Not Satisfied with Just Coping
If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? Genesis 4:7, NASB
Philip came for marriage help—by himself. He described symptoms of depression, all of which were related to his marriage. He was embarrassed at being depressed and at having marital problems. He believed that because he was a Christian, he wasn't supposed to have these kinds of problems. But he was tired of pretending, tired of "coping."
Many couples are like Philip. Amid religious expectations, they struggle just to cope with their marital problems. They pretend all is well, while their lives at home are a mess. They wonder how they can expect to walk in God's forgiveness while harboring anger and bitterness. When a person's home life differs from his or her spiritual values and teachings, feelings of inadequacy, guilt, and condemnation are often added to the pain of loneliness, rejection, fear, anger, or bitterness.
We helped Philip to explore his unresolved anger. He had not found it helpful simply to commit himself to not being angry with his wife. With every new commitment Philip made came new hopes on his wife's part—hopes Philip dashed at his next outburst. We helped Philip identify the hurt behind his anger, and we involved his wife in a meaningful time of forgiveness and comfort. She was able to express compassionate care for the hurt in Philip's life—some of which had nothing to do with their marriage. Philip was able to listen more attentively as his wife communicated the hurt she felt as a result of his anger. Healing was underway, and coping began to give way to abundance.
Philip and his wife learned an important lesson about the expectations we should have for our marriage, one of them being that we shouldn't merely cope with the problems in our marriage; rather, we address them and work to solve them.
What areas of your marriage have you been "coping with"?
What steps will you take today to solve your problems?
Thanks, Father, for Your promise of abundance.