To all mothers and mothers in waiting your walk with God is very vital to the successful training of your child in the way of the Lord. You can only give what you have and not what you have not Acts3:6. If your walk with God is questionable, then your children’s walk with God will be questionable too. Likeness, if your walk with God is worthy of emulation, your children’s walk with God will make Him proud of you and your children. One vital way of walking with God, is through your fellowship with Him. How strong is your devotion to God? How strong is the cord of relationship binding you with God? As a mother your time with God is very important, irrespective of the fact that you have a busy schedule– especially if you are a working mother. God expects you to have time to be with Him in the midst of your busy and overcrowded time schedule. In fact God wants your best time and not your leftover. You must cultivate a habit of seeking Him first thing in the morning that means as a mother you must rise up early, even though you are the last to go to bed. Prov31:15,18 “she gets up before daylight to prepare food for her family and for her servants…..she knows when to buy and sell, and she stays busy until late at night” (Contemporary English Version). As you wake up early at night to lift your household before the Lord, God gives you direction as to how to run the affairs of your home, and also God stays the hands of the evil one over your family. The devil will never have the opportunity to sow tares in the lives of your love ones, as you are always alight in the spirit; spiritually you are on fire. The devil can only sow tares, when you are in sleepy state –physically and spiritually. “How do I cultivate a meaningful relationship with God, how do I stay permanently connected, even in my moments of discouragement and struggles? In order to attempt to answer the above questions, we must start from the very beginning.
Overcoming the Guilt Feeling.
Nothing kills the joy of meeting with God than guilt. Recurring guilt is perhaps the most frequent struggle in our walk with God. We wonder why we do not feel right with God or why we haven’t spent more time with Him or for Him. Most of us have tried, but we have puzzled over what it really should be and we have felt miserable over our failures. The reason why this part of our faith is so troublesome and so hard to grasp is because we do not know what we are pursuing. As mothers we must get past the guilt feeling and pursue after God, strive to know Him on a personal note.
Getting Personal with God.
Surprisingly, most of us live as if God were not a person, most suspect that He exists but never live as if they expect to meet Him face to face/person to person. We claim a personal faith, yet our relationship with God is impersonal. We believe God is Holy, Righteous and Almighty. But these qualities keep us from seeing Him as a person, so God becomes someone we put on a pedestal so far above us that He ceases to be a person. The reason we meet with God is to know Him as personally as possible. This is the mystery of meeting with God. God said in Gen1:26 “let us make man (woman) in our own image, after our likeness….” It is not a flesh and blood image but a personality image—a person with intellect, emotions and will. God provided us with three experiences to help us understand how we are made in His image. Using our intellectual ability help us learn the mind of God, our minds was made so that we could know God. The relationship at this level involves two thinking persons. Hence God said in Isa1:18 “come now, and let us reason (think) together”. In our devotional time with God we bring our thoughts in line with His, thereby rubbing our small minds with His Superior Mind and we come out as superstars. The second experience is expressed in marriage. We learn to use our emotions by loving someone else. In this experience God teaches us that He is an emotional person. Love is a priority for our relationship with God. When you are in love with someone you always crave the presence of that person. Whenever you are around that person, everybody around you knows you are in a relationship with that person. There is a love bond between you too. This is how it should be with us and God. Unfortunately, this is not so for most of us. Your love expression for God is easily expressed and explained by your love for your spouse. If your devotional time with God is boring and a mere act of duty, then check yourself, if you are sincere, you will discover you are having a struggle with your relationship with your spouse. The third experience God gave us is expressed in our obedience to His commands—the use of our will or choices. God is a person of will as we are. To have a personal relationship with God, you need to know and respect His will, just as He knows and respect your will. God gave us a mind to know Him and to bring into harmony with His Mind, a heart to love Him and to bring into harmony with His Heart and a will to obey Him and to bring into harmony with His Will. God made us to be so like Him, so that we could know Him to the fullest of our created ability. In conclusion, we could say according to Dr Dwight Pentecost “what a man truly knows he will love, and what he truly loves, he will serve. This is what being personal with God is all about—knowing, loving and serving. This is what makes devotional time possible.
