Some Guidelines for Relationship Problems

By Greg Quinn

December 27th, 2010

I recently received an email, as I often do, requesting prayer for one of our readers.  This reader was experiencing some profound financial problems, but on top of that, he had explained to me in his email that his wife of more than 20 years had left him and wasnít willing to forgive him.  He asked for my help.  In offering this assistance, I recognized that many others may experience the same problems right now.  While the economy is hurting many, there are things beyond the economy that need our prayers.  And, thatís relationships, especially those between a husband and wife.  Satan would love nothing more than to destroy your family.  Therefore, Iím sharing the information outlined in my email reply to this reader in hopes that it will resonate with others as well.

Dear Sir

I read your email, and have prayed for you and will continue to do so.  The current state of our nationís economy is wrecking many lives.  Financial problems create a tremendous pressure on a marriage.  I know a great many people who suffer from the same byproduct.  Of course we all know that a strong marriage resists even financial pressures, but these problems complicate even the most stable relationships.

Forgiveness is important, and a mandate from God.  Jesus himself spoke often of forgiveness.  To paraphrase his words to his followers in Mark 11:25-26, Jesus was saying that if you donít forgive others, then God will not forgive you.  I recently wrote an article on forgiveness, spurred to do so by the Holy Spirit.  So, forgiveness is very important.  But, donít use Godís words regarding forgiveness to beat your wife over the head because of her lack of forgiveness.  I am assuming that the problems in your relationship have built up over many years, and while the recent financial problems certainly create great strain, perhaps this was the proverbial straw that broke the camelís back.  It seems, brother, that you need to mend the camelís back.  And, since it most likely took some time to break your marriage, it may take some time to heal it again.

If your wife still loves you, and as women are emotional creatures it takes a whole lot to totally destroy this love, then there are some things that you must to do win her back.  Yes, you will notice that I said ďthat you must doĒ.  Forget your wifeís lack of forgiveness for now; God will deal with her on that.  But first, you must change the behaviors that have led her to leave you and that will make her want to come back.

I have some suggestions.  These are obviously general as I do not know your specific situation.  But, these will apply in most circumstances.

1.  Pray.
You asked for my prayers and those of our readers, and that took a humility that is often hard to develop, and I commend you for that.  Reaching out to other Christians is important.  But, remember that the most important thing you can do right now is to pray to God for His help.  And, pray specifically that He will show you the error of your ways where God can help you change you.  Donít worry about God changing your wife.  Pray that God changes you.

2.  Be patient.  Just as your marriage didnít fall apart overnight, it will not be healed overnight.  It may take some time.  Be patient.  It may take some time for God to change you, and it may take some time for your wife to see these changes in you.  And, your wife may want to know that these changes are permanent, not just temporary, before she comes back to you.

3.  Seek Godly counsel.  If you go to church, then set an appointment to seek counsel with your Pastor.  If you can get your wife to go with you, that would be even better.  Come clean with your Pastor about the problems, and if your wife is there also, donít belittle her feelings as to what caused the problems.  You are wanting to restore your relationship, and to do so, seek the counsel of Godly men that can help you move in the direction you need to move in order to see a change in your relationship.  Now, if you do not go to church, then you have another problem.  Get in church and get connected with a local body of believers who can help you and your wife through your challenges.  And remember, it is very unlikely that you are going through anything that others havenít already been through, and thereís a good chance that some other couple in your church may have experienced similar challenges and may have some Godly wisdom to share with you as to how they got through it.

4.  Read.  Read the Bible, and listen to God to speak to you through the Bible. But also, read some books to help you change you in order to change your marriage.  There are some very good books out there.  Relationship Rescue by Dr. Phil McGraw is a good one.  His Needs-Her Needs by Willard Harley is another.  The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman is another.  There are many others, but start with these three.  You need to both change you where she will want to be with you again, and you need to better understand her needs to prevent these kind of problems from occurring again.

5.  Take action.  Many people sit in church and hear the same message over and over again but then do nothing with the information they hear.   Many people read their Bible but do not ďdoĒ what the Bible says.  Many people read books that contain some good ďfixesĒ for many of the problems they are facing, but then do not exercise the solutions to make them work within their situation.  Many people pray but then do not follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit given to them through prayer.  In order for changes to take place, you must take action.

I hope these suggestions help you.  It is my prayer that God not only helps you in your finances, but more importantly in your walk with Jesus through this process, and in healing the relationship between you and your spouse.

It is with love that I write these things.  I do not know you, but you asked humbly for my help.  It is my prayer that God uses this answer to your request to get you on the right path.  But the work is up to you.  Please do keep me appraised of the progress.

Greg Quinn