Scriptures

Broken Marriage Relationships

Introduction

Marriage is a beautiful relationship between a man and woman and perfectly designed by God. The truth is however, that all marriages need to be constantly maintained, otherwise problems arise. Maybe you have a problem in your marriage relationship right now and need some help.

If that’s you, then God bless you for doing whatever it takes to get your marriage back on track. God bless you for not giving up on your partner without a fight.

If you’ve never seen the film ‘Fireproof’, let me recommend that you watch it, it’s a Christian based film about a non-Christian couple whose marriage is falling apart, however, the father of the husband, is a Christian and encourages his son before he decides to end his marriage, to take a 40-day challenge, it’s called the ‘love dare.’

Before we get into the ‘love dare’, please take a moment to go through the following, to remind yourself of why you got married in the first place. If it’s not possible to go through it together with your spouse, it will help focus your mind on what your trying to achieve in your marriage.

The Foundation Of Oneness

Two Become One, Genesis 1:26-28 / Genesis 2:18-25. What purposes for your marriage are suggested in Genesis 1:26-28 and Genesis 2:18-25? See Matthew 19:5-6 / Ephesians 5:31-32.

Using the concepts from Matthew 19:5-6 and Ephesians 5:31-32, discuss with your spouse, what you think ‘two shall become one’ means.

Let’s Walk Together

What are the key thoughts in Ephesians 4:1-3 as they relate to marital oneness?

Explain to your spouse what you understand the following terms to mean, ‘humble’, ‘gentle’, ‘patient’, ‘bearing with one another’.

What do the following verses communicate about oneness in marriage? Proverbs 20:22 / Proverbs 24:29 / Romans 12:17 / 1 Peter 3:9.

What are the practical implications of Colossians 3:12-14 on the marriage relationship?

If you and your spouse followed the counsel of the Bible passages you have studied, what would be the practical results in your daily lives? How would your relationship be different?

Honour One Another

Foundations of Honour

What would be some reasons why couples would not honour one another? How would you define honour? What are some things that lead to honour? Proverbs 15:33 / Proverbs 21:21 / Proverbs 20:3 / Proverbs 22:4.

Do you think you should honour others only when you see some of the things listed above? Explain your answer.

Becoming the Host, Not the Guest, in Your Marriage

Explain the difference between the concepts of being a ‘host’ and being a ‘guest.’ Mark 10:43-45. How do Jesus’ words in Mark 10:43-45 help us understand the concept of becoming a host in our marriages?

What does 1 Peter 3:7 teach about husbands honouring their wives? Give practical examples of how this would apply to your marriage.

What are some realistic things wives can do to honour their husbands according to Titus 2:4-5?

Improving Our Communication

Communicating well, 1 Corinthians 14:7-11. What principle or guideline can we learn from this passage about communication in marriage?

What are some results in your marriage when you do not speak clearly and misunderstand each other?

How do you avoid misunderstandings? 2 Corinthians 6:11-13. What is Paul requesting of the Corinthians? What may hinder someone from opening their heart and sharing freely with their spouse?

In the following verses identify the wrong communication and what should replace it:

Wrong Communication Replaced with, ‘Therefore, each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbour, for we are all members of one body.’ Ephesians 4:25 See also Ephesians 4:29 / Ephesians 5:4.

What are some of the results of communicating wisely in marriage? Proverbs 12:18 / Proverbs 15:2 / Proverbs 15:7 / Proverbs 25:11-12 / Proverbs 25:25.

Listening Well

Why do you think listening is an important part of communication?

How do the following proverbs help us listen well in marriage? Proverbs 17:4 / Proverbs 18:13 / Proverbs 21:13.

‘Forgiving One Another’

What would you say to an engaged couple who claimed to never fight and who were confident this pattern would continue for their whole marriage?

None of us is perfect. We have all done things that are wrong. We have said things we wish we could retract. That is why forgiving is an essential foundation stone for building a lasting marriage.

Understanding Forgiveness

How would you define forgiveness?

What do each of the following verses tell you about God’s forgiveness? Psalm 32:1-2 / Psalm 103:11-12 / Isaiah 38:17 / Micah 7:19 / Isaiah 43:25 / Hebrews 10:17-18 / 1 John 1:9.

Is there a difference between forgiving and forgetting? Explain your answer.

How would you answer the person who says, ‘I have forgiven him/her, but I have trouble with my feelings when I remember what he/she did’?

Forgiving Your Spouse

How are you to forgive your spouse? Ephesians 4:32

What is the biblical pattern you are to follow when there is an offence in your marriage?

My responsibility: My spouse’s responsibility

Read Matthew 5:23-24.

My responsibility: My spouse’s responsibility

Read Matthew 18:15

What are the implications of the following verses in your marriage?  Matthew 18:21-22 / / Matthew 6:14-15 / Luke 17:1-4.

