Do you ever find yourself feeling critical, resentful, defensive, or closed off toward your spouse during a conflict? If so, you are not alone.
If you answer yes to the question above you’re not alone. All marriages struggle. Christians and christian marriages are not immune. Even though many Christians desire to become more like Christ they are in process. This means reacting defensively in the ways described above is going to happen. However, one of the purposes of marriage is to become more like Christ. This means learning to love sacrificially and unconditionally. Learning how to move from a place of selfishness to selflessness. We all fall short. Thankfully, there is grace and help for the inevitable moments we are less than Christ-like. Read on to learn 3 steps you can implement today to grow your marriage.
During the dating phase couples do a great job of pursuing one another. They spend time together having fun and getting to know each other. This mutual pursuit often happens naturally and with little effort. For many couples it becomes more difficult to continue pursuing each other once life’s challenges and complexities settle in.
As Christians, we know and believe that God never stops pursuing us. God desires to be in intimate relationship with us. We are God’s beloved! In the same way God pursues us we are to pursue each other. This can be as simple as taking time to step out of the daily grind, grab a cup of coffee, and share your heart with your spouse. It can be keeping a journal to share between the two of you where you share your innermost thoughts and feelings.
There are many wonderful ways to keep pursuing each other. My encouragement is to make sure you are not too busy or taking your spouse for granted. Surprise him or her today with something you know will be meaningful and special.
Holiness Over Happiness
We all know that marriage will reveal who you really are. The good and bad parts of you as well as your strengths and weaknesses will be known. I’ve already talked about one of the purposes of marriage is to help you be more like Christ. This concept is one many Christians understand from teachings in Scripture. In the book, Sacred Marriage, by Gary Thomas he poses the following question: “What if God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy?” This question challenges the very American idea that the pursuit of happiness will fulfill you. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think there is anything wrong with pursuing things in life that bring happiness. The difference, however, is if that is your main goal in marriage you will most likely end up miserable.
Putting your spouse and their needs before your own is, in my opinion, a step towards holiness and becoming more like Christ. To be holy means to be set apart. We are set apart in that we love our spouse and others more than we love ourselves. In my experience, happiness is more a fruit of holiness. When I prioritize my wife over myself experience to joy of loving her. I don’t have to worry about my needs because she is putting me and my needs before her own. Of course we don’t love each other like this all of the time. This is where more grace and understanding abounds as we are in the process of sanctification.
When you are connected to your spouse in a safe and secure attachment you will be healthier and holier. Conversely, the healthier and holier you are means the marriage relationship also becomes healthier and holier. Both the individual and the marriage benefit in an interdependent relationship. Co-creator of Emotionally Focused Therapy, Sue Johnson, says it this way, “Being the ‘best you can be’ is really only possible when you are deeply connected to another. Splendid isolation is for planets, not people.”
You were made to experience deep connection with God, your spouse, and others. Isolation and disconnection are inherently traumatizing. In fact, it is like death. I think Jesus talks about the concept of interdependence when he refers to himself as the vine and to us as the branches. As we abide in Him, and in each other, we experience the greatest force in all of the universe: love. John 15:5:
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit…”
Let us rest in love and love one another as God has loved the world.
Schedule Christian Marriage Counseling in Phoenix, Scottsdale, or online throughout all of Arizona
Marital issues can be highly complex and are often rooted in our deepest emotional attachment needs. Whether you have identified specific issues to address or feel unsure why you feel disconnected from your partner, meeting with a Christian couples counselor can greatly benefit your marriage.
By creating a space for you and your spouse to safely address your concerns, your counselor can assist you in finding resolutions and healing to help your marriage flourish. Our offices are conveniently located throughout the Valley of the Sun including Phoenix, Anthem, Scottsdale and online in all of Arizona. would be honored to support you in better understanding your relationship. You can start your therapy journey by following these simple steps:
- Contact Crossroads Counseling
- Meet with a Christian marraige therapist near you
- Begin addressing your relationship
Call us at 623-680-3486, text 623-688-5115, or email email@example.com. You can ask all the questions you have and see if marriage counseling for Christian couples at Crossroads is the right fit for you and your spouse. You can also learn more about Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy (EFCT) as well.
This blog was written by Christian Marriage Therapist Travis Frye.