Thursday, August 19, 2010

Thriving Despite a Difficult Marriage

I see so many couples in marriage counseling that come to me at the end of their marital rope...they feel desperate and wonder if their marriages can be saved or if it is too late for them. I have always believed that no marriage is so far gone that it can't be helped...if both partners are willing to work. But what about those relationships where only one partner is willing to work on the relationship? Or those marriages where one partner doesn't believe their is a problem and is unwilling to engage in even a conversation about what needs to change? What is a Christian to do when they feel that divorce is not an option, but remaining in an unhealthy marriage seems like a life sentence? As a marriage counselor I have not always had an answer to that question. It seems like divorce would be the most humane way to end the misery of an unhealthy marriage...but there has to be another way!

On the recommendation of a client
I have been reading the book Thriving Despite a Difficult Marriage by Michael Misja. Ph.D. and Chuck Misja, Ph.D. The authors believe that you can thrive even when faced with a partner who is unwilling or unable to change. Unfortunately, there is a lot working against marriage today. Our society would have us believe that everything is disposable...even marriage. If you're not "happy" you have the right to go find "happiness" even if it means leaving your spouse. Another force working against marriage is found in Ephesians 6:12 "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." The authors of Thriving Despite a Difficult Marriage state, "Your and your spouse's hearts are precious to God. The Enemy knows this and will spare nothing and no one in his attempts to conquer your heart. If he can give you a spiritual cancer by producing despair, bitterness, pride, or apathy, he has won your heart," and "You are on the right path when you understand that the true problem that needs to be addressed doesn't concern the defects in your spouse but rather the darkness that emerges from your own heart while in a difficult marriage."

Thriving in a difficult marriage means facing the truth about marriage...that it is hard, and it takes work. If you are looking for a book that sugar coats the truth about marriage this is not the book for you...but if you are ready to let God work in you and subsequently your marriage you might want to pick this one up!

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