Chap 6, Icebergs That Sink A Marriage Like the Titanic
Five Major Icebergs To Navigate Through
1. Not Giving Up On Your Partner
Everyone goes through life’s challenges. Christians are not immune from trials and tribulations. We are subjected even more to hardships and persecution than the unbelievers. The devil is not after the unbelievers as they already belong to his earthly kingdom. Instead, he goes after the Saints, subjecting us to constant persecution and spiritual battles. However, God gave us the tools to fight our spiritual enemies by putting on the armor of God and shield of faith. Ephesians 6:10-17.
No matter what comes your way, like losing a job, medical illness, or other trials, you mustn’t give up on life or your spouse.
Do you not know that all those who run in a race run, but one receives the prize? So run, that you may obtain it. 1 Corinthians 9:24 MEV.
Be ye strong therefore, and let not your hands be weak: for your work shall be rewarded. 2 Chronicles 15:7 KJV.
And let us not grow weary in doing good, for in the due season, we shall reap if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9 MEV.
Throughout the Bible, God encourages us and gives us the strength to endure our trials. People consider trials bad, but in God’s ways, it is sometimes necessary to prune and refine us to be more like Him. Thus, no marriage has to fail. People harden their hearts to love one another and decide to go their way.
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28 NIV.
Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.” Mark 10:27 NIV.
If you both have a heart for God, you can pray to Him for guidance and understanding to resist the devil and strengthen yourselves to stay together. Don’t lash out at your partner during difficult times to cause fights and hard feelings. Instead, take a moment to remove yourself from the situation, calm down, and find a way to be kind and understanding to your partner despite your sinful nature.
We live in a fallen world sin is corrupting all things. So it's important to know ahead of time that any bad situation can be made worse by your actions and not let it get out of control. Your partner deserves a level-headed, sound mind to go through any trials. Give your partner good cheer and support even in the worst of times. Pray to God to help you instead of trying to do everything yourself.
Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. Luke 18:1 NIV.
When your partner shows stress and concern, you must listen and try to understand. Think of yourself as an advocate for your partner. Suppose your spouse is telling you everything that is going wrong or troubling their mind, then write it out to become your spouse’s best advocate to tell a story. For example, let's say that Joseph was stressed about marrying a young pregnant woman whom he did not know or fathered her child. Perhaps he is worried about his reputation for marrying someone with a child when this was unheard of. Maybe he was concerned about his future and questioned his faith in God.
Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus because he will save his people from their sins.’ Matthew 1:18-21 NIV.
If Joseph were to write out his feelings and advocate for Mary to his community, he would write out; this beautiful young wife I am to marry. I will accept and raise this child as my own. Let us hear that an angel of God told me not to be afraid to take Mary as my wife. She is still a virgin. She carries the Son of God, conceived by the Holy Spirit. The Lord has come to us, and his name will be Jesus.
Of course, this is an example and is not written in the Bible. But this illustrates how Joseph faced his trial and contemplated divorcing Mary while being faithful to the law and God. Although he had Mary’s best interest in mind, not to expose her to public disgrace, he needed to hear from the angel of the Lord to get a complete understanding. One situation, two different perspectives with two different outcomes. One would have led to a divorce; the other gave life to their marriage, community, and the world from the birth of Jesus. He chose to be wise and faithful to the Lord.
When you are faced with a difficult trial or situation, take a moment to write it out and wait on the Lord to give you the proper understanding. Don’t cover up your partner’s concerns or your own. Allow yourselves to feel that you will come out of your trying time. By exhibiting your confidence in the Lord and support, you could help ease your partner’s pain and suffering by showing your partner that you will remain steadfast in overcoming any challenge.
To navigate this iceberg, you must stay positive and hopeful for a better future. Do not allow yourself to be trapped in an emotional tug of war that could get impossible to get out of. Most importantly, do not give up on your partner but encourage yourselves to move forward.
2. Change The Feeling Of Hopelessness To Being Hopeful
At times, the feeling of hopelessness is normal. But don’t let your circumstances overwhelm you with negative thoughts. Thoughts tell you there is no way out of it, or nothing will change for the better. The reasons to feel hopeless can manifest from illness, infidelity, differences in personalities, lifestyles, values, or misunderstandings that get out of control. If you give up on your situation, you will not be emotionally invested in repairing your relationship. Thus, you need to not only not give up but also not lose hope.
