Long-suffering In Marriage


I saved my marriage when I finally gave up trying to be in control of my spouse. We all think that once we get married that we can change our spouse to be what we want them to be, or we may even think they will change on their own, but what faults bother us about the person we’re thinking of marrying will only become bigger faults after the wedding. It’s wrong to think we can change people or control them to be the people we want, and if we think like this before the “I do’s” were going to be in for a big surprise.

After marriage if we dwell on the faults of our spouse it will only make us feel more superior to them, and then we start to justify reasons why we should leave them, or worse why we should have an affair. People think like this – they really do! I have my share of wives and husbands that tell me they think they married the wrong person. Can an attitude get any worse than that? I don’t think so. We must always come back to the long-suffering that God talks about.

What is long-suffering? Are we bound to suffer for the rest of our lives? When we suffer for doing good it means we are being loyal and obedient to God. God does not want us to feel that we need to control the person we married to be happy – we should endure our marriage through suffering by doing what is right, and God said He will reward us. We’re never alone in our suffering because God is always with us in Spirit. When times are tough we can always go to Him for our contentment and peace of mind.

“It is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil”

I saved my marriage because God showed me that I needed to take the focus off my spouse and onto my self. I realized I was the one who needed to change. And it wasn’t that my spouse didn’t need to change too, but it was not my job to change my spouse. The minute I discovered it was not my job to change or control my spouse a big burden fell away from me.

The first aspect about myself that God helped me to change was in my attitude and how I perceived my marriage should be rather than recognizing how I could change it as my responsibility in the marriage. You see, we have responsibilities that need special care in our marriage. Problems develop because couples are complaining about each other’s responsibilities rather than taking care of their own and then pretty soon both have lost their zest for the marriage. But a marriage needs zest – it needs godly zest from both spouses!

For one thing when we have an attitude that tells us that it’s our spouses responsibility to make us happy, and at all costs, it becomes skewed thinking. It is not our spouse’s responsibility to make sure we’re happy; it is our own responsibility to do what we need to do to make ourselves happy. Now, don’t get me wrong, we are to be responsible husbands and wives, and marriage thrives on the “give and take” philosophy of marriage, but we cannot expect that our spouse is going to cater to our every whim. We should be there for our spouse and fill their needs in appropriate and godly ways – this is what marriage is all about.

This is where long-suffering comes in.  Sometimes expectations become demands and when demands don’t get met disappointment sets in and we hate our marriage. This calls for an attitude adjustment. Most couples don’t know this, but it is not divorce that will make everything all better but staying married to your first spouse, working through the problems and learning from them. When couples resolve to work on the marriage it involves long-suffering. It involves determination and compromise, and it involves commitment, and doing the right thing, even if husband and wife are suffering for it. 

What does God reward couples with who decide to stay in their marriage and persevere? He rewards them with strength and faith in Him and with personal character and spiritual resolve, both of which benefit the marriage considerably. We are given wisdom to understand what we cannot change in others and the courage to change what we can.

“Consider it a pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking in anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him”. (James 1:1-5)

Copyright 2008 Heaven Ministries


21 Godly Principles To A Successful Marriage!

How Not To Change Your Spouse

Loving our spouse is giving them the freedom to be who it is they are. When we love without WANTING anything in return, that is when we have accepted our spouse for being who they are, faults and all.

This of course, doesn’t include iniquitous behavior because if anyone is carrying on and regularly doing things in err against spouse or God, they certainly are not being the person they were meant to be. Therefore, this article does not apply to them.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change!

Love is an option; we select the degree of love and what kind of love we will give to our spouse through our actions. Love can sometimes be confusing and misleading, especially if couples are going through trials and tribulations in their marriage and are demanding of one another.

We think that if we could change our spouse, we’ll suddenly be happy and contented with our self. We try and change our spouse because we have stopped accepting them for who they are. Therefore, we cannot seem to love them either.

Pretty soon, we begin to place nasty conditions on the love we give to our spouse. If their faults irritate us bad enough we might not give ANY love at all. Sound familiar?

With no love left to give to our spouse, we might think we have nothing in common anymore? Who knows, maybe we begin to think we married the wrong person? Suppose the person we met last week at work is better than our spouse? Pretty soon we have brainwashed our self into believing our feelings. 

No wonder more than half of all marriages end in divorce!

How about, God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change!

Couples waste so much of their time and energy trying to change each other. But is that really what needs to be done?

Marriage gurus think they have all the answers, and self help books goat and challenge couples to try and change for each other.  But most of these people are divorced too! So what gives? 

How a bout a little bit of acceptance! It works wonders.

Really, we just need to try and not let those little things bother us. Even some of the bigger things we can detach from. Forgive. Turn the other cheek. Do these things even when you don’t want to! Communicate the issue. Let your spouse know what bothers you, but don’t make it into a tirade.

Don’t scream and yell at them about how bad they are, instead find something positive to say about them. Make them feel good about them self. That’s what works!!

What about, “I’ll scratch your back, if you scratch mine”.  This is good in marriage. There is nothing wrong with the “give and take” type rapport with each other. In fact, this is essentially how couples love each other.

No one can ever love completely unconditionally, without demands, bargains or expectations, never. You know why? Because we’re just human, we err, and we have faults.  We need to accept that and move on with our life; hopefully that moving on includes our spouse. But we can continue to always do the best we can by being the best we can in the Lord, for our spouses. If we err, lets admit it and learn from it! 

The "give and take" process is a natural occurrence; it is instinctive to do something nice for our spouse because they have done something nice for us. We give and take all day long with most of our interaction in our daily lives; it’s part of life. 

Most marriages work in this fashion; it is a good way for marriage to flourish and grow. It keeps couples on their toes as far as remembering to “give” of themselves periodically to their spouse EVEN when they don’t want to. That is love.

Now, there is a big difference when we put ultimatums on the table. Dishing out ultimatums is more of a “nasty conditional love” and is based on selfish thinking and usually stems from one or both spouses harboring resentment. "I'll love you, only if you will stop going out with your friends, etc." 

This is not love, but a selfish person trying to get their way through manipulation and ultimatums!

Most marriages can be salvaged. We have to stop THINKING we can change our spouse.  We really just need to try a little bit harder. Trying to let those things go that we can’t do anything about, and stop feeling resentful can make a big impact on the marriage.

Allow your spouse the freedom to just BE. Accept your spouse! Love!

Love is created by a person and not just is. Love takes action to accomplish. The value of the love we give to our spouse is based on how we are feeling at any given moment and time. Perhaps we are listening to our feelings to much rather than just loving our spouse!

If we feel resentment or bitterness towards those we love, we'll inevitably love with resentment and bitterness, which is one way we place nasty conditions on our love.

"What is generated from our heart comes out in our actions".

Loving someone in the real sense of the word is allowing him or her to be who it is they are. When we learn to play the “give and take” game fairly is when can accept the person we are married to. 

Bottom line, accept your spouse for who they are, give to your spouse without wanting anything in return, and it will eventually be given back to you.

This is how to not change your spouse. Acceptance Is LOVE.

Copyright © Heaven Ministries ~ Angie Lewis
This article may be reprinted in full by citing the website and author.