Marriage Ups and Downs
Melanie Chitwood

"He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together." Colossians 1:17 (NAS)

Has there ever been a time when you thought that marriage is harder than you expected or more challenging than you want it to be? My marriage of 18 years to Scott has been a roller coaster of ups and downs this week, and today I'd prefer a whole lot more of the ups, or least some steadiness. We've argued about how often we're physically intimate and how often we have intimate conversations. We've argued about who works harder and who's giving more to the relationship right now. We've argued about really basic issues.

In the private place of my mind and heart I've had questions about my marriage. I've questioned how two people who are so different can be content to be married to one another. What will continue to sustain us and to create a stronger marriage through the years?

And to top it off, I think to myself, "Melanie, you write about marriage. Shouldn't you have this marriage thing figured out? What on earth am I doing writing about marriage?" Deep down inside, however, I know that's exactly why God asked me to write about marriage. I don't have all the answers, as that has been glaringly obvious this week.

But I know the One who does. I know the One who created marriage. I know the One who blesses my marriage. I know the One who holds my marriage together, as today's key verse reminds us.

This morning as I talked to God about me and Scott, I prayed, "Lord, I don't want to be at an impasse with my husband. I want us to find peaceful ground. I want us to find oneness. I want to help him, not hinder him." As I turned to God with my heart held in my hands offered up to Him, God changed me.

God answered my simple prayer in the most practical way. I prayed, "How can I please you today in my marriage?" God's answer to my heart was, Bring Scott lunch today. Make him a big, delicious, healthy salad because that's his favorite lunch.

"Really, God? Don't you think Scott and I need to talk through our issues?" And then I sensed God saying, There will be time for that, but for now, I want you to obey Me.

You see, time and again I've seen that as I let God mold my heart and as I respond in obedience, God's floodgate of love and power covers my marriage, leading us to the place He wants us to be. There will be time for more conversations between us, but for today God wants me to take one step of obedience.

Okay, God, I'm on it. I'm off to make a salad.

Dear Lord, Thank You for my marriage and thank You for my husband. Thank You for holding us together through the ups and downs of my marriage. Keep me focused on You, Lord, so I can honor You and be a blessing to my spouse. Lord, when we need to communicate, I pray we can do so honestly and peacefully. When we need to forgive, I pray we will both freely and readily forgive one another. And when we have misunderstandings, Lord, bring us quickly to a place of understanding. Where we need to extend each other grace, let us do so because You have so lavishly covered us with Your grace. As I trust You with my marriage, let my marriage bring You honor and glory. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
What a Husband Needs from His Wife by Melanie Chitwood

Visit Melanie’s blog for more marriage encouragement today!

Surrender your heart and your marriage to Jesus.

Application Steps:
Do one thing today to show your husband you love him. Here are some ideas:

Give him a smile and a really big kiss when he comes home at the end of the day.

Call, email, or text him to say how much you appreciate his hard work.

Tell him how much you respect what a great dad he is or you respect how he can do any kind of home repair.

Fix his favorite meal.

Don't be too tired tonight for intimacy.

Hold your tongue. Don't say those harsh words you're thinking about your husband. Instead, talk to God.

Promise not to bad-mouth your husband to your friends.

Reflections:
Consider the attitude of your heart and the actions of your hands in your marriage. Is there anything you need to confess to the Lord? Do that now. Remember that acknowledging your sin doesn't mean that you and your husband don't have issues you need to talk about and it doesn't mean that your husband doesn't have sin in his life. It means that you are seeing yourself clearly and that you are willing to do what God wants you to do. It means you're trusting your marriage to God and inviting His transforming power into your marriage.

Power Verses:
Ephesians 5:1-2, "Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God." (NIV)

© 2010 by Melanie Chitwood. All rights reserved.

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18 Comments:

Anonymous wendelijn said...

A great working tip:

In 2009 my husband and I made the following agreement and we try to stick to it as often as possible(sometimes it's just not possible):

1)Every day:getting up 15min earlier to pray together
2) one night a week: is our date-night and we found a babysitter for that evening, we just do whatever we want to and sometimes it's just being at home together and talking
3) one day a month: we go out (shopping or anything els we want to do
4)one weekend a year: going away together

And its working great! Will continue this!

Blogger Leighanne said...

Thank you Melanie for your transparency through your bloggs and devotionals. I have been married for 8 years and ,thank God, my husband gave his life to the Lord 2 years ago and the battle began! It has been a constant fight now it seems as if we can't get on the same page with each other. It is helpful to know that there are wives dealing with the same things I am. I thank Scott for supporting your honesty in your blogs. It has truly been a blessing to me and my marriage. A special thanks to Zachary and Tyler for sharing their mom with me. God bless your family this year. I am looking forward to how the Lord will shape and mold our marriage this year!!
In Christ.....
XciTed4Jesus
Oh by the way, I woke up extra early to see my husband off to work this morning, gave a extra hug and kiss, and prayed.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

very timely devotion, i'm stuggling after 22 years of marriage, i want more than just a tv buddie..... thanks for a new approach.

Blogger TLouis said...

Thank you so much again for such an encouraging word. My hubby and I used to pray together often but we don't anymore. We know what we need to do but it is challenging with 3 little children. The words that you speak seem to be always on time and are very encouraging. I am now married for 8 years by the grace of God and this year we will celebrate 9 on March 11th. Praise God for His faithfulness! We will be doing our Love Dare book again to start off the year so we are one step closer to being closer to God as one unit. God Bless you and thank you once again.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just what I needed today. After 15 years of marriage, I feel there is nothing there anymore. We have no common ground and things have been more down than up most of the 2009 year. I was ready to give up and this devotion along with the support of my church family and pastor, I am going to give it to God, obey him and his word, and work on Me instead of trying to change my husband.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you, Melanie, for your honesty and openness about the struggles you face in your marriage. We've all been there, and many of us are there right now.
It helps to know we aren't alone.

