Faith in God is obeying Him and leaving all the consequences to Him. This is why Proverbs 3:6 teaches:
“In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”
Our primary concern is never to be a specific result as much as our obedience to our Heavenly Father. In fact, I often share with couples in need that when we try to control the consequences of our actions, we are, in a subtle way, trying to play God in our lives and marriage.
Solving Your Marriage Problems
When it comes to solving your marriage issues, are you focused on the result or your responsibility before God? There is a distinct difference and the difference can be the dividing line between success and failure.
Spouses that release the consequences of their behavior to God will find the following:
They will be far less likely to be accused of being controlling.
Many that are accused of being controlling are a little bewildered because that is not their goal. The end game they are looking for is often to have a better relationship, but they err by hyper-focusing on a specific result. The problem with going after a specific result is that they will often come across as too intense, calculating, or, worse yet, desperate.
Spouses in such a case will do well to stay in the moment and focus on their role rather than how their behavior affects the other person.
They will appear more attractive to their spouse.
Nobody wants a charity case. They want a spouse that can stand on their own two feet with a spirit of confidence.
Keep in mind that the certainty of the goal determines the stability of your spirit. And, if you have a goal that you can reach every day despite the behavior of your spouse, then you will find it much easier to sustain a stable spirit.
They will have much more endurance to stay in the game.
90 percent of success is showing up. Too many spouses jump ship because they feel they are not getting the results they desire, however, the winner is usually the one that can stay the course over a long period of time.
They will not come across as being selfish.
When a spouse acts in a kind manner to get a specific result, the other person will often feel they are using good behavior as a form of control. This is always detrimental to the problem-solving process.
What This All Means
In short, this all means the following:
How do you rate your day?
When your focus is obedience to God rather than a specific result, then your goal is not so much seeing change in the other person as much as how well you obeyed your marriage vows.
I find it essential to encourage spouses to get to the end of the day and ask themselves, “Did I obey God and my marriage vows today?” If the answer is yes, then that now becomes your standard of success. Any other approach leads to tremendous discouragement as other people rarely change on our own time-table.
Take on a more simplified approach to your day
Instead of thinking, “What will work to win their heart?”, your focus now becomes, “How can I obey God today?” Notice the difference. You are no longer playing chess with your spouse. Simply put, you are obeying God and leaving the consequences in His Hands. You will find this to be a less stressful approach.
Take your behavior to a higher level
Few people wake up wanting to ruin their day. There is always a trap door of reason they open that leads to their demise.
In other words, if you start out with the goal of changing the way your spouse perceives you, then, at some point, you will be conflicted when they do not have a view of you that aligns with your expectations. It is at this point that people will often move toward their last resort in securing that result: guilt, anger, pouting, or mind-manipulation
However, if the goal is to obey God, you will find it easier to stay away from using such antics. In fact, you will utterly abhor such behavior as it will do little to help you reach your goal of obeying God and leaving all the consequences to Him.
A little food for thought . . . Dr. Force
Chapter 6 of our marriage book covers this subject in detail . . . check out our Marriage Book to learn How to Fight for Your Marriage Without Fighting With One Another.