Marriage Matters Q & A

At our Marriage Matters Getaway, couples sent in their Marriage Questions. Below our Wave Church Pastoral Team have answered the questions.

 

 

  1. What is your opinion on couples getting counseling outside of church leadership?

 

If you need help, get help. Professional help is good and encouraged. There is value in ensuring the counselor has similar Christian values and follows the wisdom of the counsel of the Word. None of our Pastors on staff are qualified psychologists so it is important at times to go beyond just the Pastors of your Church. We have to be careful to not go to people that we just “like” to hear from because we know they will say what we want.

 

  1. How do you handle the situation when your spouse decides that we are finished having kids, but you don’t feel the same?

 

It’s important to have conversations about the reasons one partner does or does not want to have more kids. If someone feels they are really at their capacity, that should be considered. If one partner’s desire to have a child is greater than your desire to not have a child, that too should be considered. It’s important to talk through the “why” behind the “what.”

 

  1. So, a guy with extreme ADD whose love language is “words of affirmation” marries a sarcastic single mom whose love language is “quality time.” We work hard to serve each other and show love, but inevitably it’s not the way we’d receive it best. How the heck do we work on being more intentional in this busy world we live in today? The struggle is real.

 

What’s more important to you? Your busy world or your marriage. Figure out what each other needs and loves and be committed to putting the work into ensuring they feel loved and appreciated. Little steps in the right direction go a long way.

 

  1. How do I continue to make my husband feel like the head of the household when he has lost his job that was going to be a lifetime career?

 

Men want to be respected, so be sure to validate him and hold him up with your words and attitude. You aren’t what you do. Our identity is in who we are. He is the head of the house because God says he is, not because of his career. Have an attitude of “we’re in this together.” Build him up in this season. Also, if you work for God you never lose your job. Both of you must activate your faith and prayers and remember that God will restore what needs to be restored.

 

  1. We both love our adult children but I find that my spouse routinely puts them before us. It also results in us keeping secrets from each other. How can we fix this? What should I do?

 

Put the priority on the thing that matters the most. You are first married and a family before kids come. It is dangerous to side with your children over your spouse. Your commitment is first to your spouse. You cannot ever let your children have more of a say in your marriage than God does or the two of you do. Be vulnerable and honest with your spouse about how you feel.

 

  1. Can we talk more about the sun going down on your anger? I like what Lisa Bevere says about if the sun has already gone down you have until the next day. Is it ok to discuss it when you are “fresh” after SLEEPING on it?

 

Some people do really need to process. It is important that you do actually be intentional about coming back together to discuss the issue the next day. If the motive is to really process ok but if it isn’t then that’s not ok. It is important to ensure that the other person knows that they are loved and that you completely intend to come back and discuss the issue so that your relationship can be strengthened. Communicate a time when you will revisit the issue, and be sure to stick to that.

 

  1. My husband wants sex regularly and I try not to deny him but it’s starting to feel like a chore. I do enjoy it for the moment but it doesn’t leave me feeling intimate and actually gives me somewhat of a resentful attitude towards sex. What’s wrong with me?

 

It comes back to communication. Let’s be honest and upfront about our expectations. The man should love his wife like Christ loves the church and not have an attitude that he owns his wife’s body. Let your spouse know what your needs are. Tell him what would help you to want to have sex more. What do you need from him? Also, if it could be connected to your health, talk to a doctor. Anything from fatigue, to hormonal imbalance, to other medical or emotional factors may need to be dealt with.

 

  1. Should a spouse continue to submit to sex despite not receiving non-sexual intimacy (that has been expressed)?

 

Intimacy starts in the kitchen. Think about it before your husband comes home from work and be mindful of his needs. Both partners need to be mindful of the other. Having a weekly date night will help you slow down and build intimacy. You have to operate as members of the same team, which means communicating, listening to one another, and ensuring that both of you are committed to the well-being of the other.

 

  1. What do you do when your spouse and you aren’t equally yoked? I am going into ministry and sometimes, if we are arguing, they don’t want to go to church with me yet I want them to want to be the leader of our family.

