Why Marriage is so Hard: Restore Joy to Your Marriage Part 1

“Marriage shakes us up and brings out the worst in us,” declared a funny, yet poignant YouTube video on marriage. “Yes!” I silently shouted in my head.

At first I felt comforted, “Thank goodness we are not the only ones!” But the truth of the statement planted deep in my heart, and hours later, frustration grew.

Marriage harder than expected? Discover the source of marital problems, then follow along for the whole series to learn how to restore joy to your marriage.

I began asking myself, “Didn’t God create marriage for good? For our benefit? Shouldn’t it bring out our best selves not our worst selves?”

“Additionally,” I thought, “ Didn’t I marry my husband because of his best self, and because he made me feel like my best self? It feels like a bait and switch…perhaps this is why marriage vows include ‘for better or worse.’”

These questions swirled around my head for days and despair started to creep in.

Eventually I sat before God with a heavy but humble heart, “I don’t understand, please show me.”

“Go back to when sin enters the world,” God prompted.

After reading Genesis 3, one question came to mind, “Why did the serpent tempt Eve?”

As I read the story again, I realized Satan not only wanted Eve to disobey God, but he intended to destroy what God created as good; including the perfect relationships between God and man, and between Adam and Eve.

This is why marriage is so hard.

God designed us to be in relationship with him and with each other, but Satan despises God’s plan, and constantly works to keep us from relationships (or at least keep them from lasting).

Satan also knows within each of us lies the perfect tool for accomplishing his goal, our sinful nature.

Jennifer Smith of Unveiled Wife prays against selfishness saying, “I guess I never really realized how selfish I was until I got married.”

I am right there with you Jennifer! I didn’t realize impatience, resentfulness, and an unforgiving spirit were rooted so strongly within me until I got married.

Paul describes a similar issue, I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do, I do not do, but what I hate I do” ( Romans 7:15). He goes on to explain, Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it” (Romans 7:20).

Those traits belonging to our worst selves always existed within us, but when they don’t surface until after we get married, we blame the marriage (with the help of lies from our enemy).

Blaming our marriage for our sinful nature ends up looking like this, “I don’t like myself when I am around my spouse, and I don’t like my spouse when he is around me, so why should we remain together as two miserable people?”

Add on the dominating cultural message about happiness being the ultimate goal in life, and we may even start to justify ending the marriage.

I can call to mind people who fell for Satan’s trap, can’t you? It happens too often for it to be called anything besides a strategy to destroy God’s plan for marriage.

But there is good news friends. With some hard work, and a strategy of our own, we can shed our worst selves and enjoy marriage the way God intended it to be.

Over the next few weeks, I will take you step by step through building your defenses against the enemy and restoring God’s joy to your marriage.

Spoiler alert—God promises victory!

“Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.” 1 John 3:8

“But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 15:57

If marriage shook you up and revealed your worst self, I hope you will join me for this series. Let’s claim victory in Jesus’ name and restore joy to marriage.

Ready for more? Read part 2, 7-Step War Strategy for Marriage

Marriage harder than expected? Discover the source of marital problems, then follow along for the whole series to learn how to restore joy to your marriage.

Linking up at Grace & TruthFaith ‘n Friends, Marriage and Motherhood and Susan B Mead

 

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20 thoughts on “Why Marriage is so Hard: Restore Joy to Your Marriage Part 1

  1. Thank you for sharing this. I’ve read lots of books on marriage (I’ve been married 40 years!) and I’ve heard lot of sermons on the subject, but this post – you nailed it. Thank you again.

  2. Marriage certainly does shake us up and make us uncomfortable but it provides such a beautiful gift of belonging and intimacy. All that lead us back to the Father and His heart to connect with us. The lessons, though… oh, goodness…they are not always joyful or easy, are they? You have a great idea to keep us looking at marriage filtered through His Word and restoring joy. We all need that reminder because we are all imperfect humans living with imperfect humans and well all need grace on that journey.

    Blessings,
    Dawn

    • Yes, exactly. And something I didn’t address here is that marriage is a refining process. We do need to see our worst selves so that we can surrender those parts to God, but we need to be aware our enemy does not want that to happen. He would rather we hold on tight to our sin and blame our spouse. And yes, grace is so important! I will be diving a lot deeper into this in the coming weeks.

  3. I think you’re absolutely right. It’s Spiritual Warfare – just like when something really good starts happening at Church. If we stay divided and distracted, we can’t be “united in one goal” like Paul talked about in Philippians 2.

  4. My marriage of 16 years has been very challenging but also the best refining process I’ve known.
    Once I saw the spiritual warfare at hand, I prayed more intelligently about our problems.
    God set us free in May 2015, and we are doing much better since then.
    When I look at who I was when I got married, and I’m amazed at how God transformed me for the better.
    Praising God for the victory available only in Him!
    Visiting from #graceandtruth

    • Marriage is definitely a refining process! As I mentioned in my reply to Dawn, we definitely need to see our sinful nature and identify our “worst self” so that we can leave it at the cross.
      Praise God for redemption in your marriage! I am praying these insights into spiritual warfare and God’s plan for marriage (which I will cover more in depth over the next few weeks) help give others that important perspective shift that leads to the marriage as God intended.

  5. Kira, what we speak over our marriage matters. If we speak life, we can expect our marriage to flourish. If we speak death, then we ought to expect it to die. Choose life, always. Being married to my husband has brought out the best in me. I can choose to be selfish, which will bring out the worst in me, but I choose that, not my marriage, not my husband. Thanks for sharing on Grace and Truth and I have chosen to feature your post this week. be sure to stop by and get your button!

    • Yes! The way you stated this makes it sound so simple, and in concept, it really is. But so many people, include myself for a long time, do not understand, which is why I am writing this series. I hope it points many struggling couples back to God and how he intended marriage to work. Also, I love that you said marriage brought out your best, I think it is supposed to work that way.

  6. Thank you for your wonderful insight. I have been married almost 27 years and we have had the ups and downs that come in all marriages. We got married at 19 and with the immaturity of being young and selfish we struggled and struggled. Now that we are older we are able to reflect on those early years thru more mature God focused lenses and we see clearly how once we made God the center of marriage we thrived. Don’t get me wrong – we still have our hiccups but we choose not to stay at our self thrown pity party. The refining process doesn’t happen over night. “It takes millions and millions of years for diamonds to form in the Earth’s mantle. For this to happen, the temperature must be around 2000 degree Fahrenheit and the pressure must be 45 and 60 kilobars” (Buzzle.com). While God does make us suffer millions of years He does permit our marriages to be refined by extreme tempatures and even more extreme tempatures. I believe God’s wants our marriages to shine and reflect Him like a flawless diamond!

  7. Amen! Satan is so hell-bent on destroying the most incredible and important relationship you have in your life that he will stop at nothing. It’s beyond frustrating when you keep failing and falling into something you just said you wouldn’t do again. But it helps to know it’s not us-it’s a spiritual battle and God will win if you let Him! I love this post. Visiting from Christian Marriage and Motherhood FB group linkup.

  8. I am so there! I never knew I had an anger and resentment problem until I got married! And it is so easy to blame it on my spouse, as if he created the problem. But he teaches me to focus on the good, and not the negative, which helps my attitude!

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