basic principles to help a struggling marriage

Seven Basic Practices to Help a Struggling Marriage

My husband and I both grew up in divorced homes and neither of us had great role models for our own individual roles. As a result, we were somewhat handicapped going into marriage. My husband definitely married a fixer upper. The one thing we had on our side was that we were both Christians and we loved the Lord. We also had good premarital counseling and a solid Biblical understanding of marriage.

However, when the rubber hit the road, after we walked down the aisle things were quite tough that first year. I honestly don’t remember much about it other than it was tough, tougher than I thought it would be for us.

I can only give God the glory for the fact that we are still married and still very much love (we even like each other!).  Below are a few basics that I felt helped us though some of the tough times.

The Seven “Basics”

1. Examine yourself

One of the first things to do when struggling in a marriage is to examine yourself before the Lord. One thing is certain… your husband is a sinner and so is his wife. Go to the Lord and ask Him to show you your part in a problem or conflict, where you have sinned or are possibly harboring a sinful attitude and then to confess it to the Lord.

1 Cor. 11:28 “But a man must examine himself”

Proverbs 28:13 says “he who covers his sin will not prosper.”

2. Watch your thought life.

What do you think about in regards to your husband? Do you focus on ways he is not adding up or meeting your needs or do you instead ponder the ways he blesses you?

Proverbs 23:7 says “as a man thinketh in his heart so is he.”

Philippians 4:8  “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honorable, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

3. Communicate Biblically

This means communicating with our husbands in a kind and respectful manner without nagging, using sarcasm, or being scornful. If, after communicating in a loving way, our husbands do not listen, we must then give it to the Lord.

4. Pray – Always pray for your marriage.

Prayer is very powerful and I have seen the Lord work in our marriage as a result of prayer.

Philippians 4:6-7 “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

5. Draw near to the Lord.

God intends for our primary relationship to be with Him. Our husbands were never meant to fulfill all our needs and desires in life. Sometimes God allows frustrations in our marriages to remind us to seek God first and to make our relationship with Him a priority in our lives.

Psalm 145:18 “The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call on Him in truth.”

Psalm 1:1&2  “How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the path of sinners,
Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!
But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law he meditates day and night.”

6. Have a date night.

Remember to have fun and to go out once in a while.

Proverbs 5:18 “Rejoice with the wife of your youth.”

7. Submit to your husband.

This topic is pretty unpopular today even among the churched. However, it is the word of God so let us consider carefully what it says.

Ephesians 5:22 “Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord.”

There have been times in my marriage when I disagreed with my husband on an issue. Sometimes I submitted even though I sure I was right and sometimes I did not. Without exception, I regret the times that I did not submit to my husband and can look back and see how things would have been different if I would have followed God’s instructions on submission to my husband. (The exception to this is if a husband forbids his wife from a Biblical command like reading the Bible or going to church or if the husband commands the wife to do something sinful.)

Concluding Thoughts

Your husband is not the enemy. Satan, your enemy, would love to destroy your marriage and your life.

The idea of leaving and cleaving presents the picture of being in an ocean and hanging onto a life raft. If you were in an ocean and there was a storm raging, you would hang onto the life raft for dear life. That is the picture of cleaving. Think of your marriage as a life raft.

Most of us at one point or another have struggles in marriage. However, by taking seriously what the Bible says about God, marriage communication, and spousal relationships, and through the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit, we can see God enable and bless our marriages.

The Glory of God changes everything


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