I would argue the number one reason couples struggle in their marriage isn't because of affairs, not because of managing money or lack of sex. Not because of kids, stress, work or even a long list of unmet expectations. I believe the number one struggle is our lack of ability to communicate well, often and effectively, especially when angry.
Think long and hard about your marriage. What if you communicated often and well? What if neither raised their voice and both listened? What if your concerns fell on open ears and your spouse adjusted to your wants and needs? What if you found the skill in compromising, negotiating and working through things with no blow-ups, shut-downs or walk-aways?
I would argue that over 95% of marriages would thrive under those conditions. Perhaps it means the issue is rarely the real issue. The issue you are steaming about isn't the real issue. The real issue is your inability to talk it through, compromise, adapt to each other. It's not feeling heard, loved or respected.
How do I know? Well, I've been on the other side of the counseling table for years. I have also experienced the same challenges in my own marriage. I have witnessed the slightest of movements to flare up the other person. A raising of the eyebrow, a smirk of the face or shaking of the head while they are speaking. Such an insignificant maneuver had such a tremendous impact on the other person's spirit.
I am now convinced this is more about a spiritual war than a marriage battle.
In John chapter 17, Jesus offers up his final prayer days before he dies on the cross. He was with the disciples and looks up to the sky and speaks to God the father. This must have been an epic moment. Imagine being there, of all prayers this one was monumental.
In short, he said "God, I am praying for the disciples first. Would you make them ONE as you and I are ONE?" then Jesus switches gears and says "I am now praying for ALL THOSE who believe in me through the disciples and their message, God, would you make them ONE as you and I are ONE?"
He then answers the million-dollar question "WHY?". Why did he ask God for something that appeared to be so feeble? Oneness? Jesus said, "So that the world will know who sent me."
Let me break this down a little more. Oneness among us is exactly what it says. There is nothing here that is too complicated that only theologians and scholars can explain. Jesus was asking God to give his people a special blessing of oneness, getting along, working together, communicating, resolving differences, acting as one unit and so on. The reason is through our oneness, we are POWERFUL. We can act as a team, we can accomplish more, share more, do more, reach more and be all God has called us to be.
The opposite is then true, division among us inhibits our ability to be who God called us to be. Satan's primary mission directly opposes Jesus' final prayer, it's to divide us. This is a spiritual attack like no other. If Satan can divide Christians, pastors, churches, marriages, and families through the breakdown of communication and teaming, he can cause utter destruction among us, and it's happening now at an all-time level.
Denominations fight against each other, marriages are under attack like never before, parents and children are not on the same page, Christians are not unified and because of all that, the door to immorality opens up and God's message falls to silence.
To bring this back to you and your home. Fight hard to keep communication open, no matter how difficult. If you are hurt, take it to the Lord, recover, then re-engage with your family asap. Every second you are in the mode of 'I'm not talking to you' Satan is hard at work creating bitterness in your heart and theirs.
In the upcoming episodes I will give you secrets to the Art of Communication but for now, please recognize this as a tremendous threat to your well-being and God's power working through you.
Final thought: Mercy always trumps judgment. (James chapter 2)
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