Marriage, for many people, is one of the hardest assignments we must do. It’s no wonder that so many people fail at it or give up. Perhaps it’s because marriage is not something we can do by ourselves, or ensure its success by our own individual efforts. We must be connected to and partnered with another individual to make it happen. In addition, we must access God’s provision for experiencing lasting and enduring relationships

This partnership with another individual can be very difficult at times. We don’t have control over the other person’s will or actions, and when things don’t go well, we can feel defeated. When we perceive it to be impossible, it often becomes so. At these times, we must be resolute that walking away is not an option.

Don’t React—Instead, be Pro-active

We must choose to ACT, instead of RE-ACT. It’s so much more natural to react. Think of a trigger or stimulus that is positive—we generally immediately respond in a positive and pleasing manner. Now, consider for a moment that the trigger or stimulus is negative—we almost involuntarily react to it in a negative way.

In order to reverse the natural tendency, we must plot the course deliberately. Our actions must be intentional, and we must refuse to re-act! We must choose to be PRO-ACTIVE and not RE-ACTIVE. We can choose our effective actions ahead of time and not fall prey to the ineffective actions that are nearly guaranteed otherwise.

Control What is Within Your Power to Control

This requires that we realize we must control those things which only WE can control—and that starts with ourselves-our responses, actions, words, decisions, emotions. We have no control over the choices or actions of another individual, and that includes our spouse. Ultimately, they will answer for their choices and actions. We will likewise answer for what we DID have control over–ourselves! Endeavor with God’s help to make the right choices over what you can control and trust God with the rest.

Let God Take Offenses Away

Chances are if our spouses were in such a condition to cause the offense in the first place, they are most likely in no condition to mend it! Even if their desire was to restore, many times they are rendered incapacitated to make amends. That leaves us with a predicament that only our loving Savior can repair. We must take our wounds, hurts, worries, disappointments and offenses to God and ask Him to take them away. He will take us into his spiritual operating room and take the thorn out of our spirits—it may be sore for a while and we may need to continue to apply the healing ointment of the Holy Spirit, but eventually the pain will go away.

Use Some Caution

If you walk in the middle of the highway, you might likely get hit by a car. If you walk carelessly into a fence that has a sign reading, “Beware of Dog,” you might be in for an unpleasant surprise. Likewise, if you contend with an angry man, you will also most likely end up with a grieved and vexed spirit. The Bible says to remove yourself from the presence of an angry man.

Lose the Wishful Thinking

This is not Hollywood’s version of an ideal romantic relationship, it’s the Bible’s teaching of how to get along with other people—even difficult people. Sure, it would be nice to be married to a wonderfully Christ-like man, but on this side of heaven, we have to let that kind of wishful thinking go! That “ideal husband,” just may never exist! But then again, we might not be so “ideal” ourselves! Instead of wanting to live in a world where everyone is nice to one another, just be willing to exercise God’s way of loving people even when they aren’t nice.

Love Your Enemies

Remember, God’s way is to “Love your enemies, do good to those who spitefully use you.” This might seem to be impossible, but I know that if God instructed us to do it, then there must be a way!

Not-So Happy Marriage

So many of us can be so upset that we don’t have a happy marriage that we can start to get resentful and expect that we should have a happy marriage, too. After all, so many other Christian couples we know have happy marriages—shouldn’ t we also? Well, just like anything else, we must accept what we do and do not have. We must accept what we have and have not been given. Otherwise, our contentment can wane, and then our ingratitude will inevitably follow. This sets us up for bitterness and resentment, and hopes that are miserably disappointed! We must see the good in what God has given us and not want what we don’t have!

Blessings follow Obedience

Many times in my marriage I have wanted to walk away—it was just too hard! Too unfair! Too painful! Too miserable!! I have each time, with God’s help, resisted the strong rationale that it would just be so much better if I were to walk away! Then, a little one would come up to me and say, “Here’s a girl book, mommy–me have a boy book—us read together?” As I kiss the top of a little head, and clasp the grip of a little hand and explore the many wonders of life together, I embrace the blessings of obedience and I’m thankful for every time I didn’t walk away, and thankful for one more chance to determine, “Walking away is not an option.” And I resolve once more to incline my heart to love God’s way!