Changes in Our Marriage

By Keith Miller | January 26, 2011

Dear Keith, last year at this time my marriage was beautiful.  We could tell each other anything, were very much in love, and enjoyed being together and with the children.  We realized how good things were and swore we’d always keep them that way.

But a year later everything seems to have fallen apart.  My husband and I can’t even talk about it without getting mad.  We both love God and go to church.  Is it normal for a good Christian marriage to change when neither party wants it to?  Why would our relationship change so drastically?

Good question.  Of course I don’t know why your relationship with your husband has changed.  But I can say with some conviction that I would be very much surprised if it hadn’t.  Good marriages I know about do change.

If one (or both) of the parties in a close relationship changes as an individual, then the previous balance of the marriage relationship is automatically changed.  And in periods of rapid development in a man’s or woman’s life, which may include a significant promotion at work, the birth of a child or one party gaining important insights or changes in self-concept, the existing relationship in the marriage may be in for quite a storm.  For  instance, a man may realize he’s been acting like a little boy and avoiding some decisions he should make as a husband and father.  So he steps up and starts making these decisions, and his wife is hurt—thinking he no longer trusts her to make them.

The most helpful thing I can do in our changing marriage is to keep communicating with my wife about what I am discovering and try to keep listening to her.  But if we start being too busy to visit with each other alone, changes and irritations can build up until they are too big to handle easily.  When these periods happen we often avoid communicating about personal discoveries and pains at all.  It sounds crazy because we both know we should talk things through, but neither of us wanted to face the anger, etc. that can be part of the process.  One thing that has helped is that we have located a counselor who understands us both, and we call him when we need to.

A very good aspect of this business of a “beautiful” period being followed by a hard one is that when two people get some problems solved and feel very close, a feeling of new security often develops in the relationship.  And one party or the other may feel safe enough at last to bring out (or act out) problems which were “too dangerous” before the beautiful period—and all hell seems to break loose right in the middle of the peace.

Sorry I can’t tell you why things have changed for you and your husband.  Everything is going well in our house right now, but next week I may be wanting to write to you about what happened to us.  Keeping the communication lines open is not easy for busy people.

Lord, I don’t understand why good relationships can become difficult, and why it is so hard to resolve the problems that cause the difficulty.  So often I’m tempted to sweep these issues under the rug and pretend everything is as good as “it used to be.”  Help me to realize that hard times are “normal” in most relationships and lead to growth.  Help me to recognize when things seem difficult for me and be willing both to talk to and listen to my wife instead of sweeping problems under the rug and faking it.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

But Jesus said, “Not everyone is mature enough to live a married life. It requires a certain aptitude and grace. Marriage isn’t for everyone. Some, from birth seemingly, never give marriage a thought.  Others never get asked—or accepted.  And some decide not to get married for kingdom reasons.  But if you’re capable of growing into the largeness of marriage, do it.” Matthew 19:11, The Message

“One advantage of marriage is that, when you fall out of love with him or he falls out of love with you, it keeps you together until you fall in again.” Judith Viorst, American Poet and Author

“Compromise, if not the spice of life, is its solidity. It is what makes nations great and marriages happy.” Phyllis McGinley, American Poet and Author

Topics: Christian Living, Weekly Devotional | Comments Off on Changes in Our Marriage
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You were such a blessing to me 32 years ago. I often tell others of your impact on my life… I continue to thank the Lord Jesus for you and your ministry.
James (Agadir, Morocco)
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