2 Key Ways to Breakthrough to Hope in Your Marriage and Life

Escape Painful Marriage - Find 2 key ways to escape the pain and make a breakthrough in your life and marriage at MM. #marriage #troubles #breakthrough #conflict #Bible #Biblestudy #prayer #inspiration #pain #suffering

There have been times in my marriage when I either desperately wanted to escape my marriage problems or I yearned for a breakthrough. I naively used to think that the best way to breakthrough my marriage problems (any problems) was by improving communication or by understanding my and my husband’s baggage. But I’ve come to realize, that’s not entirely true!

Escape Painful Marriage - Find 2 key ways to escape the pain and make a breakthrough in your life and marriage at MM. #marriage #troubles #breakthrough #conflict #Bible #Biblestudy #prayer #inspiration #pain #suffering

I’m not saying that those efforts aren’t worth investing in and investigating!

But, in and of themselves, they just don’t provide the in depth “heart work” that’s done most effectively through Christ, His word and prayer before we ever say a word to our spouses.

That’s why I almost exclusively share about how God’s word and/or prayer can bring healing to your marriage here at MM. Of course, I want the solutions I suggest to you to be practical—easy to understand and apply! But I don’t want to give you “things to do” for your marriage when so much needs to be done for your heart in order for your marriage to heal.

It’s sort of like wrapping up a throbbing limb, thinking it’s sprained or even broken, when it’s actually being consumed by gangrene or cancer. You must take a totally different, more internal and systemic approach to that kind of problem or it might end up killing you . . . and in this case, killing your marriage!

I became convinced of this more in depth approach to marriage problems back when I began to see God’s word and prayer improving my own marriage much better than any other tactic.

Each time my husband and I faced a problem, I would turn to God’s word and prayer for comfort, perspective and guidance. And every single time, God opened my eyes in ways that I would never have recognized on my own through some tool, no matter how great or practical the tool was and is.

Please, hear me! I’m not saying you shouldn’t use practical tools to help you in your marriage!

But I am saying that you must also go deeper—dealing with your heart—in order to make changes that will endure and truly meet the need. You see, the Holy Spirit provides the power and insight you need for this giant-sized mission, especially when you come to Him with an attitude of openness and humility.

That’s because, if you look to God’s word to justify your bad attitude and actions, it will only make you more self-righteous and blind to what lies beneath the surface.

You must wield the sword of the Lord (word of God) with caution, cooperating with the Lord, and not slicing and dicing yourself or your spouse willy-nilly.

[bctt tweet=”Ultimately, God must be the one to hold that sword for you—fighting the battle in your place. Allow Him to take over today! #marriage #spiritualgrowth #Bible” username=”BethSteffaniak”]

Have you come to that place of surrender and brokenness?

And not just because of the marriage problems, but because of your contribution to the marriage problems?

Then and only then will you begin to experience a breakthrough in your marriage, as you escape into the comfort and peace of Lord’s embrace.

I’m going to get really practical here for a second—not that I’m contradicting myself 😉 —but so that I can give you handles for your best next steps.

2 of the Best Ways to Breakthrough Marriage (& Life) Problems …

1. Commit to praying daily.

This doesn’t have to be praying daily for your marriage, though that’s certainly encouraged! Perhaps you’re so angry with your mate right now that praying for your marriage feels insincere, even loathsome.

If so, then begin by telling God where and how you’re hurting. In that broken place and through your vulnerable admission, connect with Christ. Seek His comfort and perspective. Lean into His loving and compassionate embrace every time you want nothing to do with your spouse’s embrace.

[bctt tweet=”Find out what to do when you want nothing to do with your spouse’s embrace! #marriage #trouble #anger” username=”BethSteffaniak”]

2. Read and apply God’s word to your life and marriage each day.

This might seem like a no-brainer for some of you. But allow me to illustrate how this has worked in my heart and marriage.

I’ve been studying the book of Luke and had come to the place where Jesus met the beggar by the side of the road (Luke 18:35-42). The beggar began to basically “shriek” (scholars believe) when he felt like Jesus was not going to stop and “have mercy on him.”

This small detail really spoke to me—grabbing my heart and attention! I realize now that I need to be this persistent, frenzied and desperate for God to meet me in the hurts of my life and marriage. Yes, that might mean a little “shrieking” is going on at the Steffaniak house when I’m hurting, in an effort to grab God’s attention! 😉

After pouring out my heart to God, I was able to experience sweet communion with Him. God then gave me His peace, enabling me to respond with peace, grace and love to my husband (and others) during a hard moment in my life.

This has increased my motivation to give, do and be all that Christ wants me to do and be much more than if I had tried some listening technique with my husband. In fact, it also primes me to not just listen but to listen better, more compassionately with him when we discuss our hurts in life and marriage! It’s a total win-win!

And notice that I wasn’t even doing a Bible study on marriage to find and experience this healing balm.

As some of you may know, I’ve written a Bible study based on the book of Ephesians.

So as a way to . . .