If it is this simple, why is it so hard for me to be personal with God.
Adam’s sin of disobedience in the Garden of Eden corrupted the perfect image of personality we had with God. Sin erupted that relationship of communing with God in the cool of the day. Since then our ability to know God has been darkened; our love for God has been degraded; and our ability to obey Him disabled. We no longer naturally seek Him. We find it hard to love Him with pure motives and to obey Him becomes difficult. No wonder God doesn’t seem very personal to us anymore. Thank God for the coming of Christ, He restored us back to that fellowship of intimacy with God through His death on the Cross. He reconciled us back to God, so that we can get personal with God again 2Cor5:17-19. God through the atoning death of Jesus Christ changed our corrupted image back to the original image 2Cor3:18. God through Christ gave us back the ability to know, love and serve Him. This is what life as a mother is all about, to know God as deeply as you can and to translate that knowledge into the training of your children. Thereby raising children after God’s heart. This is life eternal, that we as mothers might know Him, as the only true God and Jesus Christ whom He sent (Jn17:3). The knowledge of God is the best possession you can have in life as a mother, for it brings with it joy, delight and contentment. Another obstacle, to our being friends with God comes in the form of barrier of formality. We have been taught to revere God, and God Himself commanded it but He is also our Father and we are a family, He went out of His way to adopt us Rom8:15, so we are to maintain a close familiar relationship with Him. How will you feel as a mother when your child calls you, “Mrs. Your Surname”, rather he calls you mum or mama. Jesus always referred to God as Father. God also wants us to refer to Him as Daddy. In your closet call Him an informal name. In Isa54:5, the bible says, your maker is your husband, so why don’t you call Him some sweet names like Darling, Love of my life, my Sunshine or you can call Him some special names in your local dialect. When you do this you are establishing an intimate relationship with Him. Devotion is all about relationship, the one you have a relationship with, you will always want to be with. We find it difficult to enjoy a time of devotion with Him because we do not have a relationship with Him. Our time of devotion is just a mere act of duty and nothing else. Mothers let us develop an attitude of friendship with our divine Lover and Husband, who is ready and patience enough to listen to all our real and imagined frustrations, and moments of joys we encounter as we raise a godly family that will glorify God. He gave us the husbands and the children, He knows these precious individuals very well, and He alone can help us to understand the workings of their minds. This makes being a wife and a mother, a thing to be cherished, a duty to be carried out with gladness of heart. As we walk with God on a friendly note, we shall enjoy the blessedness of motherhood in Jesus Name. Amen.
A Prayer for Mothers
Most Gracious Heavenly Father ,
I thank you for every mother to whom You have entrusted the care of every precious human life from its very beginning in the womb.
You have given to woman, the capacity of participating with You in the creation of new life. Grant that every woman will come to understand the full meaning of that blessing.
Watch over every mother who is with a child, strengthen her faith in Your Fatherly care and love for her and her unborn baby. Give her courage in times of fear or pain, understanding in times of uncertainty and doubt, and hope in times of trouble. Grant her joy in the birth of her child.
Grant that all mothers may worthily foster the faith of their children, following the examples of the holy women in the Bible who followed Christ. Help mothers to grow daily in knowledge and understanding of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and grant them the wisdom to impart this knowledge faithfully to their children and to all who depend upon them.
For all the mothers in waiting, Father as You answered the cries of women like Sarah, Rachel, Hannah and Elizabeth, grant unto them their heart desires also. Let them also experience the joy of motherhood as they serve You faithfully, trusting in Your undying love and faithfulness. Help them to fulfill their destinies as mothers.
