There must be some ground rules that each spouse follows as they learn how to build lasting love in their marriage. When everyone has the same ground rules to go by, we can focus on what truly matters. The success and health of your marriage.
As you go through this blog to find insights into your strengthening your marriage, remember these ground rules to help you in your marriage to be the best spouse you can be.
Ground Rules for Relationship Problems
First Ground Rule:
Only think about how this blog applies to you. Do not think about how it applies to your spouse.
“3 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”
Matthew 7:3-5 ESV
What Jesus is saying here is that it is easy for everyone to see a flaw in other people no matter how small it is. In contrast, it is hard to see our own flaws even if they are as big as a log in our own eye. It can be that we choose not to acknowledge the log that is in our own eye because we don’t see it or are completely ignorant to it.
In other words, it is easier to see the fault in somebody else than to see it in yourself. As you read this blog, fight to focus only on yourself and how YOU need to change. Don’t think, “I hope my spouse reads this!” Pray the Lord changes you. More than likely you would like to see change happen in your spouse. If so, pray the for the Lord to do all the work in changing your spouse. The only person you can change is yourself. You cannot change your spouse.Leave it up to the Holy Spirit who can change all of us for the better.
I encourage you to flee from the temptation to read this blog through the lens of how your spouse needs to learn and change. No matter how much arguing, complaining, nagging, and provoking you do to make your spouse change, the change you receive will not be the one you desire. They will most likely become resistant, hard, and possibly resent you for not being loving or respectful. As you try to change your spouse, you may be seen as a hypocrite doing exactly what you are saying they should not do.
Since you can only change yourself, only read this blog through the lens that it will help you to be a better spouse. In the end, that should be your number one goal: To be a better spouse. If you focus on yourself, and your spouse focuses on their self, marriage will get easier, better, and more of a blessing. The way to do that is to seek to outdo each other in service to the marriage and each other.
Second Ground Rule:
Pray for the Lord to change you to be more like His Son Jesus Christ.
“7 Consecrate yourselves, therefore, and be holy, for I am the Lord your God.”
Leviticus 20:7 ESV
The Lord created a path for us to follow in how we can be Holy as He is Holy and that is by becoming imitators of Jesus Christ. The goal for every Christ follower is to be more like God’s son Jesus Christ. We are all called to abide in Christ and the ultimate goal for every married person should be to be a more Christ-like spouse in your marriage.
Jesus Christ never did anything wrong. He never acted out of pride, never lied to cover up something he did, and never sinned. If we strive to be like Jesus Christ and not sin in our marriage, we will be blessed by the Lord because the Lord blesses those whom he loves.
God intended you to be Holy as He is Holy. As you become more like His Son, you become more and more the spouse the Lord intended you to be. As you become the spouse the Lord intended you to be, your marriage becomes the covenant the Lord intends it to be. With that comes all his blessings, desires, and righteousness for the both of you. The Lord wants you to be holy as He is holy and the only way to do that is to be more like Christ.
Third Ground Rule:
Pray for the Lord to change your spouse to be more like his son Jesus Christ.
“6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”
James 1:6-8 ESV
You cannot change your spouse no matter how hard you try. You can leave subtle hints, use circumstances, or be direct and nagging to your spouse to get them to change but these will never work. The only person that will help your spouse to change is them and the Holy Spirit. If you pray for your spouse to be like God’s son Jesus Christ, then the Lord will bless your prayers and call your spouse to Himself. Once that happens the Holy Spirit will come upon your spouse and be the agent for change inside of them.
I can attest to the power of prayer in my marriage and how each of us has prayed for change in each other. Without sharing too much about our personal prayers for growth in our spouse, we can say that very personal prayers have been answered by the Lord. I have personally prayed for my bride on 3 different occasions for her to change/grow in our marriage.
Some prayers took years to affect change and some months. In both cases, I sought the Lord for His will for our marriage, asked Him if He approved of my prayers and then proceeded to pray for change. Each time I did this, the Lord answered my prayer for change in my bride. In the other times I prayed for change in my spouse, the Lord changed me instead.
I desired a change in her but the Lord changed me instead. In both cases, my prayers were answered and I am fully blessed because He answered the way I needed it answered and not the way I wanted.
Remember when you pray for a change in your spouse, pray as Jesus did the night before He was crucified. Pray for the Lord’s will be done, not yours.
“41 And he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, 42 saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.””
Luke 22:41-43 ESV
Fourth ground rule:
Pray the Lord will change your marriage to be led by the bible and Holy Spirit.
“13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14 He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15 All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.”
John 16:13-15 ESV
The Lord is desires to bless your marriage to be in His will and be fully devoted to him. The Holy Spirit is your guide and helper who will lead you both into sanctification with the Lord. Your marriage will be made holy as you follow the Lord’s commands for your marriage. As you seek to continually fulfill the covenant you made with God and your spouse, He will have His Word be a lamp to your feet and a light to your path.
Just like the Holy Spirit will change you from the inside, He will change your spouse from the inside and likewise, your marriage. If your marriage is struggling and you feel as though hope may be lost, the Holy Spirit is there for you. Have faith that He will change both of you to be led by the Lord and be fully devoted Christ followers.
Fifth Ground Rule:
If you see something in this blog that your spouse could benefit from learning, don’t tell them but pray that the Lord will reveal it to him or her.
It will be tempting when you find something in this blog that you believe applies to your spouse that you believe they need to learn. You may want to show them this section and try to prove your point that they need to change the way you want them to be. I can tell you from firsthand experience, this is the last thing you want to do. It may be that the more you nag, complain, and criticize, the more obstinate and resistant your spouse may become. This may prove to actually be detrimental to your relationship.In a post, I will tell you how, through my wife’s prayers, I went completely against my first decision about the schooling for our children with only her prayers. Also I have personally encouraged growth in my wife with the help of prayer. So pray the Lord be the change agent in your lives and that the Holy Spirit will come upon each of you make your marriage more glorifying of God.