Seeking Counsel is a Good Thing
Married couples will likely experience a fair amount of conflict in the first few years of marriage. That's to be expected when you are joining two people with different backgrounds, different priorities and different personalities. Throw in those issues plus ex-spouses, children and family issues, and for some of us it can feel like an impossible, uphill battle.
Thomas and I met through mutual friends from church and within months of dating, we knew we w
anted to start a life together. Falling in love was the easy part! We both are very easygoing, we love travel and music and we have a very strong spiritual bond. In the beginning, it seemed like we would never have relationship issues because we just naturally put one another's feelings and needs before our own. It felt like our marriage was going to be a piece of cake! But within the first few months of our wedding, trouble found us. Thomas and I had differing expectations for the rules and discipline in our home and we began to butt heads. Add to that, disagreements about how much we financially supported our individual children and quickly the rose colored glasses were getting ripped off! We began having disagreements more and more often and it seemed like we repeated the same arguments over and over. Soon we were at an impasse.
Fortunately, Thomas had found a marriage bible study plan in our bible app and we committed to working through it together over 40 days. We both felt like the study helped us to
tackle some difficult conversations and come to some new resolutions that improved how we communicated and worked through conflict. One of the lessons in the study suggested that we make an agreement on an "emergency rescue plan" in case we felt like our relationship was headed toward a dead end. We decided that if one of us felt like things were taking a turn for the worse, we would make a counseling appointment with the pastor that we used for our pre-marital counseling. I remember being relieved that we both were willing to seek that resolution if we ever needed it in the future.
Well, in case you didn't know, God's timing is perfect and He knows what we need and when we need it! It was providential that we had agreed on our "emergency rescue plan" because a little over a week later, Thomas and I had what I would call our biggest argument ever. It was the first time in our marriage where I felt genuinely angry and nervous that we might not make it through this issue on our own. The next day when we were calmer and thinking a little more clearly, thankfully, he suggested that we call our pastor and I agreed. We met with him and were able to get some Godly counsel about how to resolve our disagreement and form a plan about how to work toward a healthy compromise on the issues we disagree about. Our marriage still has occasional bumpy days but we are working on maintaining healthy expectations of one another and realistic expectations of our blended family.
Most importantly, we remain united in our purpose as a married couple. God wants our relationship to reflect His image. That means that our individual relationships with Jesus must take priority over any other relationship. It also means that we are to love one another more than we love ourselves and forgive one another when we fall short. In Ephesians 4:32 it says, "Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you." Marriage will always involve some degree of conflict. But if we remain committed to working together toward unity through Jesus Christ, the health of our marriage will continue to improve and grow. If you are experiencing conflict within your marriage, consider seeking counsel through reading your bible, working through a marriage bible study, or meeting with a Christian counselor who can guide you using biblical principals. It worked for us and I believe it could work for you too.
God bless you and your marriage!