I beseech You to send Your Holy Spirit, the Comforter, to all mothers who sorrow for children that have died, are ill or estranged from their families, or who are in trouble or danger of any kind. Help grieving mothers to rely on Your tender mercy and Fatherly love for all Your children.
I ask your blessing on all those to whom You have entrusted motherhood. May Your Holy Spirit constantly inspire and strengthen them. May all mothers receive YourGrace abundantly in this earthly life, may they look forward to eternal joy in Your Presence in the life to come. As we celebrate Mothers’ day, make the joy of every mother be full. In Jesus Name I pray Amen.
- How do you define “a personal relationship with God”? (themysteryofchrist.wordpress.com)
- God: Friend or Supplier? (bslchicago.wordpress.com)
Man’s greatest tragedy is a broken relationship with God. Sin is the root cause of this break in fellowship between God and man. In order to have a meaningful relationship with God you must know who He is and how He works. This knowledge can only be gotten from His Word.
Who is God?
If we do not know and understand God correctly, we cannot commune in depth with Him, nor can we expect to receive His blessing.
(1) He is the God of Abraham; the God who cares. He cares for us, because He is a caring Father who will not allow His children to suffer.
(2) He is the God of Isaac; the God who provides. He provided Abraham with a ram in the place of Isaac. He is still the same today if we fully believe and obey Him; we shall receive uncountable blessings from Him like Isaac Gen26:1-14.
(3) He is the God of Jacob; the God who destroys. Just as God had to shatter and destroy all of Jacob’s ego and self will through agony and hardship, He still does the same with us today. He shatters our ego and selfishness through hardship and suffering. The purpose is to mold us closer to the image of Christ and be ready to be used as His servants to carry out His plans.
We can say from the lives of these three patriarchs that God the Father has a caring nature for all things, He offers blessings to those who believe and obey; and through hardships, and He molds us in the shape of Jesus Christ. Because of God’s molding of His children through hardship, most people do not believe that God is good. They see Him as a judgmental God, who should be avoided by all means. They believe He is a God that likes to see people suffer, and He resides far away in Heaven and does not care what happens to the people on earth. This mind set is from the pit of hell and it serves only one purpose, and that is to prevent us from enjoying a deep, glowing personal relationship with God. In order to have an intimate relationship with Him, we must first renew our minds with the Word of God. Reading the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, we will find that God the Father is a good God, who desires the best for His children (LK11:11-13; Matt7:9-11).
There is need for us to correct this misunderstanding for our own good. I must say here that the Father needs our cooperation in order to do good; Rom8:28 says”…..all things work together for good to those who love God…” When we love God, He fulfills His goodness and mercy through our cooperation. God is a righteous God; the fact that God is good does not mean He will close His eyes and accept us when we live according to our own will and commit sin. Because of His righteousness when we commit sin, we cannot escape His judgment. This is seen clearly in the drama that unfolded on the Cross. When Jesus in obedience to the will of the Father bore the sins of the world upon Himself, the Father judged Him mercilessly; the agony of the judgment was so much that Jesus cried out “My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me? Matt27:46.
God will always forsake the sinner anytime any day. The good news is that, when we repent and turn away from our sinful ways, by allowing the atoning blood of Jesus Christ to wash us clean of all unrighteousness. We will be able to have a wonderful relationship with our Father. God is the only one who can provide answer to our deep rooted problem. Sin is that deep rooted problem that all mankind has to face Rom3:23.
We all have a spiritual lacking, a thirst that only Him can quench. This thirst cannot be quenched by anything the world has to offer, He alone has the solution for the quenching of our spiritual thirst and the redemption of our spirits. As we accept Jesus works on the Cross of Calvary for us by faith , we enter into an unbreakable relationship with God, for He has forgiven us our sins and has made us His children. He did not stop there, but went a step further to transform the environment we live in; for His Blood also healed our land, the curse on the earth was removed for our sakes so that we can have a blessed destiny. He is faithful and dependable; trustworthy and merciful
“You shall not go about as a talebearer among your people; nor shall you take a stand against the life of your neighbor: I am the Lord. You shall not hate your brother in your heart. You shall surely rebuke your neighbor, and not bear sin because of him” Lev 19:16-17.
