My marriage problems aren’t about my marriage? That’s ridiculous.
Yeah, I used to think it was ridiculous too. I read every Dr. Phil book and tried every trick to get my husband to love me the way I wanted to be loved. I used to leave him notes because Dr. Phil said if you want to get something, give it first. Well guess what. I got no notes. I gave conversation to get conversation. Guess what. I got no conversation.
As my frustration grew so did my resentful spirit. I was mad for being in a crappy marriage. I was mad at him for not seeing me or understanding my heart. I was mad at God for letting me get in this mess.
How could I get him to appreciate me?
How could I get him to even acknowledge me?
How could I get him to want to be in the same room as me?
How could I control my anger when he made me mad?
How could I control my tongue, my thoughts and my lack of self-control?
Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. Gal. 5:19-21
That’s me getting hit by the truth.
Works of flesh. Mine WERE evident.
Sexual immorality, impurity and sensuality were really what got me into this mess. It wasn’t God. It wasn’t even my husband. It was my own hidden sin that I refused to deal with.
Enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, division and envy were the result. Our marriage was not a happy place. It wasn’t a peaceful place. It was mess, a sinful mess.
Now that I could see that my marriage problems were about works of the flesh what was I supposed to do?
The great thing about the bible is that it diagnoses the problem and it gives you the cure.
The very next verses say:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another. Gal. 5:22-26
I was conceited. I provoked. I envied. And in doing so, I quenched the fruit of the Holy Spirit.
My marriage problems weren’t going to be fixed by better communication or with date nights because my marriage problems were caused by sin. The way to fix sin is to give it to Jesus.
If you are treading water in your marriage and struggling to keep it together, remember this:
The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.
You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. Romans 8
OK so how do you do that? Do you just throw your hands in air and say, “Spirit, GO!”
Not, really. That verse also says that the Spirit of God lives in you if you belong to Christ. So how do you know if you belong to Christ?
Do you belong to Christ because you pray? Do you belong to Christ because of the church you go to?
The same letter to the Galatians that we started with says:
Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Gal. 5:24
So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. Gal. 3:26-29
Read the letter to the churches of Galatia in its entirety here: Book of Galatians
We belong to Jesus when we take all the garbage that’s our sin and nail it to the cross. We put on our new name and our new team jersey. We put on Christ in baptism.
So you want to fix your marriage? The answer is simple. The execution of the answer is hard.
Give yourself to Jesus. Belong to him. Bear fruit of the Spirit.
P.S.- Sometimes your marriage will still be crappy and your husband may still be a jerk, but you’ll have Jesus!