By Karen Jethroe
Ever watch a love story about a married couple that made you cry—not because you could relate but because you couldn't? Ever watch a married couple enjoying one another so much that you sighed with hopelessness for your own marital situation? Ever attend a wedding so romantic that you felt this couple was experiencing a wedding bliss that looked nothing like your marriage reality?
For many years, I could relate to the tears, feelings of hopelessness, and despair. My husband and I were Christians but we were both miserable in our marriage.
You cannot be in a more uncomfortable position than to be unhappily married with no grounds for divorce. Nowhere in Scripture does God give permission to divorce because we no longer like one another or can't get along.
1. Accept that men are different
The reality is that men and women are different—very different! But it is God's design for a man and woman to be different so they may become one.
2. Treat him like a friend
One day, wallowing in self-pity, looking at my husband with a "How did I get myself in this mess and how can I get out" look, the Holy Spirit dealt with me. He reminded me that my husband was also my brother in Christ. "Love your brother" is a command. If I could not love him as a husband, I could love him as a brother.
I had not looked at it that way, but when He spoke it to my heart, it confirmed something that my husband often said: "You treat your friends better than you treat me."
Thankfully, those days are behind us now. I can look at my husband and truthfully say, "Lord, thank you for him." Daily, the Holy Spirit teaches me to recapture that "loving feeling" by seeking peace.
3. Tone down your criticism of your mate
Using words that engender peace, setting an atmosphere that welcomes peace, and appreciating the value of peace to the point of paying whatever price is necessary to attain it, is a lesson well learned.
1 Peter 3:10-11 changed my perspective and changed me: "If you want to enjoy life and see many days, keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies. Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it."