But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. 1 Peter 5:10 KJV.
I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people. Ephesians 1:18 NIV.
But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary, and they shall walk, and not faint. Isaiah 40: 31 KJV.
Life is a distorted reality of people’s true and false perceptions multiplied by everyone living on earth. So, nothing in life is a surety, and people are sinners. We can imagine the worst in people or the best. The truth is never as it appears—that's why Jesus said to love one another and forgive people even if seventy times seven.
Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall I forgive my brother who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.” Matthew 18:21-22 MEV.
Hopelessness can develop when we give into our cognitive distortions that dire circumstances will always be bad or life should always be worry-free to never reflect or deal with hardships. Minor disagreements can feel infinite or significant disruption to a happy life. Such thinking is a breakdown and disconnect in how to confront and deal with your problems.
In a healthy relationship, couples feel anger, loss of physical and emotional connection, jealousy, strife, and many other negative emotions that can quickly destroy a marriage. The key is allowing God in your circumstances and knowing your role as a husband and a wife. If God ordained a godly marriage to bring two people together, then let no man separate them. Mark 10:9. This means it's your job to work out all things, good or bad, to honor God and his commands. Secondly, don’t let negative feelings overtake you, only to see the bad in your relationship, not the good.
3. Stop Passive-Aggressive Warfare
A vengeful pattern of passive-aggressive behaviors can develop when a couple is together for a while. You or your partner may begin to do things that knowingly annoy each other. Partner may start to forget to do the things you asked or not take it seriously enough to honor you. When a person doesn’t agree with something or doesn’t want to do something but doesn’t know how to communicate it, they may choose to deflect or ignore the partner’s wishes. This type of behavior is toxic to any relationship. Eventually, the partner catches on that you are doing things on purpose to harm or ignore them, even if not done directly.
Length of days is in her right hand, and in her left-hand riches and honor. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her, and happy is everyone who retains her. Proverbs 3:16-18 MEV.
You have heard that it was said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth. But I say to you, do not resist an evil person. But whoever strikes you on your right cheek, turn to him the other as well. And if anyone sues you in a court of law and takes away your tunic, let him have your cloak also. Matthew 5:38-40 MEV.
Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.’ To the contrary, ‘if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:17-21 KJV.
By not communicating with your spouse, you are allowing your passive-aggressive nature to get even fester. Let your spouse know how you feel about any small or big topic that bothers you. Otherwise, anger starts to take root that will come out in various ways even if you are not trying to do it intentionally—for example, not putting your keys or shoes by the door even when your spouse asks you a thousand times to do it. You don’t turn off the lights when you leave the room. When asked to pick up something at the grocery store on your way home, you don’t come back with the main item as requested. Routinely coming home late and not letting your partner know in advance to leave the partner constantly waiting on you. There are millions of ways a spouse can let you down each day of your marriage. If you are always engaged in behavior like this, you should reflect on what is truly in your heart that you do not take your partner seriously or do not treat them the way you want to be treated. No one would try to annoy themselves. So ask yourself what’s bothering you, and then discuss it honestly with your partner.
4. Stop Stressing About Your Relationship
Do you constantly stress over if you and your partner will stay together next week, next month, or next year? Are you afraid to jinx your relationship by doing, thinking, or saying the wrong thing? Do you look for signs in your partner’s behavior as evidence of their disinterest in the relationship or perhaps cheating on you?
Questioning your relationship means you doubt it will last and are not likely to feel comfortable about making future commitments. If you always have a “Plan B,” your partner may end the relationship given your insecurity and doubts.
When people constantly worry about their relationship not being on solid ground or that their partner doesn’t love them, their insecurity and uneasy feelings will project on their relationships to seek affirmations.
Craving the words “I love you” all the time to reassure the person will become annoying and eventually lose the meaning behind these words. Some instead express their love through actions and not mere words. They may not necessarily profess their love by saying “I love you” or making romantic gestures. It doesn’t mean that the partner does not love their spouse. Although positive words are essential and life-giving to the soul, like water to a dying plant, it is not the only way to show or prove love.
Let no unwholesome word proceed out of your mouth, but only that which is good for building up, that it may give grace to the listeners. Ephesians 4:29 MEV.
