another's of Scripture and practice them toward your husband.

Another troublesome area is a lack of discipline on the part of one or both of you. This is revealed in many ways; poor house keeping- dishes piled in the sink, laundry everywhere, poor bill paying and record keeping, how you spend the money you earn, debt and so on. When these are out of order it reveals a lack of discipline. Living this way is very stressful because it seems you are always a day late and a dollar short, and running around like your hair is on fire. Discipline is an aspect of godliness. If you are not a disciplined woman you need to work on developing this aspect of sanctification.

A huge area of discord right now is financial. With the economy in such bad shape many couples are finding they just don't have enough money to meet their obligations. It is causing a tremendous rise in abuse and divorce because marriages that were fragile before are now stressed to the breaking point. Consider getting in a financial recovery program. I would suggest Dave Ramsey because I have found him to be reasonable, down to earth and accurate.

Now it is important to point out that all these problems are symptoms of a greater problem. They are what I consider to be fruit issues because they are resulting from something else that is out of line. When a tree begins to produce bad fruit that is not good to eat because it is bitter or wormy or mealy we know there is a problem elsewhere with that tree. We must go to the roots of the tree and determine what that tree is taking in through the soil, or what is attacking the tree and causing it to bear bad fruit. Only by attacking the real issues of the heart will changes take place.