What would you think of a person whose actions are described in Luke 17:4?

If your marriage is on the ropes, then please, please, please, I would strongly recommend that you go for ‘Christian’ marriage counselling

The love dare

Let’s move on to the ‘love dare’, I’ve personally used this in marriage counselling, it sometimes helps save a marriage but sometimes it doesn’t. What I have learned is that most of the people who start this challenge never finish it to the end, they get so far through it and either give up because things aren’t improving or because things are improving, the just stop without completing it.

If the doctor says to you, ‘take this medication for four weeks and it will help clear up your ailment’, you would take the medication and complete the course of treatment. Surely, if your marriage is struggling, this ‘course of treatment’ is worth the effort, I’m not suggesting for one moment that this ‘love dare’ will 100% save your marriage but at least it will give you the peace of mind of knowing that your trying everything within your power to help save it.

Day 1: Love is Patient

Today’s Dare

The first part of this dare is fairly simple. Although love is communicated in a number of ways, our words often reflect the condition of our heart. For the next day, resolve to demonstrate patience and to say nothing negative to your spouse at all. If the temptation arises, choose to not say anything. It’s better to hold your tongue than to say something you’ll regret.

‘Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love’. Ephesians 4:2

Day 2: Love is Kind

Today’s Dare

In addition to saying nothing negative to your spouse again today, do at least one unexpected gesture as an act of kindness.

‘Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you’. Ephesians 4:32

Day 3: Love is Not Selfish

Today’s Dare

Whatever you put your time, energy, and money into will become more important to you. It’s hard to care for something you are not investing in. Along with restraining from negative comments, buy your spouse something that says, ‘I was thinking of you today.’

‘For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.’ James 3:16

Day 4: Love is Thoughtful

Today’s Dare

Contact your spouse sometime during the business of the day. Have no agenda other than asking how he or she is doing and if there is anything you could do for them.

‘How precious also are your thoughts towards me. How vast is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand’. Psalm 139:17-18

Day 5: Love is Not Rude

Today’s Dare

Ask your spouse to tell you three things that cause him or her to be uncomfortable or irritated with you. You must do so without attacking them or justifying your behaviour. This is from their perspective only.

‘He who blesses his friend with a loud voice in the morning, it will be reckoned a curse to him.’ Proverbs 17:14

Day 6: Love is Not Irritable

Today’s Dare

Choose today to react to tough circumstances in your marriage in loving ways instead of with irritation. Begin by making a list below of areas where you need to add margin to your schedule. Then list any wrong motivations that you need to release from your life.

‘He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city’. Proverbs 16:32

Day 7: Love Believes the Best

Today’s Dare

For today’s dare, get two sheets of paper. On the first one, spend a few minutes writing out positive things about your spouse. Then do the same with negative things on the second sheet. Place both sheets in a secret place for another day. There is a different purpose and plan for each. At some point during the remainder of the day, pick a positive attribute from the first list and thank your spouse for having this characteristic.

‘Love believes all things, hopes all things’. 1 Corinthians 13:7

Day 8: Love is Not Jealous

Today’s Dare

Determine to become your spouse’s biggest fan and to reject any thoughts of jealousy. To help you set your heart on your spouse and focus on their achievements, take yesterday’s list of negative attributes and discreetly burn it. Then share with your spouse how glad you are about a success he or she recently enjoyed.

‘Love is strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire’. Song of Solomon 8:6

Day 9: Love Makes Good Impressions

Today’s Dare

Think of a specific way you’d like to greet your spouse today. Do it with a smile and with enthusiasm! Then determine to change your greeting to reflect your love for them.

‘Greet one another with a kiss of love’. 1 Peter 5:14

Day 10: Love is Unconditional

Today’s Dare

Do something out of the ordinary today for your spouse, something that proves (to you and to them) that your love is based on your choice and nothing else. Wash her car. Clean the kitchen. Buy his favourite dessert. Fold the laundry. Demonstrate love to them for the sheer joy of being their partner in marriage.

‘God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us’. Romans 5:8

Day 11: Love Cherishes

Today’s Dare

What need does your spouse have that you could meet today? Can you do the shopping? Give a back rub or foot massage? Is there housework you could help with? Choose a gesture that says, ‘I cherish you’ and do it with a smile.

‘Husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies’. Ephesians 5:28

Day 12: Love Lets the Other Win

Today’s Dare

Demonstrate love by willingly choosing to give in to an area of disagreement between you and your spouse. Tell them you are putting their preference first.

‘Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others’. Philippians 2:4

Day 13: Love Fights Fair

Today’s Dare

Talk with your spouse about establishing healthy rules of engagement. If your mate is not ready for this, then write out your own personal rules to ‘fight’ by. Resolve to abide by them when the next disagreement occurs.