Ministry starts in the home, committing to one another and ensuring love, connectedness, and communication. If you need to pause on ministry pursuits to align your marriage commitment and goals, and the strength of your marriage, that’s a good decision. Is church a “have to” or a “get to?” Ministry is an honor and privilege and should never be a weight or burden. Obviously, we don’t always see eye-to-eye, but things need to be worked out at home. Regarding his leadership, you have to allow him to be the leader and not make him be the leader. Speak into what you see in your spouse, whether it’s evident now or not, and pray for your spouse and his leadership potential. God is faithful.

 

  1. We have a difficult time communicating effectively. We feel like at times we are speaking different languages that neither of us can understand which results in frustration and assuming the worst. How do you reset your relationship so that both of you are on the same team?

    Our Marriage Builders program or Prepare/Enrich have tools that help in effective communication. Please contact the church for more information on these. It’s ok if you need a “mediator” to give you some tools for talking and listening well. You could also reach out to a marriage counselor for a few sessions to help in this area.

 

  1. My husband and I love each other dearly, but because of a medical condition have to really plan for sex. It has been challenging & I can be stubborn about hating to “plan” it and he acts like he doesn’t “feel” it. I can’t really even feel if he desires intimacy or sex. What wisdom can you give to this situation?

 

Planning for sex can be a great thing because it shows intentionality in a busy, distracted world. Change your perspective, and make it something special for the two of you to look forward to. Also, talk about how you are feeling with your spouse. An honest conversation will probably enlighten both of you. Sometimes we think that sex is a dirty subject to speak about, but when you are married it is important to talk about it. The Bible is clear about what it needs to be clear on so if it isn’t clear on something sexually, it is a matter of conscience.

 

  1. How do you work through rejection by your spouse?

    Professional counseling would be a great start to help work through all the pain. If the spouse is still in the picture, there should probably be counseling for the two of you to work this through. Beyond this, remember, that God is with you to help you be stronger than you think you can be and to bring healing you never imagined possible.

 

  1. Before tonight I had both of my feet out of the door. After tonight I do not feel the same. I still feel very disconnected from my husband. I hold a lot of resentment. How and where do we start to heal? He wants to start with “intimacy.” I believe we need to start with deep conversations. We are at an impasse. Help!!

 

Right now emotions are raw and heightened because of the pain you are experiencing.  A great starting point would be for you two to sit down with one of our pastors, and then start your journey toward each other with the help of a professional counselor. There will be give and take on both sides, and someone needs to take the first step toward covering your marriage with grace. Both of you need an opportunity to talk and be vulnerable, and have someone help and guide your conversation. That’s where intimacy really starts.  Please be encouraged because there is great hope for your marriage. It’s actions by faith that help feelings to follow – your action to share “intimacy;” his to be vulnerable and to listen. It’s ok to get professional help, and in this situation it is needed. All marriages go through times where these things are needed.

  1. What are some good tips for a couple who both have a strong personality and each want to have input and opinion on the vision for their lives?

 

It’s great that you both have vision for your lives. At the beginning of the year it’s important to sit down together and discuss your yearly goals and long-term goals. Marriage is a lot about yielding. It’s not about my vision; it’s about our vision. Each individual has their own dreams but they come out of togetherness. You’re not in a competition and you don’t serve a God who can only work in a one-sided way. Be humble, yield, listen to God, and seek Him first, and you’ll be amazed at how your strong personalities can become a powerful combination.

 

  1. How do you make your expectations not come off as criticism?

First, what positives and affirmation are you pouring into the relationship? When your spouse trusts your heart and knows you’re for him/her, it’s a lot easier to swallow the expectations. It’s all in how and when you present it. It takes good communication skills and an atmosphere of trust and love. Also, ask God to show you if you need to modify any of your expectations and if you’re willing to receive your spouse’s expectations in return.

 

  1. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 7 that it is best not to marry. In church I’ve heard that marriage is one of God’s ultimate plans for us. How are we to reconcile these conflicting beliefs as married Christians?

    The Apostle Paul was addressing the Corinthians who were living very immoral lives. So the context to what he is saying was really to bring order to a people who were new in the faith and who were married, but with little morality. Also worth noting is that some theologians believe that Paul himself was married, and there are not many people are called to live  a celibate life. Enjoy your marriage – it truly is a gift from God!

  1. Roles- how much of the household/kids duties should the husband do?

 

That’s something that needs to be worked out between the couple. Each situation is different and should be discussed. The bottom line is that the home requires cooperation and teamwork from everyone to function at its best.