The true definition of love is seeing the fruits of the spirit and a person’s long-standing actions. Compare the scriptures to know if your partner genuinely loves you.
Love suffers long and is kind; love envies not; love flaunts not itself and is not puffed up, does not behave itself improperly, seeks not its own, is not easily provoked, thinks no evil; rejoices not in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things and endures all things. Love never fails. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 MEV.
If you stand firm in the Word of God, you do not need to feel insecure or unloved about your relationship. Tell God how you feel, let Him guide you, and remove your anxieties.
Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7 ESV.
As said earlier, if an unsaved partner wants to leave, then let the partner go. If both of you are believers, you must reconnect with God first and communicate your issues with your spouse. Feelings of insecurities can destroy a marriage. Of course, there can be valid reasons to feel insecure if the partner is cheating or giving you reasons to feel insecure. In these times, God may completely unfold the situation to show you the truth of all things and allow you to move forward to resolve it. Often, your imagination gets hold of your emotions. Look to God’s Word to strengthen and renew your mind with His truth. If all else fails, talk to your partner and tell them what you need to feel love and stay grounded in the relationship. Perhaps, it's the little things that make all the difference.
5. Take Your Partner Seriously
Often a relationship ends because the partner didn’t take them seriously enough throughout their relationship. Perhaps the relationship was unequally yoked, where it was hard for one partner to treat the other equally to not become condescending or demeaning towards the other.
In the modern age, people think and act very diverse according to their own rules and morals. People tend to protect their interests and ideology over others when challenged. Thus, when two people come together who are not perfectly aligned with each other's thoughts and behaviors, there is bound to be a gap in the relationship. This gap becomes more visible when one spouse has the upper hand in some area to take over the partner’s willpower into submission. The submissive partner slowly starts to fade their desires, thoughts, and conduct to align themself with the dominant partner.
If you value your partner as an individual, you should listen and consider everything your partner does in the light most favorable to your partner. Each person has unique gifts and abilities to complement the other.
Women are made to be helpers of their husbands as the weaker vessel.
Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone. I will make him a helper suitable for him.” Genesis 2:18 MEV.
Likewise, you husbands, live considerately with your wives, giving honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they too are also heirs of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered. 1 Peter 3:7 MEV.
A husband has a greater duty to love and honor his wife and consider her counsel in all things.
Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them. Colossians 3:19 MEV.
The worse thing a man can do against a woman is not take her seriously if she has shown herself to make good, sound judgment and is wise in her ways. The same is true for a woman not to take her husband seriously and demands her ways over her husband. This happened with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden to disobey God and eat the Tree of Knowledge, knowing good and evil. Genesis 3. It was Eve who was tempted by the serpent, not Adam. It was Eve who ate from the tree first, not Adam. It was Eve who gave the fruit to Adam to eat even though he knew it was wrong. He disobeyed God’s command to follow Eve into temptation. That’s why God kicked both out of the Garden.
Part of taking your partner seriously involves knowing your role within the marriage and what God says about how to carry out your role as a husband or wife. Much of the feminist movement is displaying anger over the patriarchal morals that say women are submission to their husbands and that they aren’t being taken seriously at home or work. The women’s rebellion became attractive to young women who did not want to be weaker vessels controlled by men. Even though times have changed drastically to improve women's lives in and out of the home, this fundamentally changed the roles of husbands and wives in a traditional marriage that still requires honor and submission. The feminist movement went too far to wrongfully empower themselves over men to make men into the weaker vessels ruled by women. God’s Word is still true today, as it was more than 2000 years ago. Even though man’s morality has changed with each generation, God’s truth has never changed.
As women began to forget their role in the home, so did men. Men often abused and misused their God-given authority over women to become abusive and dismissive. That’s why there are many battered shelters for women or women who still suffer in silence all around the world. Men are competing against women instead of complimenting them.
Men treat women as sexual objects rather than a whole person fashioned by God as their helper. Ungodly men don’t know how to treat their women. Ungodly women don’t know how to treat their men. This cycle of violence and ungodliness can be stopped by understanding each’s role and authority under God, not men. Thus, part of living today to have a successful marriage is to live out of God’s way for a husband and wife and honor one another. Ephesians 5 best explains the rules of engagement for husbands and wives.