In this article I have identified seven triggers in marriage that are often used for justification for divorce, but really, none of these seven things warrant divorce or provide any validation what so ever for divorce.
1. Sexless marriage.
We donít want sex because we have lost touch with our spouse; essentially the bond that was there has been broken. When we spend too much time towards outside interests and wanting to be with friends we donít feel like getting sexy or even having sex with our spouse!
Marriage needs attention! But weíre giving that attention to our friends. It's true, woman usually give marriage the most attention, but we women are also more conscious of what needs our attention and consideration in the home.
Face it, we women are more aware than men, and that is why Godís specifically designed women to be in the home taking care of EVERYTHING instead of the man.
This is precisely why you should NOT break it off. You obviously need to spend more time together and get reacquainted like when you first married. You canít do that if you are ignoring your spouse.
If your marriage is sexless or you are having sex infrequently it is time to bring romance back into the bedroom. You know what to do.
2. You constantly criticize your spouse
If we often criticize and nag it is because we are expecting too much from our spouse, and when things donít get done at the designated time, or in the exact way we would do it, we criticize and complain.
Faults become more apparent when expectations donít get met. We criticize our spouse because we blame them for the disarray of the marriage. We notice all their faults, feel all their faults, and live all their faults. Essentially we are living in our spouseís faults. No wonder we constantly criticize.
We are too connected to the faults of our spouse, and so disconnected from the relationship of marriage!
Hectic schedules can often make us come across as naggy and critical. Itís because weíre so stressed out! We want things done and think if we nag about it, it will get done. We're so busy that we don't have time to deal with the children, chores, cooking, career, and household.
It is perfectly ok to delegate chores around the house to help lighten the load a bit. But what really needs to be done is to back off with the criticism and let our spouse be who they are.
This is all the more reason why we shouldnít break it off. Now is the perfect time to learn to accept our spouse for the way they are and stop trying to change things that we can't!
God certainly does not like that we criticize and disrespect who we married, and so the first action here would be to look at our self and see what it is that WE can do to change the situation to bring less negative attention towards our spouse.
3. You compare your spouse to others and you THINK your spouse never measures up.
Comparing is wrong. When you compare in a negative way you are essentially telling your spouse that they aren't good enough for you. It can lead to a poor self-esteem in the long run and leads to peer pressure type thinking where you spouse may feel they need to continually challenge the person they are being compared to so he or she can prove they are better in some way.
But this is wrong thinking taking over in how you perceive your spouse to be. Everyone is different and as long as you continue to compare two people that are different, and expect him or her to be the same it will never happen. Your expectations once again will not be met and disappointment sets in.
Don't compare your spouse to other people. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. People are beautiful in their own way.
4. You try to change your spouse and it doesn't work.
Try this for a change. As a self help technique, have your spouse write down YOUR bad habits, and the things that irritate him or her about you. Read them, study them, and change yourself! Reality check!
5. You don't laugh anymore and it is impossible to have a lighthearted conversation.
Couples don't laugh anymore because of all of the above. Marriage needs attention. Marriage needs fun and games brought into now and again. What are you waiting for?
6. You THINK you are doing all the giving.
Are you keeping score! I know, lets play Santa!
Letís pretend weíre Santa Clause. Now lets check our list to see who has been naughty or nice. If my spouse has been nice to me this week, I will give them a present, but if they weíre naughty, just forget it.
Children all over the world are growing up understanding all about how to give conditional love, and when they get married they can treat their own spouse conditionally like Santa did to them.
"No Dear, I'm not going to have sex with you tonight, you were mean to me all day today. Maybe tomorrow, if youíre nicer to me.Ē
Comedy shows like to depict this kind of behavior as being funny. This conditional sex-love dilemma in marriage is all about learning to give of your self unselfishly.
Couples love selfishly because they do not have the knowledge to love properly. They love the way they have been taught to love. It is a conditioned and learned experience.
What is love?
Itís not lust thatís for sure! Lust frequently gets confused with love in the beginning stages of a romance and marriage, but all lust really is, is being rapt in the novelty of a new relationship that brings with it feelings of euphoria.
Lust is a sexual thing, while love is not. You can still love someone and not have sex with them.
Love sometimes takes years to develop. Love is a process of learning through your own spiritual and mental growth, and then giving of you self, whatever that might be, even when you donít want to.
Love is practice in remembering to take action in those areas in your life that are, or should be important to you.
Bottom line, love is a development of ones self through the growing process, and then learning to practice that love to those who are important to you. It is a continual growing process that you learn to develop with time.
To give is to love, and to love is to give. Giving can only come from a heart and mind that is free of selfish precedents and self-seeking based love. This involves not just surrendering sinful and selfish ways over to God, but allowing the Spiritual Christ into your heart and mind for emotional, and spiritual support.
Without God's support in the marriage, couples are essentially utilizing their self-seeking love in the marriage, which in the long run cannot sustain a healthy and productive marriage.
7. You no longer feel good about yourself.
You donít feel good about your self, because you do not know your self.
Low self-worth, depression and loneliness usually mean that we are not doing something in our life that we know we should be doing. We are not using all of our abilities to come to our potential. If we are living in a particular sin in our life and feel like we canít get out, that will keep us from coming to our full potential in marriage.
Unfortunately when this happens in marriage, we tend to be overly needy with our spouse, believing that they should make us FEEL happy and good about our self.
But is that the responsibility of our spouse?
It is God that frees us from the weakness of sin. If we are living in sin, then we are not loving our self. If we donít feel good about ourselves, we certainly cannot love others. Resent-filled hearts cannot love, it is impossible.
If we are living in our negative feelings, which many people do, we will not know the fulfillment of knowing what "real love" is.
Surrendering our guilt, resentment, angry feelings, and sin to God will free us from behaving selfishly and rebelliously toward our spouse in the marriage. Essentially it is when we let go of the hate in us that we learn to love.
Here is how it works, we give up the weakness that has been taking over our life, and we finally grow spiritually into a new person in Christ. That is when we learn to love who we are, and also loving others freely without negative feelings tearing at our flesh.
This issue is the root to all of the above issues. This is why I stress constantly in all of my articles, newsletters, and books, ďto take care of your self firstĒ.
That is the challenge most of us face on a daily basis, whether it be in our marriage or other relationships with people. If we our in need of life, we certainly cannot give life to another.
Remember that none of these issues warrant breaking it off, they do warrant though, putting forth more effort in those areas that need our attention.
And that is why you shouldnít break it off.
Copyright 2005 Angie Lewis
Author of JOURNEY ON THE ROADS LESS TRAVLED, a book about love, life, and marriage.
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