If you are feeling discouraged in your marriage, you may need to tweak your expectations. You are about to read one of the most important bits of counseling advice that Dr. Force shares with couples in need.
Results-Driven versus Right-Driven
Husbands and wives trying to resolve their issues have a way of setting themselves up for feelings of discouragement in marriage. They do this by being what I call results-driven instead of right-driven.
Our primary objective in life should never be to get results as much as it should be to walk in obedience to God. Whenever this is turned around in our minds, we are inviting disappointment into our lives as God seldom works on our timetable.
The scriptures speak to this subject. In Proverbs 3:6, Solomon said:
“In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.”
Notice the order in this verse. Solomon tells us that our job is to acknowledge God through faith and obedience to His Word. As we submit to His will, God will guide us into a pathway of blessing.
Unfortunately, we typically do the exact opposite of what Proverbs 3 is teaching. Our sights are usually set on what we want in life rather than Whom we should be serving. This is actually a form of disobedience no matter how Christian our actions appear to be. As Matthew Henry said, “Duty is ours, events [results] are God’s.”.
Cream Rises to the Top
Imagine with me for a few moments that you are at the bottom of a milk jug and it is your desire to get to the top. Let us also assume that you only have two choices. You can work hard at trying to swim to the top, or you can work more at becoming cream which always finds a way to rise to the surface.
Obedience to God and spiritual character development cause us to be that cream that finds a way to rise to where it needs to go. In essence, this is what the scriptures are teaching us through Proverbs 3.
For those feeling discouraged in marriage, it is best to set your sights on obedience to your marriage vows rather than how much progress you are making. At the end of the day, your goal should be to ask yourself this question:
“Did I obey my marriage vows today and, thus, walk in obedience to God?”
If the answer to that question is a resounding yes, then you will be able to find comfort in the following ways:
God rewards obedience regardless of what other people do or do not do.
Ephesians 6:8 tells us that “whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord”. This is a very applicable verse to marriage in that if a person does right, the Bible tells us that their reward does not lie in the hands of their spouse. It is in the faithful and loving hands of the Lord.
Husbands and wives that feel their happiness is controlled by their spouse are giving far too much power to their mate. Only God should hold that much power over us.
Keep in mind, on the other hand, that if your spouse has had that power over you, it is not because they have taken it. It is because you have given it away through a lack of faith in the Lord or a general misunderstanding of the scriptures. As stated earlier, God’s promises concerning your own happiness and joy never hinge upon your spouse’s obedience or disobedience to God. They only rest upon our faith or lack thereof in His Word and His precious promises.
Your future is bright no matter what your spouse does or does not do.
Whether in this life or the life to come, God promises a blessed state to those that walk in accordance to His Word. Here are a few scriptures that validate this point:
“. . . blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.” (Luke 11:28)
“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” (Psalm 1:1-3)
When it comes to your future, I do not know how or when God will fulfill these promises in your life. I also cannot guarantee what type of reaction your current spouse will have to the changes that you have been making in your marriage. What I do know is that God and all the blessings that come with Him are in the future of those that walk with Him, and He has promised that He “will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5).