Every couple goes through marital issues and obstacles, sometimes even more so for Catholics. We often have expectations of how a marriage can and should be, and tend to panic at the first sign of deviation from that image. Thankfully, our faith provides us with all the answers we need to resolve any troubles we come across.
Here are a few tips that have helped me and my darling hubby power through the marital issues we’ve encountered so far:
Keep a Cool Head
The Bible is a rich source of advice for every aspect of our lives, including marriage. When it comes to those times when you’re headed for an argument, look to Ephesians 4:31-32 for inspiration: “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice. And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.”
Simply put, set your anger aside and focus on forgiveness instead. Couples will inevitably cross each other at some point in their relationships; no marriage is ever without its speed bumps. What the Bible tells us is that the frustration we feel distracts us from what’s really important—our capacity to love, forgive, and learn from each other in times of conflict.
Jesus Christ put it best when he said in John 13:34-35, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Through all our offenses, faults and mistakes, God continues to love us. Remember this fact through any marital issue you may face.
Honesty is Still the Best Policy
“Love is patient. Love is kind. It does not envy. It does not boast. It is not proud. It is not rude. It is not self-seeking. It is not easily angered. It keeps no record of wrong doing. It does not delight in evil, but rejoices in the truth. It always protects, trusts, hopes, perseveres.”
1 Corinthians 13 is one of the most-quoted passages of the Bible, and for good reason: it teaches us to be genuine about our feelings, because love itself knows only truth. We often hide the truth out of selfishness—we might fear that our decisions will displease our partners, or we simply feel ashamed of what we’re feeling. God tells us to let go of these apprehensions and simply be honest with ourselves and our spouses. Love, and by extension, truth, will keep our relationships safe from harm.
Confessing something we did wrong to our loved ones seems scary because as much as possible, we don’t want to let the other person down. Hiding the truth, however, has the opposite effect: it adds another layer to our misdeeds while preventing us from being completely open with each other. We all have our doubts and mistakes; when we learn to embrace them and work towards a resolution with each other, our relationships can only grow stronger.
Ask for Help
If you feel overwhelmed about troubles, reach out to your community, whether it be your priest, counselor, or simply a fellow churchgoer. There is always someone willing to provide help when you need it, especially in matters of the heart. Sometimes, all it takes to resolve an issue is to get an outside opinion on the matter. It’s easy to get lost in our own feelings, and having a third party help us sort things out can do wonders. There is a remarkable strength we can tap in others.
Dealing with marital issues as a Christian couple takes love, patience and time. Work your way through any obstacle with God as the center of your marriage, and see your marital issues become a thing of the past.
Emily Kirchner is a freelance writer for Discount Catholic Products, an online retailer of Bibles, patron saint medals, first Communion gifts, and many more. She’s been married to the love of her life for ten years and while it’s not always smooth-sailing, she wouldn’t have it any other way.