Every day we hear heartbreaking stories of marriages falling apart. This February I am married for 16 years to the world’s most virtuous woman, Rey.
God has blessed us with three beautiful little girls, well they aren’t so little anymore. I’m thankful today, we’ve got a “model marriage.” Our home permeates with love, laughter and security. Our marriage we’d like to believe is an affirmation, too many, that marriage is still a great idea.
But there are no shortcuts to success, and the same is true about matrimony.
A great marriage takes patience, perseverance, dedication, endless forgiveness and a budget for yellow roses.
Our Marriage Was Not Always An Easy Road
We’d to overcome (and still do) numerous challenges, to enjoy what we celebrate today. When we hear of the gut-wrenching stories of couples who’s marriages, have failed and fallen apart, or those partners who are together, but lost the joy of this blessed union, I often wonder just how many of us say in our hearts: “Please, Lord… don’t let that happen to my marriage?”
While it would be unlikely and arrogant to assume that every marriage is the same, I would argue that many marriages that find themselves in deep water show one or more of the signs that I’m going to mention in this post.
It’s true every couple has the greatest intentions when starting out, right? But somehow, “life happens.” Your job, the children, money matters. ..all stand between the two of you and the next thing you find yourself awakening from the bed of lost passion and intimacy, resulting in a marriage that is torn apart, hearts tattered and distraught children.
For the sake of the health of your marriage, I encourage you to read through this list with an open-honest-heart. I’ve based these “marriage warning signs” around Biblical truths. If you discern any of these happening in your marriage, allow me to encourage you to consider these biblical truths for wisdom and the application for your particular situation?
One more important thing, physical or emotional abuse are definite signs of marriage in trouble. I’d advise that you seek immediate help from a pastor or a qualified marital counsellor.
#1. You Don’t have a Desire to Serve each Other (Any Longer.)
If you have a desire to place yourself first in everything, your marriage is in deep trouble.
Sacrificial love—which includes letting our spouses have their way, or choosing to bless them without expecting a return —is the exact type of love that we signed up to do when we got married (1 Corinthians 13).
Our culture is opposed to serving. Therefore this may seem almost taboo. Yet, we are required to sacrificially love our spouses (Ephesians 5) every day, whether that’s physically serving them or allowing their opinions to be as valuable as our own (Philippians 2:3-4.)
#2. You Care Less about Your Spouse’s Opinion
It’s dangerous to a marriage when we habitually choose to not weigh our spouse’s opinions as important as our own.
I’m not suggesting that we dismiss our feelings, or write off the validity to our emotions. But if you find that you habitually choose to not care about each other’s feelings your marriage is not in a good space.
I believe friendship is the foundation of marriage. A healthy friendship isn’t self-seeking but seeks to bless the other person, which sometimes results in sacrificing our own opinions and desires in order to maintain peace.
When we dismiss our spouse’s feelings as unimportant, you are hurting the friendship and by default, damaging your marriage.
Remembers these words;
“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-5)
#3. Forgiveness No Longer Comes Easy
Conflict is inevitable in any relationship.
But the real question is, “What do we do with those conflicts?” Each time you violate the “plank and speck principle” in Matthew 7:5, we cloud our judgment more and more until we cannot see our mistakes and shortcomings. Resulting in it becoming too difficult, too extreme to forgive.
One little issue can compound with other issues, and before you know it, your hearts have shut down, and your marriage is slowly dying.
As hard as it seems, you must get to the root of our emotions and deal with these issues quickly with your spouse.
Learn to forgive quickly for the sake of peace, and of the importance of grace.
“(Love) is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.” (1 Corinthians 13:5)
#4. Physical Intimacy is Non-existent
Your sex life is a good indicator of your overall marital health.
If you and your husband are tired and too busy for intimate time together, your marriage will loose it’s “connectedness.”
When there aren’t any emotional barriers between a husband and wife, sex is easy and feels like a time of deep emotional connection.
Sex is God’s “balm of reconciliation,” and an “ointment of intimacy.” Sex “resets” the connection in marriage.
Sex is intended to be more than just physical but a spiritual and emotional investment in each other, and when you reduce it down to a physical act or lustful for that matter, you are neglecting your marital growth and intimacy.
Many couples let this aspect of marriage slowly erode, and its so easy to do so.
Besides being “too busy” or “too tired,” here are some other potential reasons why physical intimacy may be lacking:
You may no longer be attracted to your spouse because of physical changes they’ve undergone,
You’ve been emotionally wounded in other areas (by your spouse or others) and sex seems unthinkable,
Pornography or affairs have trespassed the marriage and shattered trust,
You have reduced sex to a physical experience,
I wish to encourage you, you can’t allow the enemy to use your busy-ness or your emotional scars to keep our marriage from this most vital form of connection.
God created sex for a reason beyond procreation. It’s one of the keys to marital intimacy and oneness. You must make sexual connection with your spouses a priority in order for your marriages to thrive.
“keep the marriage bed pure” (Hebrews 13:4)
#5. You’re no Longer Investing in Your Marriage
Consider the investment of time your put in your relationship before you got married? It was a joy wasn’t it?
You entered marriage with hearts full of hope and excitement because you’ve spent hours investing in your relationship.
Then you get married, and suddenly as the years go by (you become distracted by your career, kids, or even ministry), your marriage no longer is a priority. Somehow we expect it to care for itself. This is a disastrous view.
Date nights and regular scheduled “us-time” alone together are so important!
You must make intentional investments of time, in your relationship should you want it to stay vibrant and growing.
I’ve made this mistake in the past and what’s worse, I came up with a thousand excuses. I’m so grateful my wife helped me see my error. I moved my office to our home to remedy the challenge. Today, I’m grateful, that I’ve been there for my family every step of the way.
Some suggestion to prioritise your marriage:
Plan regular date nights, or days,
We usually do date days, breakfast once a week has done amazing things for our marriage,
Plan weekends away or vacations,
Participate in each other’s hobby or interests.
Remember, we must nurture our relationships in order to honour them and to stay faithful!