Many couples made the same discovery you are making: not everything is as you thought it would be. The first several times of intimacy probably didn’t go quite the way you imagined. Following the honeymoon, the early days of settling into the routines of work and married life may have been more challenging than you thought. Within the first several months, things slowly changed, and now perhaps at times your mate is beginning to downright annoy you.
Here is a game plan that has worked for many couples. From my own marriage experience of over forty-one years as well as my decades of pastoral counseling ministry, these Biblical principles really help.
1. Take a deep breath! You are not unique in having these problems. The Apostle Paul speaks about things “as is common to man” (1 Corinthians 10:13). This means that the things you and your spouse face are the same things most everyone else faces as well.
2. Pray lots before you talk much about these matters. Sometimes couples get this backwards. They talk lots (inappropriate ways) and pray little. Great damage results from this strategy. The Lord declares, “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things which thou knowest not” (Jeremiah 33:3).
3. Are you convinced yet that men and women are very different? Understand the different ways men and women think and view things. Women tend to be more emotional, and the way they think causes everything to weave together so that work, home, church, marriage, relationships and even relaxing will connect together. It may sound funny; however, the best way to describe how a lady thinks is like spaghetti. Everything beautifully weaves together in a delightful way.
Men on the other hand compartmentalize most things. The best description of the way a man thinks is more like a waffle. Everything is tucked away in their own little compartments. That’s why following a disagreement, the wife harbors the hurt and is not in the mood for intimacy. On the other hand, the husband thinks everything is resolved, so before her tears are dried, he is ready to head merrily to the bedroom for intimacy. Is he ever wrong in his thinking!
How awesome is the Lord’s creation of man and woman. God said, “I will make him an help meet for him” (Genesis 2:18). Though men and women view things differently, when their thinking brings both to the Lord, they will complement each other in special ways.
4. Find the right time to think about these questions and talk about them quietly, calmly and honestly. Remember the great directive, “Speaking the truth in love, may grow up into Him in all things” (Ephesians 4:15). Speaking in love will build a bridge to your spouse. Speaking in anger and coldness will build a wall.
Think about these questions together. Don’t let them turn into an argument. Rather use these as pray items to talk to the Lord about and work on together.
1. What are three things for which you are thankful in your marriage?
2. What are some of the things that you appreciate about your spouse?
Using this scale of 1 to 5, rate the following statements.
1= Very dissatisfied and very concerned, needs immediate attention
2= Dissatisfied and concerned, we need to work on this
3= All right, but surely could improve
4= Satisfied with this situation and appreciate this blessing
5= Very satisfied and thank the Lord for this and will not take it for granted
3. The place the Lord Jesus holds in our marriage 1 2 3 4 5
4. The routine we are developing in reading the
Bible and praying together 1 2 3 4 5
5. The consistency of our involvement in our local church 1 2 3 4 5
6. The daily time we enjoy talking with each other 1 2 3 4 5
7. The quality of free time we have to spend with
each other on a regular basis 1 2 3 4 5
8. The way we are managing our money 1 2 3 4 5
9. The way we are adjusting to each other 1 2 3 4 5
10. The way we are making decisions together 1 2 3 4 5
11. The way we are managing conflicts when differing
opinions surface 1 2 3 4 5
12. The satisfaction of our sexual interaction with each other 1 2 3 4 5
13. The level of involvement with friends and doing
things with other couples 1 2 3 4 5
14. The level of my satisfaction with our marriage 1 2 3 4 5
What if you uncover a situation that really is significant and cannot be resolved? If the situation is not causing a significant immediate danger, sometimes if both the husband and wife give it some time, pray about it individually as well as together, either the situation changes or sometime one or the other, or both change.
If you cannot get the situation resolved, make an appointment with your pastor or a godly marriage counselor. God’s Word gives very clear advice on resolving conflicts.