Tale-bearing emits a threefold poison; for it injures the teller, the hearer, and the person about whom the tale is told. Whether the report is true or false, we are by this precept of God’s Word forbidden to spread it. The reputations of the Lord’s people should be very precious in our sight, and we should count it shameful to help the devil to dishonor the Church and the Name of the Lord. Some tongues need a bridle rather than a spur. Many glory in pulling down their brethren, as if thereby they raised themselves. Noah’s wise sons cast a mantle over their father, and he who exposed him earned a fearful curse Gen9:21-27. We may ourselves one of these dark days need forbearance and silence from our brethren, let us render it cheerfully to those who require it now. Let this be our family rule and our personal bond SPEAK EVIL OF NO MAN.
The Holy Spirit, however, permits us to censure sin, and prescribes the way in which we are to do it. It must be done by rebuking our brother to his face, not by railing behind his back. This course is manly, brotherly, Christ like, and carries God’s blessings. Does the flesh hate to do it? Yes. Then we must lay the greater stress upon our conscience, and keep ourselves to the work, lest by suffering sin upon our friend we become ourselves partakers of it. Hundreds have been saved from gross sins by the timely, wise, affectionate warnings of faithful ministers and brethren. Our Lord Jesus has set us a gracious example of how to deal with erring friends in his warning given to Peter, the prayer with which he preceded it, and the gentle way in which he bore with Peter’s boastful denial that he needed such a caution.
Lord Jesus, Your words are the kind of words I want to speak; words permeated with the grace of God. Please forgive me for the many words I have expressed that were corrupted by my own fleshly wisdom or selfish interests. I humbly ask You to season my speech with heavenly righteousness and godly insight. I long to impart edifying grace to all who hear me speak. In Your holy name, I pray. Amen.
Eph 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. By the finished works on the Cross of Calvary through the Blood of Jesus Christ a new covenant was enacted by God which is the covenant of Grace which brought us Gentiles into the Commonwealth of Israel and been made to partake of the promises of God through the Blood of the Lamb. This covenant is a covenant of relationship. The phrase “in Christ” indicates the extent of the intimacy that is available by Grace. It is where we live spiritually and it is also how we live. As a fish is in the Sea and lives on the resources of the Sea, we are in Christ and live on the resources of Christ. As sure as an unborn child is in the mother’s womb and lives on the life of the mother, we also are in Christ and live on the life of Christ. We are not only brought near by the blood of Jesus, we are joined to Him in a “united closeness” like a head to the its body. He is the Head of the Body, the Church Col1:18. We can relate to the Lord more closely than the members of our physical body relate to our physical head. We can look to Jesus for direction and coordination. We can depend on Him for planning, guiding and timing in our entire lives. We can anticipate that He will monitor, maintain and adjust our situations. The intimacy is also like a vine and its branches. “I am the Vine, you are the branches” Jn15:5. We can look to Jesus for our very life source for we can produce no life on our own. We can concentrate on abiding in Him. He makes our lives fruitful and effective. The intimate relationship the Lord wants to develop with us is likened to the joining of a husband and a wife Rom7:4.We can count on Jesus to love us faithfully and sacrificially. We can rest on His constant companionship, never leaving us for any reason throughout our journey here on earth.
What blessings are ours for time and eternity in Christ. Joined intimately to Christ, nothing can separate us from the love and kindness that He has for us: “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor heights nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” Rom8:38-39, and “that in ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” Eph 2:7.
