Thinking through a troubled marriage PART 7

Respect each other

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Ephesians 5 v 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband

No relationships can exist on this planet without respect! The moment respect is lost that relationship is lost too. It may continue on a cool and distant basis for a while but no planning for the future can include someone you no longer respect.

 

The first time you shouted at, swore at, insulted or behaved badly toward your partner that reservoir of respect was drained a little. In the early days of a relationship we are quick to feel bad about ourselves and promise never to do it again. But each time it happens it erodes the respect one has of the other. Eventually the message gets through: “You don’t want me, you don’t respect me. Furthermore, when I hear you rant and rave I find a growing loathing for you within me. I’m not sure I want to spend the rest of my days with a mouth like yours”. The reservoir is now empty.

 

If there has been a history of tension, bad language, dishonesty, betrayal and broken trust, then respect has been undermined. This means a loss of trust in the other’s integrity.

 

Track down how this started for you. No matter how hard you try to put the pieces together again the seed of doubt about your spouse’s integrity, the loss of esteem in which you once held each other – means that however you cobble together your relationship it will be very fragile.

 

Is there a way of turning the tide? I am glad to say yes. But it does mean that both of you have to go to someone who is bigger and better than you. From Him you must receive the following:

 

· Forgiveness for the past

· The ability to forgive each other

· An inner power to truly change.

 

Of course, I am referring to the Lord Jesus Christ who has promised never to turn us away (John 6:37) and who has the power to forgive all our sins (Acts 2 v 38). Furthermore, He promised to send the Holy Spirit to live within us and enable us to live new lives (John 14:15-17.).

 

I mention these things at this point because respect is such a hard thing to regain and thus for some relationships a miracle of renewal is required. I need to make it clear that you do not need Jesus simply to improve your marriage. In fact Jesus did not come into the world primarily to save our marriages at all but to save our souls. He came to die for our sins and to make it possible for us to become new people and to be part of His great new Kingdom.

Our broken marriages are often a symptom of the much greater problem of our alienation from God, our own personal sinfulness, which usually manifests itself in selfishness. We need personal redemption and renewal. This is what Jesus gives us and that is why I mention it now. A personally redeemed human being can begin again. They can have a fresh start and begin to build a new character, make new, better choices, and rebuild a new personal integrity which in turn results in a new respect.

 

If you really want your marriage you need to become a new person building on new foundations. This is what Christ offers us.

 

Prayer: O Lord, you care enough about us to give us a will to make decisions. Help us to listen to each other and respect each other as created in your image. Amen

One Response to “Thinking through a troubled marriage PART 7”

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