Let’s face it, all marriages encounter problems and challenges. Problems are a part of life and they are not going away, therefore, we must shift our perspective on problems in order to sustain a successful relationship. We have a choice; we can look at a problem as perpetual or as an opportunity to learn and grow from it. Unfortunately, many married couples fall into the trap of believing that their problems are unsolvable and that it will stop them from having a happy and fulfilling marriage. Slowly over time this belief grows and eventually couples stop spending time together and give up on their relationship.
Three Cords is Stronger Than One!
When you perceive the problem to be bigger than your marriage it will divide you. A giant wall is created to the point that you don’t see your spouse anymore, all you see is the “problem” wall.
This “problem” wall blinds you from having any hope and it hardens your heart. If you find yourself in this situation, don’t empower the problem, empower yourself through God’s grace. As a Christian married couple, you don’t have to rely on your own strength, you have a special gift granted by Christ to have power over your problems. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) 1641 and 1642 says “By reason of their state in life and of their order, Christian spouses have their own special gifts…This grace …is intended to perfect the couple’s love and to strengthen their indissoluble unity. By this grace they help one another to attain holiness in their married life… Christ is the source of this grace…Christ dwells with them, gives them the strength to take up their crosses…to rise again after they have fallen…to love one another with supernatural, tender, and fruitful love.” Have faith and remember that your love for each other is stronger than any problem you face. The strength of three cords (husband, wife, and God) is stronger than one and unbreakable!
Separate The Problem from The Person
When faced with problems in our marriage, it’s easy to criticize and condemn, but don’t give into that temptation. Choose humility over pride and admit when you are wrong by asking for forgiveness. Seek reconciliation and make peace a priority for the sake of your relationship. Turn to God and ask Him for his grace to help you heal the wounds of sin. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) 1608 says “To heal the wounds of sin, man and woman need the help of the grace that God in his infinite mercy never refuses them. Without his help man and woman cannot achieve the union of their lives for which God created them in the beginning.” Don’t lose sight of the mission, remember that God is on your side and wants to equip you to win in your marriage. Your marriage matters and it’s bigger than any problem.
Rather than pointing the finger at each other, try something different. Stand shoulder-to-shoulder and set the problem away from you. This way you are looking at the problem from a different perspective and can work together as partners to attack the problem. This approach aims to put the focus on the problem, not the couple. When sharing your negative emotions about the problem, don’t blame or attack your spouse, focus on your feeling and how the problem – not your spouse – is making you feel. This will allow your spouse to be more open to listening and making healing the goal. How you approach the problem makes all the difference. If you take a gentle and peaceful approach, it will go a long way. It’s important to make sure your partner feels respected and heard, and that you acknowledge their emotions about the problem before you offer solutions.
Love is a Decision
One of the most effective ways to crush the problem is to make a decision to love even though you don’t feel like it. Let’s say you are upset with your spouse about something but you want the relationship to heal and move toward reconciliation. A good way to start is by looking for opportunities to do something kind or considerate for your spouse when they least expect it. At times this can be extremely difficult because it requires dying to self and loving your spouse even though you don’t feel like it. This gesture will require all of your strength but the benefits and rewards are well worth it. It’s a powerful act of love that touches the heart.
When faced with a problem, turn to 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 as a reminder of how we as Christians should respond. “Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, love is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.”
Your Marriage is Bigger Than Your Problem!
No matter how big the problem or challenge, remain hopeful that you can overcome it with the help of God. No problem is bigger than God. Invite Christ into your marriage and ask him to help you become advocates, not adversaries. If you remain committed to your relationship, change your perspective on problems, and believe that your marriage is bigger than any problem you face, you will overcome the challenges and be victorious!