We’ve all seen it before – a once happy couple appears solemn and distressed. We wonder what happened to the peace in their marriage. When couples experience relationship challenges, a question asked by those tasked with helping bring greater peace in their marriage might be “What is it that you want in your marriage that you are not experiencing right now?”
The answer to this question usually goes something like this:
- More fun and excitement, things have gone stale.
- I want my best friend back.
- I want to feel attractive and desired by my husband.
- I want better communication, he doesn’t talk to me.
- I want us to be on the same page.
There are many things one could list, and underneath each one of them is likely a desire to be at peace. So where do you find this peace when there’s conflict, tension, distance, and resentment bubbling up in your marriage?
The peace you are looking for in your marriage, and in the way you experience your husband, exists in part within yourself – in your mind, your perception, your attitude, your point of view.
However, the big secret to having greater peace in your marriage is not found in looking to your husband as the source, but in looking to God.
Now maybe you already know this on an intellectual and even spiritual level. Yes, someone else can’t MAKE you happy, you have to be happy within yourself. Yes, God is the only person that can truly meet all of your needs, and you should pray instead of worrying and allowing yourself to be upset. I hear you mumbling that to yourself right now. I’ve done that too. And I also know:
Easier said than done.
In order for you to truly internalize this message though, you have to be aware of a few realities that we have a tendency to skip over in our quest for fast results and quick improvements during challenging times in our marriage.
If you can really hear the following points, you will find that the path to greater peace in your marriage will be a lot smoother and more direct. So take a breath, commit yourself to soaking up the following words instead of quickly scanning them so you can get on with your day. Open your mind to the possibility that what you will read next could dramatically alter the way you’ve been approaching gaining peace in your marriage.
Okay? Here goes.
#1. Human love will fail you.
You are an imperfect person. You don’t always do the things you should; you don’t always say the things you are supposed to say, and you make mistakes – sometimes huge ones. One of the big lies most of us go into marriage believing is that our spouse won’t disappoint us. You might think:
- the love you have for each other will be enough to keep those good vibes going.
- their goal should be to meet my needs and do the right things to make me happy.
- they will know all of my expectations, and be willing to fulfill them with masterful precision.
When these things don’t happen, you look at your spouse as if they are in the wrong when you should be looking within to see how you can fill in the gaps with a stronger connection to God and greater care and love for yourself. You want our spouse to do that work for you instead of rolling up your sleeves and getting on your knees before God.
#2. No one knows you better than God.
The way you come to understand yourself is a function of your conscious thought. The things you can see, feel, and know about yourself based on your experiences is how you form a concept of who you are and how you feel. So, if you are after greater peace in your marriage, you seek it based on your conscious thoughts and perceptions – what you see and feel on a regular basis.
But there is another part of you hidden deep within your spirit, that unconscious part of you that you are not even fully aware of, but that God is. As your creator, He knows exactly what your deepest needs are and he has the perfect way to fulfill them and make you feel complete. You may think that when your husband is more romantic or is communicating in the ways you desire, that those things will bring you peace, only to find that if you’re really honest with yourself, they don’t actually bring you the fulfillment and wholeness you are seeking. That’s because your husband is never going to get it 100% right for you 100% of the time. When he falls short, that’s a signal for you to turn to the ONLY person who can, which is God. He’s the one that created you with that specific need in the first place, and only He can truly satisfy that void.
#3. You can’t receive what you have not yet cultivated within yourself.
Think of a time when someone gave you a compliment you had a hard time accepting. Think about how their kind words didn’t really get deep within your heart because you didn’t actually feel that way about yourself. Then think of a time where you were glad to receive a compliment because you just knew you were deserving of it. Feel the difference? When you have a feeling on the inside, someone else’s validation is so easy to receive.
Be honest with yourself here. Are you fully at peace within yourself? Do you love and accept yourself, do you speak to yourself with kindness and compassion, do you honor your own skills and abilities? Or do you judge yourself, critique yourself, and focus on all the things you’ve not yet accomplished? Being able to experience peace in relation to another is a function of first being able to experience peace within yourself. Disharmony in your marriage is a reflection of disharmony within. What do you need to do to be more at peace with yourself? What are some healthy ways you can create fulfillment that don’t require your husband to do anything different from what he’s doing now? How can you begin to embrace this moment in time as a great teacher that will help you to become a stronger, better version of yourself?
#4. Peace comes from gratitude.
Sometimes, conflict exists more in your mind than it actually does in your marriage. Even if you and your husband argue often, or you find yourselves regularly frustrated with each other, those are just isolated moments in time.
Peace comes from stepping into the present moment and from taking stock of all the things you have to be grateful for right then and there. You feel disappointed when you look at the past. You feel worried or anxious when you consider the future. You find peace when you appreciate the present. So right now as you read these words, write down 5 things you have to be grateful for in your marriage this very minute. Don’t consider what happened even 2 minutes ago, or what might happen in 2 hours. Just consider this minute. Right now. Ask God to show it to you. What’s going okay? What’s going right? Get in the habit of bringing yourself to this place often. And often you’ll find peace.
Experiencing peace in your marriage is often a conscious choice. It’s so important to release unnecessary expectations, to let go of past hurts, and to tap into the complete joy and love that can be found with a closer relationship with God.
As you read these four realities, which one sticks out the most for you? Which one do you feel that you need to start applying to your life in a more intentional way?
Make a commitment to become your own peacemaker. Choose to forgive on a daily basis. Turn to the One who knows you best. Create a more fulfilling relationship with yourself. And always, always find something to be grateful for. It is there you will find an abundance of peace that your heart and soul desires.
By: Chavonne Perotte
Dr. Chavonne Perotte is a speaker, transformational workshop leader and marriage coach who helps women create happier more loving marriages without having to make over their husband. She is the author of Voices in Your Ear: New Conversations to Transform Your Mind and Renew Your Marriage, which is a devotional for wives to encourage and equip them to maintain a positive mindset. You can find out more about her and her work at at BeRelateAble.com, or find her on Facebook at FB/RelateAble.