If we think of the common problems that can break apart our marriages as
“illnesses” we may be more inclined to seek treatment and healing than
separation or divorce. In last weeks Marriage Message we focused on the
issues of how our moods and putting the “ME” ahead of the “WE” in marriage
can tear us apart.
We want to share four common “illnesses” (or problem areas) that can
infect even the healthiest of marriages. If they go undiagnosed or
untreated they can lead to the “death” of a marriage. This shortened
version comes from pastor/counselor, Wayne Coggins in the book, Lovers for
Life published by Christian Publications. (This book has many great
contributing authors, which Pastor Coggins is one of them.) He writes:
1. Marital Anemia. I’m convinced that more marriages are in danger of
anemia (tired blood) than of getting blasted apart by a surprise affair
or deception. Drifting apart a little each day can leave a couple
vulnerable to all kinds of problems. For a marriage to stay fresh and
vibrant it needs frequent doses of fun and re-creation [notice how
Coggins changed the word, "recreation"].
I am not advocating being irresponsible, but I am saying that all
responsibility with no breaks for fun is a sure ticket to burnout and
boredom. I often ask couples whose responsibility it is to make the time
available for investing in their marriages. God’s? Should we expect God to
give us an extra day of the week right after Sunday and call it Funday?
While that may be a nice fantasy, the truth is that if we value our
marriage relationships, we must take the time to keep them alive and
[Cindy and I (Steve) have found this to be important in our marriage. And
it doesn't take a lot of money to make it work. With careful planning and
a little creativity you can do just about anything that interests the both
of you to accomplish the RE-creation of energy in your marriage.]
2. Presumption. While attending a Marriage Encounter Weekend back in the
1970′s, I learned that most relationships go through 3 stages. The
first is ROMANCE, that time we’re so enamored with our newly discovered
love that talking for hours is done genuinely and joyfully. I sometimes
jokingly share that romance is the anesthetic that enables two normally
very cautious people to cast fate to the wind and commit marriage.
The second relational stage is DISILLUSIONMENT. This is the time when we
discover the packages we thought we got when we married our sweethearts
aren’t exactly what we had expected. It is when we become inescapably
aware of the painful truth that in order for there to be disillusionment,
there must have been an illusion.
That girl who was so witty and funny and always had the right thing to say
turns out not to have an “off button” on her vocal chords! And that guy
who didn’t always have a lot to say, but what he did say was “deep,” turns
out to be the strong, silent type who doesn’t know how to communicate at
all in matters of the heart.
The third stage presents a fork in the road with one direction marked
ACCEPTANCE and the other REJECTION. It’s during this stage that the
“rubber meets the road,” so to speak, and the real work of keeping a
marriage healthy and growing is done or evaded. This is where presumption
does its deadly deed by presuming that “it will all work out somehow.”
You see, “it”, or the marriage, doesn’t do the work of communicating when
you’re weary of forgiving each other. It’s YOU, the partners in marriage,
who do that work. It’s you whom makes the value judgment that the
imperfect person you married is indeed the most valuable treasure in your
life, in spite of those imperfections.
3. Heart Problems. While there are many variations of this condition,
probably none are as threatening as unforgiveness and bitterness. If
allowed to remain in marriage, they can clog marital arteries quicker
than cheeseburgers and French fries can clog your natural ones. They
will cut off the life-giving love and communication that are necessary
for the health and growth of the relationship.
May I suggest a simple procedure that can fix this problem? Try reaching
over to your loved one and taking his or her hand in yours. Then, simply
pray for one another, asking God to help each of you to forgive the other
for the hurts that have occurred in your relationship.
You see, I believe that if God asks us to do something, He is faithful to
provide the ability to do so. In Ephesians 4:32 we are told to be “kind to
one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another even as God for Christ’s
sake hath forgiven you.” (KJV) If it feels like the walls of bitterness
are too high and trust too shattered to glue back together, believe me --
no, believe God —forgiveness is the miracle cure that can make healing
4. Secret-Life Syndrome. This occurs when a secret part of our lives is
allowed to grow until it suddenly springs into view. While this malady
has been around since Adam and Eve tried to hide their secret life and
sin from God, in recent years a strain has been at work through the
unlikely agent of the computer.
The addictive nature of Internet pornography and on-line chat rooms is
taking a huge toll on marriages. It is such a shame-saturated problem in
people’s lives that it often grows hidden and undetected until it has done
severe damage to a marriage.
The real heart-cry that I hear from couples is for true intimacy and that
wonderful feeling of connectedness that a healthy marriage can bring. That
which can be found in chat-room affairs or cyber fantasies is NOT the real
deal. Real love can’t be found in one-night stands or a secret life apart
from your spouse.
[Cindy and I have personally seen the destruction this can cause in
marriages. If you'd like to find some resources and help in this area go
to our web site and see what we make available on this subject.]
If you feel there are one or more “illnesses” in your marriage that need
healing or maybe even that your marriage is close to “death”, Pastor
Coggins has this encouragement:
“The Lord, who is the Great Physician, can and does heal and restore
marriages in need of a miracle moment of healing. He is also more than
willing to share His rich wisdom with us on this subject so that we can
build healthy marriages right out of the chute. The fact is that He wrote
the Book on it, and His office is never closed.”
We pray this has been helpful. It’s a great reminder to all of us—because
we all experience those types of “illnesses” in our marriages and need a
touch from the Great Physician to bring healing.
Our prayers are with you. God Bless! - Steve and Cindy Wright