  • Celebrate Messy Marriage’s 9-year blogaversary (This past Oct. 10th) Cue the streamers!
  • Support the Covenant Marriage Webinar that Kevin and I are hosting (this Thursday at 7 p.m. CT)
  • Encourage you in your own marriage and life with a Bible study resource . . .

I’m going to giveaway a copy of my book—Ephesians: Breaking Down Barriers & Living Secure to one randomly chosen person who comments by the deadline of 12 p.m. (CST) on Saturday, Oct. 19th (Must live in the continental U.S. to be eligible to win the book).

AND for those who might not win the book, I’ve got it on sale—down from $9.99 to $8.50 for a short time. So be sure to grab your copy while it’s at this affordable price.

FYI: My Bible study is set up with 5 days worth of readings per week—giving you the weekends to catch up! And reading my notes for the day will only take you about 5 or 6 minutes to do. Certainly, that’s doable! But you can also take the study method I provide to study the passages for yourself. When you do it this way, you’ll gain even more insight and encouragement for your life and marriage! I guarantee it!

[bctt tweet=”Enter the giveaway at MM by noon (CT) on October 19th to win your copy of Ephesians: Breaking Down Barriers & Living Secure! OR buy it while it’s still on sale on Amazon for $8.50! #WINWIN #BibleStudy” username=”BethSteffaniak”]

Ephesians Bible Study - Click the link to Amazon before this sale price ends! #sale #book #Biblestudy #Bible #Ephesians #Scripture

Don’t forget to reserve your spot in the Covenant Marriage Webinar! Click the link and you’ll find the landing page and registration form for this all-important event that’s coming up on the 17th!


What marriage and/or life problems can I pray for you about? I promise to get right on it!


What typically gets in the way of making prayer and/or Bible study an ongoing habit in your life?


Here are some other lovely linkups I join – Inspire Me MondayKingdom BloggersLiterary Musing MondaysTea and Word TuesdayPurposeful FaithTell His StoryInstaEncouragements LinkupRecharge WednesdayPorch Stories Linkup, Welcome Heart, Worth Beyond Rubies WednesdaySitting Among FriendsTune in ThursdayHeart EncouragementGrace and Truth Faith and Friends Faith on Fire FridayFresh Market Friday, and DanceWithJesusFriday


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27 responses to “2 Key Ways to Breakthrough to Hope in Your Marriage and Life”

  1. Beth,
    I think a little more “shrieking” needs to be going on in our household (on my part, especially). I love your admonition to PRAY before I even think of opening my, all too ready to confront, mouth of mine. Yes, know our past baggage helps, but without hope, we have nothing. Great post!
    Bev xx


    1. Isn’t that the truth, Bev! It should be what we aspire to each time we encounter a problem in life–which is all the time! Lol! Yes, that’s what God’s gotten through my thick head after all these years of marriage where I’ve tried to “fix” things with my own human and foolish words. Agreed about knowing our baggage. No reason to quit finding ways to unpack that and change our way of thinking and relating, but there’s so much we miss if that’s all we focus on. Only God can bring healing to those wounds. Thanks for being such a great friend and supporter here! You always make my day when you show up!


  2. So pinnable!
    God is always ready to intervene, and I’m grateful.


    1. Glad to hear that you feel that way, Michele! And yes! God surely is ready. We just need to drop our arms and efforts and run into His! Thanks for your constant encouragement here, my friend!


  3. I have found that which I seek,
    the grace upon which I depend,
    so I have no call to shriek
    for my heart is fully mended.
    If God heals me that’s ok,
    and if he doesn’t, that’s fine too
    because He gives me strength today
    to meet the pain and see it through.
    He can move on to other things,
    being such a busy Dude,
    for His love has given wings
    of bright and shining pulchritude.
    I am here where I belong
    with a voice upraised in song.

    ‘pulchritude’ comes from the Latin ‘pulcher’, which means ‘beauty’.


    1. Beautiful, fitting and inspiring words as always, Andrew! And you’ve given me my vocabulary word for the day! Lol! Never heard of it, but am glad to know! I hate that you have a nasty tumor forming on your neck, but am praying for you ever so fervently over this latest development!


  4. These two tips I have been putting into practice in my own marriage and it has been instrumental in healing from some hurts. Good stuff lady!


    1. I bet you do, Nicki! The wisdom you bring us on your blog surely gives evidence that you are in God’s word and praying constantly! Thanks for stopping by and encouraging me here!


  5. Excellent advice. Life really is about a deep relationship with God. Until we have that nothing will really be succesful. Your post reminded me a lot of Gary Thomas’ book Sacred Marriage: What if God Intended Marriage to make us Holy more than make us Happy. The title alone will step on your toes!. So often we get a bit self-righteous in our marriage and think “he” is the one doing wrong but an honest look may show us something else.

    Coming to you from Kingdom Bloggers Link up


    1. Yes, I feel like Gary’s message does dovetail nicely with what I’ve shared today. He’s such a great leader of gospel-centered marriages! Yes, that self-righteous trap is such an easy one to fall into! Really hard to climb out of that habit as well! Thanks for coming by and encouraging me, Mandy! Have a great week!