 

  1. After struggling with a brief addiction, my husband will not stop controlling me. And I have been fine for quite some time.

    Rebuilding that trust takes time. Be patient with him and continue to reassure him and pray for healing. You are nurturing an atmosphere of trust and communication. Discuss what it will take for him to trust. It may take some sessions with a counselor to help work it through.

 

  1. How do you change your attitude when every other thing your spouse does IRRITATES you?

    What was it that first drew you to them? What was it that caused you to fall in love and marry them? Try to step back and appreciate their good qualities and those things. Pray for them out loud everyday. And thank God for them, with words of faith for what you want to see. Also, humbly ask God to show you ways to serve your spouse and to take a look inside yourself to access godly strength and patience.

 

  1. I feel like my husband’s lack of sexual desire is a huge problem in our relationship. I get turned on by sensing someone desires me. I am tired of always making the first move. I want to be chased! Now I am vulnerable & too attracted to sexually erotica media. Help!

 

Crossing the line into porn is going to make the problem worse. Talk to your husband about why he isn’t desiring sex. Is it medical? Is he too watching porn? It’s time for some hard, honest conversations that will open the door to the next steps you need to take, whether pastoral counsel, professional counseling, medical help, or something else.

 

  1. I feel that God has put in my heart to have another child. But at the same time I fight with that calling. I just started a new career. We lost a child a little over a year ago, in a very tragic way and we are not a young couple. How do I trust this is truly His desire for us?

    Pray together about it, talk about it. If God has put it in your hearts, He will help to work all the details out. He is kind and good, and He will honor every step of your obedience to Him. The Bible says to commit your works to the Lord and your thoughts will follow. It may be good to talk with a counselor to help work through the grieving process.

 

  1. My husband shows me zero affection during “that time of the month” Any advice on what to do?

The husband should show his wife affection at all times. It is important for a woman to feel that intimacy even if sex isn’t going to follow. Let him know what you need and make a plan for how the two of you can practice that with intentionality during the next opportunity.

 

  1. We are both guilty of being on our phones (emails, social media, surfing the web, etc) in excess, but we both focus on the other spouse’s use more than our own. I’ve tried setting the example of not using it during dinner, in bed, etc. hoping my spouse follows suit. It hasn’t worked and then I get tired waiting for attention so I go back to looking at my phone. It’s a horrible cycle. How do I make “us” a priority again without resenting my spouse for not taking the same steps?

    It’s good to set the example, but you need to talk about it. Arrange a time to talk about it without pointing fingers. Communicate honestly and sincerely. Create specific “no phone” zones or times. You both need to play it forward: For the long haul, do you want to be married to your phone, or your spouse? Get creative about how you can make each other a priority and make a plan on how you can break the excess phone cycle.

 

  1. How do you deal with making boundaries when only one spouse sees an attack?

    Good communication skills are key. Make sure what is shared is shared in love and with the best interest of the other person and the marriage in mind. Make sure what is heard is what was actually being shared. You may need a pastor or counselor to act as referee to make sure it’s a safe environment.

 

  1. Looking back on your marriage, is there anything you wish you did more of? Or, is there anything you would have done less of?

    I think we would be more intentional about being present and enjoying the moments that marriage and family bring.  We would definitely do a regular date night each week, and although I think we have celebrated life moments well, I think we would attempt to do that even better. I once heard Bill Hybels say the human heart takes lots of hits, so we need to take time to celebrate!
    We definitely would laugh more, not major on the minor things in life and give each other the benefit of the doubt more often. It’s so easy to jump to wrong conclusions about a situation, and then fester on the inside.  And the last thing would be to have more of a financial plan from the beginning of our marriage than we did. Resourcing yourselves with Dave Ramsey’s Money Makeover and Financial Peace university is one of the greatest things you can do. If you can talk and plan financially from the get go you set yourselves up for great wins in the future.

  1. When we deal with an issue I often feel that my needs are not a priority to my husband because he wants to go to sleep and will wake up the next day like everything is totally normal, all the while I am still upset and am now left to deal with my emotions and feelings by myself. Is it that he does not really care about me or he doesn’t know how to resolve anything that doesn’t emotionally affect him? Or is it that he needs to go to bed because he has to wake up in 2hrs for a 15hr work day?

