“Why do you tell me to treat you with respect when you keep humiliating me in front of our friends? You have double standards, and I don’t think this is the way God intended it to be.” Sue asked her husband.
“I’m sorry. I will try to do better. I don’t know why I keep doing this.” Matt replied.
“Your ‘sorry’ doesn’t hold much credibility anymore. I’ll believe you when I see you change.” Sue replied.
The Battle Within Every Christian
If this unhealthy struggle or tug of wills goes on in your Christian marriage in some form or fashion, you are not alone. So how do Christian couples get sucked into this unhealthy tug of wills? How can they stop this unhealthy cycle?
The apostle Paul speaks about this fight within each of us in our imperfect human condition. “When I want to do good, I don’t; and when I try not to do wrong, I do it anyway. Now if I am doing what I don’t want to, it is plain where the trouble is: sin still has me in its evil grasp.” (Rom. 7:19-20, TLB)
Paul states that wanting and trying in our own strength will not help us act more like Jesus. Without Jesus teaching, leading, and empowering us through his wisdom, strength, and power, we will fail. Our faith requires us to work with Jesus, and that begins through our daily relationship with him.
The Core of Fighting
We can only do what we know. Every person begins forming their definition and design of love from their experiences, desires, messages, beliefs, and imperfect role models. We are not born knowing what Christ’s love is or how to live in it, but we are told to love like Jesus. Hearing something doesn’t help us understand the pieces or how to implement them in our lives.
“What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Isn’t it because there is a whole army of evil desires within you? You want what you don’t have, so you kill to get it. You long for what others have, and can’t afford it, so you start a fight to take it away from them. And yet the reason you don’t have what you want is that you don’t ask God for it. And even when you do ask you don’t get it because your whole aim is wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure. You are like an unfaithful wife who loves her husband’s enemies. Don’t you realize that making friends with God’s enemies—the evil pleasures of this world—makes you an enemy of God? I say it again, that if your aim is to enjoy the evil pleasure of the unsaved world, you cannot also be a friend of God.” (James 4:1-4, TLB)
The apostle James gives us another picture of our flesh desires that cause the tug of wills between our broken love design and our spouses. Jesus tells us. “We error because we don’t know the Scripture or the power of God.” (Matt. 22:29, NIV) Until we learn to operate from Christ’s love design, we will continue to error and struggle with our spouse in a tug of wills.
Only God’s Love Design Can Stop Your Tug of Wills
We are saved by faith through the gift of God’s grace in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. However, our faith is designed to be worked out and matured, which only happens with our participation in a personal growing relationship with Jesus Christ every day. Our faith grows as we study God’s word and ask Jesus to help us see what it means to love like him. With the maturity of our faith, we become more Christ-like.
Unfortunately, most Christians don’t realize they are operating from their broken love design or that Jesus has a pure love design for their marriage. Even if they want their marriage to be happy and healthy and try to achieve this goal, they often find themselves in a tug of wills, revealed by a cycle of continual fighting. As long as the couple uses their broken love designs, they will continue to struggle, hurt one another, have an unhealthy marriage, or fall into the destructive cycle of abuse, which can end in divorce or death.
God’s Design of Marriage
God created marriage to unite a couple. Unity only comes when you are both using God’s design of love seen in the life of Christ. “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.” (Gen. 2:24, NIV)
Since you are the spouse reading this blog, you have the opportunity to stop the tug of wills in your marriage. All fights take two people. When you choose to learn and love your spouse according to Christ’s design, you take yourself out of this unhealthy cycle.
I would love to tell you that loving like Jesus will heal your marriage, but each spouse must make and commit to their choice to change. Each spouse must work with Jesus and give up anything that is not in the heart, love, and character of Jesus, no matter how hard it is or how long it takes. When each spouse commits to growing and walking hand in hand with Jesus, your marriage can be transformed. My prayer for all of you is that your marriage will be healthy and transformed into Christ’s love design.
However, some of you will learn to love like Christ, and your spouse will choose to keep operating from their broken love design. As you become healthier, you will learn to draw healthy boundaries. You may also discover that you are in an abusive marriage, even though you are a Christian.
If you discover you are a victim of abuse, you are not alone. I encourage you to find a Christian abuse counselor to discover why you became a victim and how to break free in Christ. It is NEVER God’s will for you to be abused, and it is not in Christ’s love design.
Only You Can Choose to Love Like Jesus
As a disciple of Christ, your spouse’s choice not to love like Jesus doesn’t absolve you from your responsibility to love like him. We are called to a higher standard, including loving others as he loves us. Although we may be married, each one of us will stand alone before Jesus one day and give an account of our actions. (Rom. 14:12) No matter what your spouse chooses, you will only have to account for your choices and deeds.
Now you know God’s truth. Will you choose to learn to love like Jesus, no matter what it costs you, or will you continue using your broken love design? I can tell you that loving like Jesus brings the elements of his love, respect, honor, freedom, healthy boundaries, responsibility, and the fruits of the Holy Spirit. The closer you walk with Jesus, the more you will know and be empowered to live in his pure love.
Surrender to the love of Jesus, and begin your journey to discover and live in Christ’s love design. Find out more about his love by clicking this link. https://aquestforexceptionallove.mykajabi.com/