‘If a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.’ Mark 3:15

Day 14: Love Takes Delight

Today’s Dare

Purposefully neglect an activity you would normally do so you can spend quality time with your spouse. Do something he or she would love to do or a project they’d really like to work on. Just be together.

‘Enjoy life with the wife you love all the days of your fleeting life’. Ecclesiastes 9:9

Day 15: Love is Honourable

Today’s Dare

Choose a way to show honour and respect to your spouse that is above your normal routine. It may be holding the door for her. It might be putting his clothes away for him. It may be the way you listen and speak in your communication. Show your mate that he or she is highly esteemed in your eyes.

‘Live with your wives in an understanding way and show her honour as a fellow heir of the grace of life’. 1 Peter 3:7

Day 16: Love Intercedes

Today’s Dare

Begin praying today for your spouse’s heart. Pray for three specific areas where you desire for God to work in your spouse’s life and in your marriage.

‘Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.’ 3 John 2

Day 17: Love Promotes Intimacy

Today’s Dare

Determine to guard your mate’s secrets (unless they are dangerous to them or you) and to pray for them. Talk with your spouse and resolve to demonstrate love in spite of these issues. Really listen to them when they share personal thoughts and struggles with you. Make them feel safe.

‘He who covers over an offence promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separate close friends.’ Proverbs 17:9

Day 18: Love Seeks to Understand

Today’s Dare

Prepare a special dinner at home, just for the two of you. The dinner can be as nice as you prefer. Focus this time on getting to know your spouse better, perhaps in areas you’ve rarely talked about. Determine to make it an enjoyable evening for you and your mate.

‘How blessed is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gains understanding’. Proverbs 3:13

Day 19: Love is Impossible

Today’s Dare

Look back over the dares from previous days. Were there some that seemed impossible to you? Have you realised your need for God to change your heart and to give you the ability to love? Ask Him to show you where you stand with Him and ask for the strength and grace to settle your eternal destination.

‘Let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.’ 1 John 4:7

Day 20: Love is Jesus Christ

Today’s Dare

Dare to take God at His Word. Dare to trust Jesus Christ for salvation. Dare to ask a mature Christian what Jesus did for you and all of mankind to provide forgiveness. Dare to ask them how God can help change your heart and give you salvation! Take a moment to call or visit to ask them sometime today.

‘While we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.’ Romans 5:6

Day 21: Love is Satisfied in God

Today’s Dare

Be intentional today about making a time to pray and read your Bible (if you need a Bible just ask a mature Christian to provide you with one). Try reading a chapter out of Proverbs each day (there are thirty-one, a full month’s supply), or reading a chapter in the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John). As you do, immerse yourself in the love and promises God has for you. This will add to your growth as you walk with Him.

‘The Lord will continually guide you and satisfy your desire.’ Isaiah 58:11

Day 22: Love is Faithful

Today’s Dare

Love is a choice, not a feeling. It is an initiated action, not a knee-jerk reaction. Choose today to be committed to love even if your spouse has lost most of their interest in receiving it. Say to them today in words similar to this, ‘I love you. Period. I choose to love you, even if you don’t love me in return.’

‘I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness, then you will know the Lord.’ Hosea 2:20

Day 23: Love Always Protects

Today’s Dare

Remove anything that is hindering your relationship, any addiction or influence that’s stealing your affections and turning your heart away from your spouse.

‘Love always protects’. 1 Corinthians 13:7

Day 24: Love vs Lust

Today’s Dare

End it now. Identify every object of lust in your life and remove it. Single out every lie you’ve swallowed in pursuing forbidden pleasure and reject it. Lust cannot be allowed to live in a back bedroom. It must be killed and destroyed, today, and replaced with the sure promises of God and a heart filled with His perfect love.

‘The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever’. 1 John 2:17

Day 25: Love Forgives

Today’s Dare

Whatever you haven’t forgiven in your mate, forgive it today. Let it go. Just as we ask Jesus to ‘forgive us our debts’ each day, we must ask Him to help us ‘forgive our debtors’ each day as well. Unforgiveness has been keeping you and your spouse in prison too long. Say from your heart, ‘I choose to forgive.’

‘What I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, I did it for your sakes in the presence of Christ’. 1 Corinthians 2:10

Day 26: Love is Responsible

Today’s Dare

Take time to pray through your areas of wrongdoing. Ask for God’s forgiveness, then humble yourself enough to admit them to your spouse. Do it sincerely and truthfully. Ask your spouse for forgiveness as well. No matter how they respond, make sure you cover your responsibility in love. Even if they respond with criticism, accept it by receiving it as counsel.

‘When you judge another, you condemn yourself, since you, the judge, do the same things’. Romans 2:1

Day 27: Love Encourages

Today’s Dare

Eliminate the poison of unrealistic expectations in your home. Think of one area where your spouse has told you you’re expecting too much and tell them you’re sorry for being so hard on them about it. Promise them you’ll seek to understand and assure them of your unconditional love.