  6. Making those heart changes are the hardest, but yes, they are definitely the way to make lasting changes. I used to think that lack of communication was the biggest problem in marriages, but as I got older, I knew it wasn’t. Some couples communicate very well, but if the hearts aren’t right, the communication just highlights the problem! Surrender and brokenness are the roads less traveled, but the worthy ones. Thanks for helping us stay focused on the root problems and not just surface answers, Beth.


    1. Yes, Lisa! We so often want to fix the character flaws in our spouses instead of dealing with our own. And this is especially true when we have acted in better, more godly ways than our mates. Still, there is always something God wants US to recognize and do no matter how small or insignificant it might be. But what I’ve found is wonderful about that is that God uses that small amount that I take responsibility for and multiplies the blessings from it. Gotta keep that in mind as I go forward! Sometimes I preach to myself in my blog post and sometimes I preach to myself in my comments to the blog post! Lol! Thanks so much for coming by!


  7. YES!!!!!! Oh, how a love your heart for God’s Word and your commitment to keeping things practical!!!! Thank you for sharing your real-life example of how you apply the Bible to your life. I’m particularly pleased that it wasn’t a passage specific to marriage, yet you applied it in a way that impacted your marriage. Love, love, love this post. I’m going to feature this in my Friday Favorites next week.


    1. Thank you for your enthusiastic support and encouragement, Jana! I know that we share a huge passion and love for God’s word and how it can radically change us in our lives and marriages. It’s truly the only way to live and relate–sitting at Jesus’ feet! Thanks for your desire to share it! I’ll have to swing by (if I remember to! Got a workshop we’re doing that day!) and I’ll share it as well! Hugs to you!


  8. Beth, good morning! Thanks for the reminder to always go back to the One who created marriage in the first place. Makes me wonder what our marriages would have looked like if we’d lived that out each day over the years instead of trying to do things in our own energy.


    1. Hey there, girlfriend! I’m happy to point to Him when we’re dealing with the other “hims” in our lives! Lol! I shudder to think of how my marriage would be without Christ and His word guiding and empowering me! Hugs to you!


  9. I needed this reminder to bring my heart to God instead of trying to fix everything on my own.


    1. I’m so glad you were ministered to by this, Rebecca! I know you know this stuff, but if you’re like me, then I know we need to hear it over and over, especially when new challenges and seasons come our way! Hugs to you!


  10. Beth, this is such a wonderful post! Turning to God’s Word and prayer for comfort, perspective, and guidance is exactly what we should be doing! Thank you for the encouragement! Shared!

    Thanks for linking up at InstaEncouragements!


  11. Such great wisdom! Shared on Pinterest.


  12. This post is providentially timed for me. I’ve been struggling with this one recently, and your post has really encouraged me. I love how you’re not promoting different techniques, because prayer has been what we needed. So many times when I feel distant from my husband, it’s actually my heart that needs to be ‘worked on.’ 😉 Great post.

    Oh, and congrats on your 9-year blogiversary. That’s awesome!


  13. Beth, after 45 years of marriage, I can attest to the truth of your insights. In just a recent issue I had been struggling so hard to “fix” the problem the way I saw it. When I finally let go and allowed God to take over I felt a peace I had not felt in a long time, and am seeing God work it out in ways I could not. Thanks for this insightful and well written piece.


  14. I love everything about this, Beth! Practical tools are great, but you’re so right about Heart work and how Heart work happens- in Christ! I have been much relieved in my marriage to find that a close relationship with Jesus heals and improves much more than anything else- it’s effort still, but it’s also rest. Your book looks wonderful too! Thanks for the chance !


  15. I struggle to allow God to change my heart towards my mother-in-law. I think my attitude towards her is just a bad habit now :/


  16. Dear Beth,

    Yes, communication is over-rated. If anything, problems in communication are symptoms of problems elsewhere (lack of harmony, conflicting desires, …). We are alone together much more now (The Boy has left home for university) so we are gradually rediscovering a private space together.

    I always feel the benefit of prayer or of Bible study, and of spending time online in this space, … but (so far) that doesn’t translate into regular contact.

    > What typically gets in the way of making prayer and/or Bible study an
    > ongoing habit in your life?

    For more Bible study, I just need to find/make time for me to write — anything.

    For prayer, it’s …

    > Have you come to that place of surrender and brokenness?

    … no. I love to pray but I notice that in my regular bedtime prayer there are some things I am “leaving out”. That kind of corrupts the whole prayer and makes it wooden. There is pride — I want to be in control of this relationship. Perhaps in writing prayer I could push myself into that more emotional zone (see above on time to write). Perhaps bedtime prayers should be more thanksgiving and rejoicing.



  17. I think we all try to fix things, if we could, we wouldn’t even need God. I think prayer is key and pray together and for each other.


  18. Thank you so much for sharing this! I really appreciate every word!


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