I figured that marriage would be relatively fairy-tale in nature, and boy did I get an awakening. Being married does not guarantee a thing unless you work hard at it, and it's a full time job on both sides. And when you add kids into the mixture - look out! Everyone's time, patience, and peace can easily be compromised at best, or torn into shreds at worst. I've been there.

Don't get me wrong, it's very fulfilling for the most part, but there are certainly days when you've had enough and just want silence, peace, or grace. I've learned that on these days and all the others, if you turn to Him, He will help you and your spouse re-connect or stay connected.

Thanks for the great reminder that we all go through this season, too.

Blogger Teske said...

Thanks for your encouragement, Melanie. You are a blessing!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks!

Blogger Melanie said...

Hi Ladies - I'm enjoying your comments and praying for each one of you individually, even if you didn't leave your name, God knows who you are when I pray for you! I also appreciate the specific tips you're giving! tx! melanie

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you Melanie for your message on marriage. Sometimes I feel my husband loves his job more than me (law enforcement) and when I lost mine earlier this year - I felt like a failure and then my husband said he wanted a divorce. 2009 was a tumultous year for ours, but by God's grace and praying to keep my mouth shut - he has kept his promises. Praying rather than speaking my mind, I'm still without a job, on the verge of losing our home, but our marriage is stronger than ever. We still have our days of struggling - and my days of doubt that he's going to walk out on me - but the only word I can hang on to is TRUST. Praying for my husband has brought a huge change in me, which in turn has changed the way my husband treats me. We will be together 23 years next month and I am truly thankful for the gift God has given me in my hard-working husband. God gives us the strength in hard times and he is faithful in his unfailing love for us.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I receive the daily devotions and it always seems that when I'm at my weakest moment, I pray to God for help, and the one I need appears in my email inbox. Today was one of those days.

Over the weekend, my husband crossed a boundary line with one of my girlfriends. It was one of those situations where he lacked wisdom and judgment and thought he was consoling a friend who appeared to be in need of help but actually wanted male attention. Add that to pre-existing issues with our finances and our stepchildren.

The opening sentence to the devotional is what I've been asking myself all weekend. I prayed to God last night to help me find a starting place. I have been struggling to wrap my head around how to move forward from here. I told my husband he has three days to find a counselor for us or I'm getting an attorney.

I then read your devotional and highlighted in red what I will commit to do TODAY to heal my marriage. I then sent it to my husband. His reply back: "When you share such thoughts as these, it makes me love you more and more. Knowing this is how you honestly feel swells my heart."

We have a starting place now. Thank you.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I so understand these days you are talking about! I get frustrated with lack of communication from hubby and then when I think he's completely lost as to what I need from him he goes and does exactly what I need. Sometimes, they appear to tune us out but they do listen, it's just a matter of them doing something about what they hear.
We also have to listen and respond to what they are saying.
And, yes, sometimes it's the little things like taking hubby his lunch that mean the most to him.
We are not members of this church but I'm enjoying reading this blog so much that we will be visiting Wed night. Our teen son needs a church home as well.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am really enjoying the Love Dare. My husband and I have done numerous marriage studies, conferences and books, but this is the first book that actually gives me practical applications. I'm on Day 5 and it's going well. I encourage every married person to read it and do it.

Anonymous Christine Smith said...

Funny, I am not struggling in my marriage, but I am just like you. Called to teach on a certain topic - mother/daughter relations and my own relationship with my mom is one big rollercoaster! I have just been sitting crying out to God, asking Him how I can teach anything of worth when my own relationship is so unpredictable.
He had given me something to do to be obedient to Him in regards to my mom. And I did it. I guess that is what makes us teachers. In our very apparent weakness - He is made strong.
Thank you so much for sharing this devotion today! It has really encouraged me!

Blogger Carmen said...

First of all, Happy 2010! I excited as we start a new year to see what our Lord will bring for us. I am a faithful reader to your Proverbs 31 devotional. Today I felt compelled to write this email because I very much understood what Melanie was speaking "ups and downs in marriage". I've been married for 25 years and it's still exciting to see what comes next (that's how I choose to see it, exciting). No, it is not easy but it brings great satisfaction to go through whatever situation and come out still holding God's hand, perhaps even tighter. Well all this to recomend a wonderful book I have been reading named "Sacred Marriage" by Gary Thomas. It's been one of the best resources I have, ofcourse after the Bible. I hope you all a blessed new year.

Blogger Melanie said...

This is melanie, the author of this devotion. I will be praying for each of you by name this week, that you will let God do a new thing in your marriage this year, no matter what condition your marriage is in. God is for our marriages! I want to mention - hopefully without sounding like a sales pitch - that i've written What a Husband Needs from His Wife and What a Wife Needs from Her Husband (coming out this month) and both have bible studies at the end so that a husband and wife can each work on this marriage thing! blessings - melanie

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh my! Thank you so much for your words. My husband and I have become much closer in the past year since he became a believer, but we still have so many moments when I think the same thing. How can I be married to this man who doesn't seem to know me??? Why did I marry someone who can say such hurtful things to me and how can he not know that I need to be held??? BUT, I know that God put us together and that God will see us through the strengthening of our marriage until we are a reflection of his love! Thank you again for your words that I know I am not a horrible, wretched, person for having these thoughts myself!

Angela

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the words about marriage because marriage and relationship are an ongoing, Battle yes I said Battle. The devil comes up against you and make you doubt your spouse and God word on marriage. I am praying for the marriage of my daughters. Especially my youngest they are having a rough, tough, time in the ups and mostly down. I know that my God can bring them together as one if they rely completely and totally on Him.

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