    Timing in working things out is very important. Try to arrange a time earlier in the day to deal with important issues. He may not like confrontation or know how to deal with deep issues or it could be the work thing. Make sure there is good, clear communication to share. And make sure you are taking responsibility for your emotions too. You and your spouse are teammates, but you are each responsible to do the personal work to be a strong, healthy partner and not to overly rely on your partner to carry weights that you need to deal with personally and with God.

 

  1. Steve and Sharon, how does respect come into perspective in a husband and wife relationship? I ask this in the context of disagreement between couples when in the presence of others or more specifically in the hearing children.

    Disagreements always need to happen privately. Don’t correct your spouse or argue in front of people. It’s uncomfortable and awkward for everyone. And especially try not to argue in front of kids.  Something may start in front of them, but don’t let it explode in front of them. Your responsibility as parents is to give them a secure, loving and honoring environment to grow up in. And constant tensions and arguments honestly makes them afraid.  Also don’t use sarcasm to put the other person down.
    If there are some real issues in your marriage then go and talk to a pastor or professional counselor.  Let them help guide you to resolve any issues.  The Bible has a lot to say about love respect and honor, and I encourage you to make that the theme of your marriage relationship.

  1. What is “normal” when wanting to “get away” from the day-to-day routine to reconnect and keep that closeness between husband and wife? Sometimes we feel guilty at how much we want to get away.

    Some personality types are more introverted and need more “alone” time. That doesn’t mean you don’t follow through on responsibilities at work or family or church. Each couple is different. One word of warning, don’t isolate yourselves. Make sure you are still interacting with good people around you. Taking time away is for the purpose of recharging so that you can invest in and serve others.

 

  1. What should you do or act when a spouse leaves? Seek them out/let them go/other?

    It really depends on the situation. Have there been unresolved, big issues for a long time? Has one spouse been threatening to leave for a while? Have you been living like a separated couple in your home? Are there addiction issues? Is there abuse? Or Is it just a sudden walkout because of a heated situation? We would suggest you talk to pastor or counselor as to the steps necessary in moving forward. The big thing is don’t hide what’s going on. Be honest and get the help you need.How do you improve your sex life when the romance is gone? What are some examples of things couples can do to become more intimate without having sex? What is recommended for couples that experience severe lulls in their relationship?

  2. Intimacy comes down to trust and cherishing each other. Romance and intimacy happen when you put the other person before yourself. It starts with little things: praying for them out loud every day, flowers, picking up around the house, a coffee at work, simple things that prove you are thinking about them. Serve each other. It’s good to take a step back and think back to what drew you to them at the beginning. Feelings following action. So this is a huge opportunity to activate your faith as you give of yourself, serve your spouse, open up to one another through prayer and honest conversation, and purpose to push out of your ruts. You can make the first move, and see how God honors your humility and obedience.

 

  1. How do you combat lack of communication/walls being up? How do you start intimate conversations with your spouse if you already have trust issues?

Sometimes it’s good to have a pastor or counselor to help make sure there is healthy communication. Marriage Builders and Prepare/Enrich teach some really great tools for good communication. Somebody has to choose to make the first move and take the higher road. To go down a new path requires you to take that risk and make that move. Remember, the Holy Spirit is interceding for you, so you can lean on His power to help you.

 

  1. What do you do when before marriage you agreed to have sex no less than twice a week and it’s been over 10 years and it’s still about twice a month? I am the wife and I want it. He has nothing to physically keep him from it besides dabbling in porno.

Porn is only adding to the problem. There should be a frank discussion on needs and expectations. You should also check out Marriage Builders or a counselor. It’s time to move forward with intentionality so that the next 10 years (and well beyond) will be stronger than ever.

  1. How do we handle male impotence?

 

That should be a discussion with his doctor and open and honest communication in the marriage. The good news is, there are ways you can effectively deal with this so long as you bring it into the light.

 

  1. What do I do if I want to see a counselor but my husband won’t?

    It is fine for you to get the counseling you need to be stronger, whether your spouse joins you in it or not. Your intentionality and your prayers for your spouse and your marriage can cause a greater shift than you know. In general, it is important for any couple to have external input in major issues, and each spouse should be willing to do whatever it takes. If one person doesn’t want help, they are choosing to leave the marriage right where it is.