Say this prayer with me:
Lord Jesus, I am overwhelmed by the intimacy that is available to me, now that I am united to You. Lord, I want to depend upon You as my Vine, follow You as my Head, and love You as my Bridegroom. Lord, please continue to reveal to me the implications of being joined to You for all time and eternity, in Your Holy Name I pray, Amen
- Treasuring God! (psalmsofpraisewomensministries.wordpress.com)
Money is one of the major causes of friction in a marriage, because we live in a world in which we are constantly worried about taking care of ourselves. It’s easy to forget that marriage is a commitment to forge a new life with another person. The lack of trust emerging from society has created prenuptial agreements and separate bank accounts. These undermine the commitment to a shared life with a spouse and are contrary to biblical teachings. Whenever financial issues begin to get out of hand in a marriage, the first thing to do is to pray about them. There is no substitute for God‘s answer. Secondly, you might try talking to a marriage counselor or your pastor, who with the help of the Holy Spirit will help you resolve issues diplomatically. God’s Word says, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh” Gen 2:24. In Matt 19:6, our Lord Jesus says, “So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together let no man separate.”
God’s Minimum Financial Standards for Couples.
The Word of God has basic principles that govern every aspect of marriage, including finances.
Although these biblical principles are in contrast with the world’s ideas about money, when couples dedicate themselves to living by God’s principles they will avoid many potential financial problems. God requires minimum financial standards of finance in marriage for His people. If couples establish these minimum standards and decide to make them an essential part of their financial management, they will, without a doubt, lay a strong foundation for a healthy and balanced marriage.
The following are four primary minimum standards of finance found in God’s Word that all couples are encouraged to adopt.
(A) God owns everything.
“For we brought nothing into the world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out”
1 Tim 6:7.
Once couples accept the fact that God owns everything and that they have been chosen to be stewards or managers of God’s property, it’s important for them to manage it according to His principles and standards. It’s how we faithfully manage what He has given us that will determine whether He will give us greater things to manage Matt 25:23. So, since in a marriage husband and wife are one, the financial assets and incomes of both husband and wife should be merged and they should operate from a unified financial management base, rather than from a separate and independent management base.
(B) Think ahead and avoid problems.
“For which one of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and count the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?”
Too often couples put off planning until they are so deeply in debt that it seems impossible to get out. By then it is too late to plan, except for crisis planning. Couples need to begin planning by writing down their goals and objectives, which should include a yearly balanced budget. These goals and objectives need to be reviewed yearly. Obviously one of the first goals is to avoid financial bondage by staying out of additional debt and committing to pay off existing debt. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they shouldn’t borrow, but borrowing to buy consumables, such as gifts, vacations, and clothes, should be avoided. This type of credit debt will put a couple into insurmountable debt faster than they can pay themselves out of it.
(C) Keep good records. “By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; and by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches”
It is impossible for couples to have their finances under control unless they understand the basics of good bookkeeping. Recently it was discovered that less than two out of 10 couples know how to actually balance their checkbooks. This means that many married couples seldom know how much money they have to spend or how much they are spending. Couples should develop their financial plans and work together, but there should be only one bookkeeper in the home who pays the bills. Two bookkeepers invite bookkeeping disaster.
“The simple believes every word, but the prudent considers well his steps”
Most financially naive couples are not stupid regarding money; they are just ignorant and do not understand how borrowing and interest rates work. As a result, their primary concern becomes “How much are the monthly payments?” rather than “How much is this going to cost ultimately?” In addition, many times the naive people borrow more money than they can repay because they have no budget. In essence, they have no idea where their money goes each month or how much credit their income can support. Couples need to learn financial management and budgeting and use that information to avoid debt or financial problems.
God’s Word provides standards for managing money that is essential for marital unity. If couples study these biblical principles, learn them and put them into practice in their marriages, and adhere to these standards no matter how tempted they are to adopt the world’s standards, their marriages will be strong and will remain sound.