‘Guard my soul and deliver me; do not let me be ashamed, for I take refuge in You’. Psalm 25:20

Day 28: Love Makes Sacrifices

Today’s Dare

What is one of the greatest needs in your spouse’s life right now? Is there a need you could lift from their shoulders today by a daring act of sacrifice on your part? Whether the need is big or small, purpose to do what you can to meet the need.

‘He laid down His life for us. We should also lay down our lives for our brothers’. 1 John 3:16

Day 29: Love’s Motivation

Today’s Dare

Before you see your spouse again today, pray for them by name and for their needs. Whether it comes easy for you or not, say, ‘I love you,’ then express love to them in some tangible way. Go to God in prayer again, thanking Him for giving you the privilege of loving this one special person, unconditionally, the way He loves both of you.

‘Render service with a good attitude, as to the Lord and not to men.’ Ephesians 6:7

Day 30: Love Brings Unity

Today’s Dare

Isolate one area of division in your marriage and look on today as a fresh opportunity to pray about it. Ask the Lord to reveal anything in your own heart that is threatening oneness with your spouse. Pray that He would do the same for them. And if appropriate, discuss this matter openly, seeking God for unity.

‘Father, keep them in Your name, the name which You have given Me, that they may be once even as We are’. John 17:11

Day 31: Love and Marriage

Today’s Dare

Is there a ‘leaving’ issue you haven’t been brave enough to conquer yet? Confess it to your spouse today and resolve to make it right. The oneness of your marriage is dependent upon it. Follow this with a commitment to your spouse and to God to make your marriage the top priority over every other human relationship.

‘A man shall leave his father and his mother and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh’. Genesis 2:24

Day 32: Love Meets Sexual Needs

Today’s Dare

If at all possible, try to initiate love making with your husband or wife today. Do this in a way that honours what your spouse has told you (or implied to you) about what they need from you sexually. Ask God to make this enjoyable for both of you as well as a path to greater intimacy.

‘The husband must fulfil his duty to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband’. 1 Corinthians 7:3

Day 33: Love Completes Each Other

Today’s Dare

Recognise that your spouse is integral to your future success. Let them know today that you desire to include them in your upcoming decisions, and that you need their perspective and counsel. If you have ignored their input in the past, admit your oversight and ask them to forgive you.

‘If two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone?’ Ecclesiastes 4:11

Day 34: Love Celebrates Godliness

Today’s Dare

Find a specific, recent example when your spouse demonstrated Christian character in a noticeable way. Verbally commend them for this at some point today.

‘Love does no rejoice in unrighteousness but rejoices with the truth’. 1 Corinthians 13:6

Day 35: Love is Accountable

Today’s Dare

Find a marriage mentor, someone who is a strong Christian and who will be honest and loving with you. If you feel that counselling is needed, then take the first step to set up an appointment. During this process, ask God to direct your decisions and discernment.

‘Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed’. Proverbs 15:22

Day 36: Love is God’s Word

Today’s Dare

Commit to reading the Bible every day. Find a devotional book or other resource that will give you some guidance. If your spouse is open to it, see if they will commit to daily Bible reading with you. Begin submitting each area of your life to its guidance and start building on the rock.

‘Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.’ Psalm 119:105

Day 37: Love Agrees in Prayer

Today’s Dare

Ask your spouse if you can begin praying together. Talk about the best time to do this, whether it’s in the morning, your lunch hour, or before bedtime. Use this time to commit your concerns, disagreements, and needs before the Lord. Don’t forget to thank Him for His provision and blessing. Even if your spouse refuses to do this, resolve to spend this daily time in prayer yourself.

‘If two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father.’ Matthew 18:19

Day 38: Love Fulfils Dreams

Today’s Dare

Ask yourself what your mate would want if it was obtainable. Commit this to prayer and start mapping out a plan for meeting some (if not all) of their desires, to whatever level you possibly can.

‘Delight yourself in the Lord; and he will give you the desires of your heart’. Psalm 37:4

Day 39: Love Endures

Today’s Dare

Spend time in personal prayer, then write a letter of commitment and resolve to your spouse. Include why you are committing to this marriage until death, and that you have purposed to love them no matter what. Leave it in a place that your mate will find it.

‘Love never fails’. 1 Corinthians 13:8

Day 40: Love is a Covenant

Today’s Dare

Write out a renewal of your vows and place them in your home. Perhaps, if appropriate, you could make arrangements to formally renew your wedding vows before a minister and with family present. Make it a living testament to the value of marriage in God’s eyes and the high honour of being one with your mate.

‘Where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God’. Ruth 1:16

 

DAILY BIBLE VERSE

"Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."

Matthew 11:29

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