I did a Google search recently and found several articles offering common problems in marriage, in order to come at them biblically. Below are just a sampling of some of the problems I found …
1. Boundary Problems
Sadly, an awful lot of boundary problems can erupt in marriage. The good news is that the Bible helps us to navigate a variety of boundary issues. And there’s one passage, in particular, that hits a lot of important marks on boundary issues. I’ll be unpacking it bit-by-bit in this section.
Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. —Ephesians 5:21
As Christ-followers, submission is at the core of all we do. So as a couple, the husband and wife need to submit to one another “out of reverence for Christ.”
We don’t submit to our mate’s because they treat us well. Instead, we submit to them (abuses aside) no matter how they might act, because we want to honor Christ.
The Lord needs to be our motive for every generous and kind act in marriage. This protects our marriages when the feelings of love fade or when our mates continue to offend us.
In the next verse, submission is directed specifically to wives with the same truth holding true here as above …
Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. —Ephesians 5:22
God also gives structure to the marriage with this boundary …
For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. —Ephesians 5:23
How you work out this boundary and structure in your own marriage may be different than mine. My husband, as the head in my marriage, is a collaborative leader. That means he always seeks my input on important decisions. Every Christian couple customizes this according to the convictions God forms in their lives and marriage (1 Cor. 10:23-24).
In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. —Ephesians 5:28
God commands the husband to love his wife. This boundary is much more demanding than the wife’s command/boundary to submit (v. 22). That’s because …
[bctt tweet=”Love encompasses both submission, as well as extreme sacrifice. #husbandscall #reflectionofChrist #marriageaccordingtotheBible” username=”BethSteffaniak”]
But both are only possible when the believing husband looks to God for the ability to love. That’s a command we—husbands AND wives—often miss or misapply. We misapply it when we try to love in our own strength.
The final boundary from this passage is …
For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. —Ephesians 5:31
Many times young couples, in particular, neglect to do this. They still want the comfort, financial support and protection that their parents can offer.
I’m not saying you should stop looking to your parents for advice or support. You just need to be careful not to rely on them to get you out of a marriage jam—especially when you choose their way over your mate’s way. And financially, you really need to cut the cord as early as possible! I know, because I made this mistake, back in the day! 😉
2. Talking vs. Communicating
Sometimes we think we are communicating when really we are only talking at or down to our mates.
What the Bible says about healthy communication …
First, we should listen to understand before opening our mouths to speak.
The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out. —Proverbs 20:5
Second, we should focus on building up with our words.
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. —Ephesians 4:29
Third, we should guard against saying hostile and course things.
But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. —Colossians 3:8
Fourth, sometimes the best way to respond is to zip our lips completely!
Hover over Proverbs 17:27-28 to read. Nuff said!
3. Intimacy Issues
This could involve anything from physical problems interfering, to lack of desire, to lack of spontaneity, to lack of variety, to lack of initiation. Just to name a few!
[bctt tweet=”Thankfully, God desires that we desire one another in marriage. #marriagebed #sacredunion #sexinmarriage” username=”BethSteffaniak”]
Here are just a couple of Bible verses on the subject …
May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. A loving doe, a graceful deer—may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be intoxicated with her love. —Proverbs 5:18-19
I belong to my beloved, and his desire is for me. Come, my beloved, let us go to the countryside, let us spend the night in the villages. Let us go early to the vineyards to see if the vines have budded, if their blossoms have opened, and if the pomegranates are in bloom—there I will give you my love. —Song of Solomon 7:10-12
Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. —1 Corinthians 7:5
If these don’t convince you that God wants steamy, passionate love-making between you and your spouse, then I don’t know what will! 😉
Though these verses don’t spell out every preference and practice you should choose in your sex life, God can help you and your mate to navigate the maze of sexual intimacy. Why not begin to pray for and even with your mate about any areas where conflict remains? I think you’ll be surprised by how helpful this is in due time.
4. Emotional/Sexual Infidelity
It’s so very important to guard against this problem in marriage.
[bctt tweet=”Just like we guard our financial identity from being stolen, we need to guard our hearts from being stolen away. #protectyourheart #marriage” username=”BethSteffaniak”]
“Stolen water is sweet; food eaten in secret is delicious!” But little do they know that the dead are there, that her guests are deep in the realm of the dead. —Proverbs 9:17-18
“Stolen water” is a euphemism here for infidelity. Though a secret affair might feel indulgent, it is actually like making love to a corpse! Talk about crossing a line! Gross!
Here are some other Bible verses about infidelity – Prov. 6:32, Mt. 5:27-28, I Cor. 6:18, Heb. 13:4.
5. Inability or Unwillingness to Forgive
This one is a major marriage-killer. You know the old saying …
[bctt tweet=”“Resentment is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” #insanity #forgiveandlive” username=”BethSteffaniak”]
Here’s one important verse about forgiving that always convicts me …
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. —Ephesians 4:32
We have no right to withhold forgiveness from others—including our spouses—when we receive God’s forgiveness for our sins. You may not ever sin as bad as your mate, but you have sinned, probably millions of times! And that sin stands in contrast to Christ’s innocence and holiness. Lay your mate’s sin, as well as your own sins at Christ’s feet for the forgiveness and healing your marriage needs!
Click on the image below for a printable of links to 13 posts on various marriage problems found here at MM. (The page will load in another tab. Click on the “…” in the upper righthand corner to download the PDF.)
Which of the Bible verses above has really helped you in your marriage in the past?
Which of the Bible verses gives you the most encouragement now, and in what way?
Next week I’ll be back in this series—“Marriage According to the Bible”—with a post chock-full of inspiring marriage quotes from the Bible, along with a free prayer printable. You won’t want to miss it! And if you’re looking for a quick devotional. My latest “Two Sides of Spiritual Gifts” is live at Life Letter Cafe! I hope you’ll head there to find out what those two sides are!
Also, if you’re interested, click here to read more about how to join my latest free Facebook Bible study, where we will be diving into the book of Ephesians for the next 10 weeks.
Be advised: The study starts this week on Sunday, Aug. 19, 2018. So if you’re interested, please let me know ASAP, so I can add you before it’s too late to join!
Here are some lovely linkups I join – Inspire Me Monday, Literary Musing Mondays, Tea and Word Tuesday, Purposeful Faith, Tell His Story, Recharge Wednesday, Porch Stories Linkup, Break Through Homeschooling Linkup, Coffee for Your Heart, Sitting Among Friends, Destination Inspiration, Grace Moments Linkup, Tune in Thursday, Heart Encouragement, Moments of Hope, Grace and Truth, Faith and Friends, Blogger Voices Network, Faith on Fire Friday, Fresh Market Friday, and DanceWithJesusFriday
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