Married But Suffering
Most people in a marriage are tempted at one time or another by the thought that says, “Did I marry the right person?” And often, this question pops into people’s minds as a result of the quarreling or suffering that is experienced in the marriage. As most of us know by now, suffering is inevitable, especially in marriage. However, the secret to enduring and being able to see clearly again lies in not verbalizing those thoughts that claim to be true but really are only lies from satan, and instead in following the example that Jesus left us.
Mark 14 says,
Watch and pray lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing but the flesh is weak.Mark 14:38
The same principle of Jesus enduring pain from people’s mistreatment is relatable to our marital relationships as well. Jesus was abandoned and forsaken by His disciples, betrayed by Judas, and falsely accused by the Pharisees. He was physically beaten by the Romans, humiliated, and suffered intense pain on the cross unjustly.
Maybe you feel abandoned and have intense sorrow because you are being accused of something you didn’t do. Or maybe you find yourself in a verbally or physically abusive relationship and are broken and shattered. Even while facing these unjust situations in life, we are all faced with two ways that we can respond to mistreatment: either become a bitter person, or a better person whose character is being built on Christ’s foundation.
Pray So You Don’t Become Prey
Before Jesus was ever accused or abused, He took time to pray because He understood that problems regarding people are always a form of temptation towards our character. In the same way, Jesus commissioned us to pray so that we can learn how to behave out of good character when people cause us pain. Jesus was tempted to be offended and to curse His tormentors while on the cross and again when His disciples didn’t support Him, but instead, He opened His heart to the Father.
When Jesus was going through a difficult time, the first thing He did was open His heart to His disciples and became vulnerable. Ask for help.
When a prayer-less person buffers with their spouse, they will not handle conflict with the character of God. They’ll close their heart to the person hurting them and instead will choose to open their mouth in anger. When we operate out of the flesh, often it leads us to close our hearts to people around us. We must make a decision to stop opening our mouths to spread anger and instead only do it when we are asking for help.
So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.James 1:19
This is important to implement in our marriages because once anger boils up and takes over us, we begin to do more damage to ourselves and others around us than demons themself do.
Why is the flesh controlling your relationships? Because you are not living a life of prayer.
If you don’t pray, you’ll become prey.
If you live a life of constant prayer, the Holy Spirit will help you respond to God in your pain instead of reacting wrongly to the person who’s causing it. A prayer life in and of itself will not change your spouse or your children, but it will change the attitude with which you respond to those causing harm. When we read the Scriptures, we see that Jesus prayed but it did not change the Pharisees, Judas, or anyone else who caused Him pain. Jesus had things to say in His defense but He said nothing because prayer changed His attitude toward people. If you come out of your prayer closet and your attitude and reactions are not like Christ’s, go back, pray, and stay until you come out differently.
When the Holy Spirit is not driving your life, people will.
Four Types of Anger
There are four types of anger that we are met with and have to learn to address differently. Sudden anger, sinful anger, the spirit of anger, and sanctified anger.
Sudden anger is something that you have to control, sinful anger is what you have to condemn, the spirit of anger is what you have to be delivered from, and sanctified anger is something you must channel.
In order to slow your anger down, you must “open your heart and close your mouth.” Doing that does not come naturally to us, which is why we must be diligent and make prayer a priority for the sake of our lives and our marriages.
By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.John 13:35
According to this verse, the mark of discipleship is not that everyone will like you, but that you have the right attitude toward those who you struggle to get along with.
Learn to Endure
Before there can be a breakthrough in our relationships, there has to be the breaking of our pride. Everyone has a fear of the kind of suffering that is not self-inflicted but which is life-inflicted. No matter how long we pray, the suffering that comes with being married, having relationships, or being part of a family will often be present. We are called to know how to suffer, otherwise, the fruit of the Holy Spirit would not be called long-suffering.
We don’t have to love pain, but we as Christians must stop “spitting” in the cup of suffering.
Then Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword into the sheath. Shall I not drink the cup which My Father has given Me?”John 18:11
As believers, we must understand what Scripture talks about in regards to suffering.
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.James 1:2-3
Many of us know that the Kingdom lifestyle is one that goes contrary to what our world and culture teach. Culture teaches us to love those who love us, but Scripture teaches us to love those who hate us. That is just one example of the many that go contrary to our culture, and the topic of suffering is no exception. This Scripture above explains that instead of running to numb from or escape suffering, we must count it as joy because it is not in vain, understanding that our faith is being refined and strengthened as we are going through it.
God uses each season of our suffering to prepare us for the next level of growth in our life. When Jesus was suffering He didn’t quit on people so that He could end His pain.
Jesus looked at the pain of loving us and the pain of losing us and He decided to love us–despite His own suffering. Part of Christianity is learning how to suffer.
When you cannot control the suffering, allow the Holy Spirit to help control you.
What To Do When You Can’t Take it Anymore
Jesus never said, “I quit.” He said, “It is finished.” If you can’t take it anymore, get help, and don’t give up. When somebody helps you in a situation you can’t handle on your own, there will be a breakthrough. The weight of the suffering will get alleviated when someone comes alongside and gives you counsel and wisdom. God will send you people to help you bear your burdens. Jesus did not ask His Father to deliver the Pharisees, instead, He asked for endurance and help in His suffering.
Disinfect the Wound With Forgiveness
When we get wounded, the first thing we must do is disinfect it.
Forgiving someone while you are hurting is painful, but if you choose not to, then the wound will spread and will bring death to otherwise healthy relationships. God does not want us to die spiritually from an infection.
Note that forgiveness doesn’t make your life perfect nor does it mean that the pain will stop, but it is a benefactor for you because it’ll give you life.
Often, after we’ve forgiven and we see no change in the person whom we forgave, we by default want to either divorce or destroy them. However, the right thing to do is to distance yourself and allow God to work on them.
Forgiveness takes one person, but reconciliation takes two.
If a person does not change, there can’t be a relationship. Learn to maintain healthy boundaries and don’t accept abuse, but always live the lifestyle of forgiveness that Jesus modeled for us.
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