Q: Can Jesus really save your toxic marriage?
A: You better believe it. He created the universe and everyone in it. He knows everything about us. Of course he can save it. He’s done it over and over again.
Q: Will he fix it for you?
A: No. A marriage is between two people. A smart couple will include God in their marriage so that when the waters get rough, He can help the two of you work it out. He’s a team player, but He won’t do the work for you or magically change your situation.
Q: Is your marriage really “toxic” or are you just bored?
A: “Toxic” is a big word. Your marriage may not be great, but is it really poisonous? It might be, but then again it might not. You may feel like you can’t breathe or that the air is stagnant, but that’s not the same as toxicity. A toxic person is someone who is cruel in the actions or with their words or both. Toxic people are not safe to be around. But being the humans that we are, we like to build a case that sounds stronger than it is.
Sometimes we get annoyed with our spouses. We might start sleeping in another room and staying away from home more often. We might tell our friends stories about the awful things our spouses have done and they respond with things like, “I wouldn’t put up with up with that if I were you” or “Just leave already!” We begin to tell ourselves that God wants us to be happy and since we are not happy, obviously, this marriage is no longer part of God’s will. It begins to look more and more toxic, and by the time you bring your spouse into the conversation, you will already have made up your mind that he or she is no longer good for you.
It’s amazing how a couple can agree to the vows of marriage on their wedding day, but then forget what they were years later. We quickly agree to love and honor each other through thick and thin, through richer or poorer, in sickness or in health. But how about when you don’t feel like you love your spouse like you should? That’s the thin! That’s the poorer! You stick with it and ask for help.
Q: What does a toxic marriage look like?
A: A marriage full of sarcastic, disrespectful and hurtful words. A marriage that settles arguments by buying stuff to ignore the hurt. A marriage that hits, slaps or pushes. A marriage where one or more partners satisfies he or her sexual needs elsewhere. A marriage where pain is medicated through drugs or alcohol. A marriage where there is no trust. These types of relationships can be toxic.
Q: If my marriage is truly toxic, where do I turn for help?
A: First, swallow your pride and call your pastor. No matter what you may think, you won’t be able to tell him anything that he hasn’t heard before. Every community is different and your pastor should have some information on who might be best to walk you through a recovery.
If you and/or children are in danger of getting hurt by your spouse, get out of the house. If your partner is unwilling to meet you half way, you may need to let him or her go. Instead of seeking your happiness, start seeking God’s best. (By the way, God’s best will eventually lead you to true happiness, so you can’t lose.)