Bitterness is a silent killer of life and destroyer of marital destiny. Many marriages have been destroyed because one partner decided to harbour bitterness against the other. Bitterness is an unnecessary weight, it is deadly.It stores itself in the soul, and slowly poisons the one who carries it. It’s a blade meant for another that eventually severs the hand that tightly conceals it. Take a look at this setting and see what bitterness can do to your marital relationship: The problems with your spouse are real, and your anger is justified. However, what keep your marriage from healing are not only the problems your spouse has to overcome, but also the prideful bitterness you guard in your heart. Little by little, day by day, you have allowed this bitterness to poison you. Your spouse does something disappointing, instead of confronting the problem, you silently hold it against him/her. He/she continues to make the same mistakes, and you continue to harbor your resentment. This pattern goes on for years and the love you once felt for your spouse goes numbed and your heart becomes hardened. Eventually the marriage breaks up and you blame it on your spouse and the devil. You spend the rest of your life miserable and extremely bitter. This could have been avoided if you have chosen the part of forgiveness.
What causes Bitterness?
In every marriage, husband or wife does something that hurts the other. It’s bound to happen because none of us is perfect. And in some cases, a spouse has a habit of doing the same thing over and over again, even after the behavior is confronted. Bitterness comes when you hold on to hurt and refuse to forgive the person that hurt you. Most of the time, this comes as a result of ongoing actions of a small nature for example, lack of understanding, misuse of finances, harsh comments etc that build up over time. Each offense takes residence in the heart, and at some point there is no more room left to take in more. That’s when bitterness is manifested and causes the most damage.
What’s Wrong With Bitterness?
A hardened heart can cause a lot of pain. Here are three reasons why bitterness should be removed from your heart as soon as possible:
#1. Bitterness harbors unforgiveness. You may feel justified in your anger. You may think that your spouse doesn’t deserve your forgiveness until he/she straightens him/herself out. But have you forgotten the mercy that Jesus had for you? Rom 5:8 tells us that Christ died for us while we were yet sinners. By God’s grace, He didn’t wait for us to “get our acts together” before He provided a way for forgiveness. He gave it to us freely even when we didn’t deserve it. On the Cross of Calvary, when Jesus was to be crucified for the sin of the world, He prayed, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing” (Lk 23:34). If forgiveness is given freely to us, how much more should we give it to our spouses? Not only should you desire forgiveness simply because it was given so freely to you, but also, the Bible tells us that there are consequences for unforgiveness. Jesus said, “If you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matt 6:14-15). Seek forgiveness not only for the sake of your spouse, but also for yourself. I wonder how many hurting marriages would be healed if Christian husbands and wives learned to love “mercy” as much as they love “justice”?
#2. Bitterness doesn’t give your spouse a chance to repent. If you’ve been suppressing your hurt, your spouse may not even know he/she has offended you. Bitterness often comes from hurt that has been suppressed without communication, like filling up a bottle with pressure eventually that bottle will explode. In the same way, the outburst in your heart can result in a broken marriage, and your spouse never even saw it coming. If that is the case, go ahead and tell your spouse what’s been bothering you. Sit down and try to work it out. Perhaps, your spouse does know of your unhappiness, but he/she chooses to continue in the same patterns. This does not negate your responsibility to remove the bitterness from your heart. You still need to give him/her the chance to repent, although stronger measures, such as, marriage counseling may need to take place. You may ask, “How many times does my spouse have to do something before I’m justified in my bitterness?” In Matt18:21-22, Peter asked Jesus how many times he needed to forgive someone, even questioning as many as seven times. But Jesus said, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.” No matter how many times your spouse may do something, you are still responsible to forgive him/her.
