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Anyone who’s been married for any length of time will be able to tell you all about the brick wall that can grow up between this man and this woman who love each other so much. Left unchecked, one day they wake up and realise they’re living as strangers under the same roof. Divorce is now a very real possibility.
That was never God’s plan. Find out how you can stop that from happening – with 3 powerful things that you can do to tear down the wall in your marriage.
One brick at a time.
Why Does It Happen?
Well, that’s simple really. When one imperfect, flawed person falls in love with another imperfect, flawed person – they are inevitably going to disappoint one another, hurt one another and fail one another along that life’s journey called marriage.
This constant exposure to each others’ sins is like Chinese water torture. The more it happens, the more it hurts. Am I right?
So eventually the “injured party” puts a brick down in the wall to protect themselves from a particular hurt. The problem is that both husband and wife are injured along the way, and so both of them start putting bricks down in the same wall.
With each working furiously from opposite sides of the wall, as the months and years slip by, it grows so tall that they become isolated, separated and alone … even though they may still sleep in the same bed and live under the same roof.
Now what we have is marriage divided; a bit like that famous city divided …. by the Berlin Wall.
What’s needed is a concerted effort to start tearing down that horrible wall. But where do you start?
1. Don’t Let the Sun Go Down On Your Anger
Hearts don’t harden overnight. It takes time.
Or, to come back to our metaphor, you don’t have to be a builder to know that brick walls are built one brick at a time. A bricklayer will tell you that it’s much easier to remove a brick before the mortar is set. That’s why God has a very simple principle that each husband and wife can implement in their marriage:
Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not make room for the devil. (Eph 4:26,27)
Anger is natural – even God gets angry, although He’s very slow to anger. There are two things that we should never do with our anger.
The first is to sin – in other words, to tear each other apart, to say horrible things, to shut our hearts off, to go through long silent periods. The list goes on, you know what I’m talking about.
The second is to let the sun go down on our anger. Why? Because if we go to bed angry, it gives the mortar time to set. The issue is unresolved overnight, we don’t talk about it tomorrow or the next day … and now, the brick is part of that wall and it’s much harder to dislodge and remove.
I take this one very seriously. Once or twice in our many years of marriage we’ve gone to bed angry with each other – and it’s not something I’m keen to repeat. It’s just plain stupid. Worse still, it’s a certain path towards ruining your marriage.
Don’t let the sun go down on your anger. Ever. Always resolve the issue before you go to bed.
2. Forgive and Forget
If the 3 rules of real estate are location, location, location – then the 3 rules of marriage are forgiveness, forgiveness, forgiveness.
Here’s how God forgives us:
I will forgive their iniquity and remember their sin no more (Jer 31:34)
Just think about that – this God with a perfect memory chooses to forget just one thing – our sins when He forgives us. And what an amazing price He paid in order to forgive us: the life of Jesus His Son, nailed to a cross.
It always costs something to forgive someone and it invariably hurts as we let go. But when we do, we can forget the pain, because we’ve let go of our right of retribution and restitution.
Each act of unforgiveness puts yet another brick in the wall. Conversely, each act of forgiveness, removes that brick even before the mortar is dry.
Come on, it’s a no-brainer!
3. Be Prepared to Get Blood On Your Hands
Try as we might, there will invariably be some bricks cemented firmly into the wall. Things we can’t talk about because they hurt. Things that one party or the other just won’t budge on. Apparently intractable problems.
He’s stopped paying her attention and wooing her and yet he gets so angry every time she mentions it. And she’s stopped making it easy for intimacy just to happen in their relationship. Every time he raises it, she gets defensive and tells him all the reasons why.
Left unresolved, these things separate this man and this woman who should be one in God. What do we do about those, hmm?
Imagine this. Husband and wife both decide that they are going to do whatever they have to do, to be as close as they used to be. To be as intimate as they used to be. To be as head over heals in love with one another … as they used to be.
They’re prepared to listen, to try to understand, to change, to put absolutely everything on the table for the sake of each other.
They’re prepared to deal with the difficult issues. They’re prepared to work together to tear that wretched brick wall down. One brick at a time.
Will it hurt along the way? Yes, most certainly! Will they’re hands become bloodied? Sure, absolutely!
Is that a surprise to God? No – not at all.
In fact husbands, He’s called you … He’s calling you, to take the lead in this very thing.
Husbands love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her. (Eph 5:25)
(I didn’t have to look that one up – it’s already written on my heart.)
And the last time I checked, the way Jesus loved us, was by being nailed hands and feet to a cross.
So…don’t just sit there. Get to it!
Read more from Berni Dymet in his blog A Different Perspective.