Q: Who can I talk to about the issues in my marriage?
A: You have a number of options depending on your needs. Find someone of the same gender that you know to be godly and trustworthy and is in a healthy marriage relationship that will come alongside you and give support and encouragement. As a couple you can also find an older couple who are willing to meet with you individually and as a couple and be your mentors. Another option is to contact pastoral staff or the marriage ministry staff for assistance. There are several recommended professional counselors available to you as well and you can find their contact information here.
Q: How can I forgive my spouse for the pain he/she caused?
A: Forgiveness is a process. Often there are many facets to an offense and sometimes it takes awhile to work through all of the aspects of it. Forgiveness is a command in Scripture and therefore, we know that it works for our benefit even as difficult as it may be. When we consider all that Jesus did in order to grant us forgiveness, it puts into perspective what is required of us. Only through the love of God can we find the ability to forgive a great offense. Rest assured that when you are able to forgive, you have released yourself from bondage and can begin to pursue your future with joy. We cannot “forgive and forget” as we do not have that ability, but we can forgive and choose not to hold the offense against the offender – just as Christ has done for us. You can find great resources on forgiveness – from small offenses to devastating offenses here.
Q: Why should I stay married when I’m not happy in my relationship?
A: When you said “I Do,” you took an oath before God to love and remain faithful to your spouse “til death do us part.” There is a reason why this is so important to God – you have made a covenant with Him. The Bible speaks of covenants over 300 times and you must know that God takes covenants very seriously. When you honor your spouse by keeping your promises, you honor God as well with your faithfulness. The benefits of staying in an unhappy marriage may not be readily apparent to you, but after years of research, it has been shown that if you hang in there, be the best wife/husband you can be, you stand a good chance of one day being happy in your relationship. In addition, marriage is one of God’s “laboratories” for making us more like Him. He uses difficulties to mold and shape us into the person He wants us to be. A great book on this subject is Sacred Marriage – What if God Designed Marriage to Make us Holy More Than to Make Us Happy? by Gary Thomas. Another option is This Momentary Marriage by John Piper.
Q: Should I confess something painful to my spouse even though I know it will hurt him/her?
A: Truth is always good, but often painful. You will need to pray and ask God for guidance before making difficult revelations to your spouse. A relationship cannot properly grow if there is deception. Often, it is necessary to seek the counsel of a professional before revealing your transgressions so that the situation can be handled with the utmost care and sensitivity.