#3. Bitterness spreads. Have you ever seen a piece of stale bread? It appears that there is only one ruined area, but if you looked at the bread through a microscope, you would see long roots spreading throughout the slice. What appears on the surface doesn’t reflect what’s really happening below. Bitterness grows the same way. One little bit of bitterness can start to spread throughout your heart, and contaminate your whole body. It will start to manifest itself in your attitude, character, and even your health. In addition, the spreading can also affect your children and your family. Have you ever noticed how one person’s criticism makes everyone else critical, too? It’s the same with bitterness. Paul compares it to yeast when he writes, “A little leaven, leavens the whole lump” (Gal 5:6). When you bring bitterness into your life it extends to your family, your brethren in the church and everyone else who is involved in your life.
Getting Rid of Bitterness
You may feel like there is little hope left for your marriage relationship. You may be so full of bitterness that you’ve convinced yourself that your marriage could never be healed, but let me assure you that the healing must begin with yourself. With God, all things are possible (Matt 19:26).
Here are four steps to take to begin your healing from bitterness.
#1. Confess your bitterness as a sin. It’s so easy to justify our attitude when we’ve been hurt, but the Bible teaches that bitterness is a sin.
Heb12:14-15 says, “Pursue peace with all people, and holiness without which no one will see the Lord. Looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many are defiled.” You must seek peace with your spouse and the grace to forgive.
#2. Ask for God’s strength to forgive your spouse and diligently seek that forgiveness. In Eph4:31-32, Paul exhorts us to “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” It’s hard to be tender-hearted to a spouse who has hurt you, but it is possible. We have the power to forgive because Christ forgave us, and He gives us strength through the Holy Spirit (Col2:9-11).
#3. Make a list of your hurts and find a time to talk to your spouse about it. After you’ve made your list, pray about which things you can let go. You may want to physically scratch off each one that you can forgive as an act of faith. Then for those transgressions that are left, ask God to give you the strength to talk to your spouse about them. Before talking to your spouse, let him/her know that you plan to set aside some undistracted time for you to talk about some issues. As you talk, keep the discussion productive. Start by confessing your own sins to him/her. Then talk to him/her about your hurts. Don’t just dump all your irritations and criticisms on him/her, but speak in love with gentleness and rationale. Once you begin, your spouse may deny his/her behavior or even become irritated. But the object of the discussion is to expose the wounds, not to accuse. Keep love the main motivator of your communication.
#4. Worry about changing yourself, not your spouse. You cannot change your spouse only God can. But what you can do is allow God to change your heart. If you have a log of bitterness in your own eye, how can you take the speck out of your spouse’s eye? (Matt 7:3). You, too, have made choices in this relationship that have hurt your spouse and need to be mended. Even though your spouse’s sin goes unresolved for now, he/she will answer for them one day before God (Matt10:26). In the same way, God will hold you responsible for the bitterness in your heart.
May the love of Christ reign supreme in your heart as you take the bold step towards your healing from all forms of bitterness in your heart.
It is well with your home in Jesus Name. Amen.
Few couples like to admit it, but conflict is common to all marriages. I have had my own share of conflict in marriage. I can easily write a book on what not to do!
Take a look at this scenario: Start with two self centered people with different backgrounds and personalities. Now add some bad habits and interesting character traits, throw in a bunch of expectations, and then turn up the heat a little with the daily trials of life. Guess what? You are bound to have conflict. It’s unavoidable. Since every marriage has its tensions, it isn’t a question of avoiding them but how you deal with them. Conflict can lead to a process that develops unity or isolation. You and your partner must choose how you will act when conflict occurs.
How do You Successfully Handle Conflict When it Occurs?
#1. Resolving conflict requires knowing, accepting, and adjusting to your differences.
One reason why we have conflict in marriage is that opposite attracts. It’s strange but that’s part of the reason why you married who you did. Your spouse added a variety, spice, and difference to your life that it didn’t have before. But after being married for a while (sometimes a short while), those attractions become repellents. You may argue over small irritations such as how to properly squeeze a tube of toothpaste or over major philosophical differences in handling finances or raising children. You may find that your backgrounds and your personalities are so different, that you wonder how and why God placed you too together in the first place. It’s important to understand these differences, accept and adjust to them. Just as Adam accepted God’s gift of Eve, you are called to accept His Gift to you. God gave you a spouse who completes you in ways you haven’t even learned yet.
