Sorry, God Is NOT Going To Fix Your Marriage (Here's Why)

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don't wait on God to fix your marriage

I frequently receive long emails from people seeking advice about their miserable marriages.

They describe spousal abuse, flirty emails and porn on the mate's cell phone and a lack of availability for passionate lovemaking. While some clients have endured an unloving marriage for a few months or years, others have suffered for decades.

When these pleas for help come from Christians, about 90 percent of them end the same way: "I don't want to accept defeat and get a divorce. I pray every morning for God to touch my spouse's heart. I believe the Lord can change my mate. I just have to be patient and wait on the Lord. Your advice is greatly appreciated."

Yearning for "miraculous transformation" is a universal reaction to misery

Non-Christians make similar declarations when their marriages derail. They say things like: "I'm waiting on the Universe [or, my Higher Power] to take control of my mate."

Or they lament, "I need Spiritual Evolution to awaken peace in my mate's mind so we can enjoy a wonderful marriage."

And many world religions teach, God will take care of your marriage. If it gets too bad, God will either fix it or simply kill the rebellious spouse.

So, should you wait on a miracle if your marriage is miserable? Here's what you must know:

It takes only one person to screw up a marriage

In nearly every "I'm waiting on God to solve the problem" email that I've received, the writer said something to the effect: "My spouse shows no desire to change." And thus the person is attempting to bypass the mate's stubborn mindset by appealing to God, the Universe, their Higher Power, etc. to "magically transform" the mate into a loving spouse and parent.

In Bonnie Kaye's Straight Talk newsletter she made a profound statement that people in unloving marriages need to memorize: "When you are married to a gay man, it doesn't take two to screw up the marriage."

We can easily see the truth of that statement when a homosexual person's marries someone straight. But Bonnie's insight applies to other situations, like when you're married to an abusive mate, a sexually free-roaming spouse, or someone without natural affection … it doesn't take two to screw up your marriage. It takes only one immovable dysfunctional person to damage a marriage beyond repair.

One person cannot change an unloving marriage on their own

If you're married to an abusive, unfaithful, or unloving person, it's not personal. It's not about you (though they'll likely tell you otherwise). It‘s about your mate preferring to live a lie to maintain an elaborate make-believe world in which he or she is the victim and you are the villain.

Such mates refuse to put in the intellectual, emotional, and sexual effort to learn how to live with and how to love a real, breathing human being who has desires, needs, and faults of their own.

So, can God reach down and magically zap such an obstinate mate into a loving spouse and parent?

Sure God can. But he doesn't! And he won't!

(The biblical story of God refusing to give Solomon "a perfect heart" is an example of him refusing to transform people into a perfect loving spouse or parent.)

So, the next question is WHY? Why is "waiting on the Lord" to fix your marriage woes the wrong approach?

Because God gave us free will!

The greatest gift God gave us, aside from life itself … is free will. God knows that obedience without the freedom to rebel means nothing. Love without the ability to refuse to give it means nothing. A life without free will is like being a vacuum cleaner that sucks up dirt when someone turns it on and quits sucking dirt when someone unplugs it.

God doesn't want mindless obedient robots with "perfect hearts." God reminds (through examples like Solomon) that we're each responsible for ourselves and accountable to God for the choices we make. If we honor God of our own freewill, then God promises us lives of love and reward. But there is no "magical" forcing us or our mate to do so.

Your spouse's abusive, adulterous or unaffectionate behavior is THEIR choice, made of their free will. And only through their own choice will they change that behavior.

So what should you do instead of asking God to change your partner?

1. Remember your own God-given worth  

Instead, of changing your partner … beseech God to open your eyes so you can hold your mate accountable for his or her behavior. And remember, God created you in his divine image of love. You don't exist for a dysfunctional spouse to abuse for their own pleasure as they neglect your equally valuable needs and desires.

2. Don't blame yourself (or God) for your spouse's dysfunctional choices

Defective people lack motivation to grow up as long as they can blame someone else who willingly accepts their illogical accusations. Shouldering blame for a mate's poor choices is YOU being in denial about their objectionable behavior.

Praying to God, asking the Universe or Higher Powers, or appealing to Spiritual Revolution to change your mate is deflecting the blame for your spouse's free-will choices and places them on supernatural forces. No one grows up or grows into a better person in this scenario.

3. Hold your mate accountable

Whatever you do, don't cover up the abuse, illicit sexual activity, or the lack of emotional love in your home. Don't pretend to your family and friends that your marriage is wonderful if it's truly painful. Living a lie enables and encourages the dysfunctional person's behavior.

Look, I know that both men and women who mistreat their mate often make life extra miserable when you call them out on their bad behavior. They scream, hit, threaten, withhold money and sex, and judge motives when you endanger their fantasy world. It takes true courage to stand up to their intimidation and manipulation.

But these issues are not just between "you and God." Abusers and manipulators of all kinds love secrecy. If you seal your lips, hope for real change is lost.

4. Change requires new action

Doing mental housecleaning and changing is one of the most difficult tasks for a person to perform. Many people are lazy and set in their ways. They aren't motivated to put in the hard work that real change requires.

Most of the desperate marriages in which I've witnessed a tremendous change in an abusive, unfaithful, or unloving spouse happened after the mistreated mate kicked the abuser out of the home (and then set measurable boundaries before the spouse could return). They didn't cave in to apologies or claims of a religious makeover. Talk is cheap; an apology is just the beginning of making lasting changes.

How to know if they've truly changed?

The key is insisting on tangible results (i.e. after successful counseling, the spouse at fault recognizes the harm he or she has done to the family and exhibits a noticeable, consistent change in behavior, and has perfected new problem-solving skills).

Sometimes a spouse does finally care enough to put in the work necessary to preserve the relationship. But just as often the offending spouse simply moves on to someone new to brow beat.

The marriage will either get better or it will end

Too many people place emphasis on "preserving the marriage" regardless of what's honestly going on with it. That's not God's way!

Instead of zapping people with loving hearts, God insists on "true love" being practiced in the home.

God did not like Solomon's choices, but he accepted them. Then he allowed Solomon to suffer the consequences of those foolish decisions. As much as we love someone, we cannot make their choices for them. We can only make our own.

Many people stay married "for the sake of the children." But the children suffer tremendous harm by living in a toxic home where one dysfunctional parent blames the mate (and sometimes the children, as well) instead of being accountable for their own behavior. And you passing the blame on to God, the Universe, Higher Power, or to Spiritual Evolution by asking for a miracle … is a cop-out!

Instead, it's time to summon the courage to tell your wayward spouse, "God expects better of you, and so do I. It's time to grow up or ship out!"

Visit Patsy Rae Dawson's website for more outspoken advice on Christian women and sex or read her book The Song of Solomon Love Triangle: God's Soulmating and Lovemaking Guide for a Lifetime of Passionate Sex.