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I don’t really want to use Coach Jimbo Fisher and Florida State football as my lead in (in light of the controversy around quarterback Jameis Winston).
BUT Fisher’s post-game on-field interview after FSU’s win over Notre Dame really caught my attention.
The reporter asked him what he said to the team at halftime, and Fisher said that he basically told them that he has no magic solution and that they have to simply go out and do their job.
No magic fairy dust. No magic pill. Go out and do what you know you need to do.
That kind of obvious wisdom is often what comes to my mind as I’m trying to encourage marriages. I imagine some of my marriage blogger peers and marriage counselors often feel the same.
I don’t want to go too far with the “job” analogy in regard to your role as a wife or a husband, but Fisher really is right.
There is no magic fairy dust that leads to a strong healthy marriage (and mutually-satisfying sexual intimacy for that matter).
A husband and wife have to do what they know they need to do.
We have no better play book than the Bible. It’s chock full of all these clear instructions about what marital love looks like. (And honestly, just what love looks like regardless of whether it is in the context of marriage).
So if you don’t know what to do as a wife or as a husband, then start with what the Bible says. Seek Jesus. Seek wisdom. Seek good Christian resources. And then do what you are supposed to do as a husband or wife.
If you need to grow up, then grow up. If you need to ask for forgiveness, then ask. If you need to repent and change bad habits, then change. If you need to heal from your own deep pains and issues, then seek healing.
If you need to be kinder, more loving, more available and more sacrificial, then be that person. Be that person in your marriage and your home.
I imagine by this point in the post, some of you are seething at me.
You’ve been doing your “job” as a spouse for a long time, and you’re doing it in the presence of someone who is not doing theirs.
Which sucks. And is hard. And gives a whole new meaning to long-suffering and exasperation and discouragement and anger.
If that describes your marriage, you are not alone.
I receive many comments and emails from people who have poured their entire selves into strengthening the marriage. They are indeed fulfilling God’s command as a husband or wife.
They are trying — sometimes desperately — to build a strong healthy marriage.
To no avail.
I’m grieved deeply by these circumstances and I don’t have easy answers.
Here’s what I would say:
If your marriage is simply stagnant — simply coasting and your spouse sees no reason to improve the circumstances with you, then I encourage you to keep doing your role — while also seeking support to keep yourself balanced and healthy.
Get counseling for yourself. Nurture same-sex Christian friendships where you have confidantes who will listen non-judgmentally and pray with you and for your marriage. Keep yourself in check to not become resentful, spiteful and manipulative in your marriage.
If, on the other hand, the marriage is emotionally or physically abusive or your spouse is adulterous or addicted to porn, then I encourage you to seek wise Christian counsel and the Bible as to what to do to keep yourself (and any children) safe.
Divorce is not always the solution, but if you are in a situation like I’ve described in the previous paragraph, you definitely need support in setting reasonable and godly boundaries.
And honestly, in some situations, divorce is the solution.
Yes, God hates divorce, but He also is not a fan at all of abuse and on-going adultery, etc. In those cases, a spouse who continues to sin, despite attempts to clearly make them aware of what needs to change, has indeed already left the marriage. They have bailed on the basic tenets of the marital covenant.
If this seems like a heavy post, it’s because it is.
Wherever you are in your marriage, look closely at what it means to do what you need to do. The healthiest of marriages are ones where two people deeply understand and take serious what it means to love well.
And with everything in me, I believe more marriages could get to that place if they take baby steps in that direction.
Do what you need to do.
Copyright 2014, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.