#2. Resolving conflict requires defeating selfishness.
All of our differences are magnified in marriage because they feed what is undoubtedly the biggest source of our conflict; our selfish, sinful nature. What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. Jas4:1-2 (NIV). This is the heart of what makes our conflict ugly, our sin and selfishness focuses us on our own agenda. The answer for ending selfishness is found in Jesus and His teachings. He showed us that instead of wanting to be first, we must be willing to be last. In place of wanting to be served, we must serve, instead of trying to save our lives, we must lose them. We must love our neighbors (our spouses) as much as we love ourselves. In short, if we want to defeat selfishness, we must give up, give in, and give all. To experience unity, you must give up your will for the will of another. But to do this, you must first give up your will to Christ, and then you will find it possible to give up your will for that of your mate.
#3. Resolving conflict requires loving confrontation.
Confronting your spouse with grace and tactfulness requires wisdom, patience, and humility. Here are a few tips you will find useful:
Check your motives: Will your words help or hurt? Will bringing this up cause healing, wholeness, and oneness, or further isolation?
Check your attitude: Loving confrontation says, “I care about you. I respect you and I want you to respect me. I want to know how you feel.” Don’t hop on your bulldozer and run your partner down. Don’t pull up with your garbage truck and start unloading all the garbage you’ve been saving. Approach your partner lovingly.
Check the circumstances: This includes timing, location, and setting. Don’t confront your spouse, for example, when he/she is tired from a hard day’s work or in the middle of settling a dispute between the children.
Check to see what other pressures may be present: Be sensitive. What are the issues going on in your spouse’s life right now?
During the discussion, stick to one issue at a time: Don’t bring up several. Don’t save up a series of complaints and let your spouse have them all at once.
Focus on the problem, rather than the person: For example, you need a budget and your mate is something of a spendthrift. Work through the plans for finances and make the lack of budget the enemy, not your mate.
Focus on the facts rather than being judgmental: If your partner forgets to make an important call, deal with the consequences of what you both have to do next rather than say, “You’re so careless; you just do things to irritate me; you are useless and good for nothing.”
Above all, focus on understanding your spouse rather than on who is winning or losing. When your spouse confronts you, listen carefully to what is said and what isn’t said. It may be that he is upset about something that happened at work and you’re getting nothing more than the brunt of that pressure. In other words, you are not the problem and all your spouse is trying to do is express some pent-up frustrations and feelings.
#4. Resolving conflict requires forgiveness
No matter how hard two people try to love and please each other, they will encounter challenges. With these challenges comes hurt. And the only ultimate relief for hurt is the soothing balm of forgiveness.
The key to maintaining an open, intimate, and happy marriage is to ask for and grant forgiveness quickly. And the ability to do that is tied to each individual’s relationship with God. Concerning the process of forgiveness, Jesus said, “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if ye do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matt6:14–15). The instruction is clear: God insists that we are to be forgivers, and marriage probably more than any other relationship presents frequent opportunities to practice. Forgiving means giving up resentment and the desire to punish. By an act of your will, you let the other person off the hook. And as a Christian you do not do this under duress, scratching and screaming in protest. Rather, you do it with a gentle spirit and love, as Paul urged: “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” (Eph4:32).
As difficult as it is to work through conflict in marriage, we can claim God’s promises as we do so. Not only does God bless our efforts based on His Word, but He also tells us He has an ultimate purpose for our trials. 1 Pt1:6-7 tells us, “Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:”
God’s purpose in our conflicts is to test our faith, to produce endurance, to refine us, and to bring glory to Himself. This is the hope He gives us that we can actually approach our conflicts as an opportunity to strengthen our faith and to glorify God.
- Top 15 Reasons Romantic Partners Fight (marriagegems.com)