Discontentment causes people to feel that their environment needs to change, when, in many cases (yet not all), the problem is not their environment, but the instability in their heart. (James 4:1-2)
Discontent spouses often feel they received the short end of the the stick in life, rushed into matrimony, married the wrong person, or suffer from incompatibility issues. They even find a way to turn Christian teachings into a weapon as they compare their spouse to the perfect standard of scriptures, thus feeling justified in holding resentment toward them. The problem, however, is that in holding tightly to the ideal picture of marriage, they let go of those other commands that teach us that love covers a multitude of sins. (I Peter 4:8)
Marriage is only consistently beautiful once we embrace the ugliness of it.
Yes, there is an ugly side of marriage. (I Corinthians 7:28) We all know that it exists, and it shouts out a message to us that we are all under the strain of sin. (Romans 8:23) It teaches us that we are all badly in need of eternal redemption, and, until then, I encourage spouses to find what is praiseworthy and focus accordingly. (Philippians 4:8) Then and only then will our emotional wilderness start to resemble a garden.
To be utterly frank, I feel that the difference between many couples that enjoy a great marriage versus those that struggle is that they have learned to embrace the difficulties while others allow them to become a wedge between themselves.
In chapter 9 of our marriage book, we discuss the importance of wielding the sword of thankfulness to better fight for your marriage. Order our marriage book, How to Fight for Your Marriage Without Fighting With One Another, at our online resource center.