What do you believe is the basis for building an effective relationship involving two or more people? 1 Corinthians 1:10 gives the answer. “I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment” (KJV).
That’s a picture of two people whose hearts are set on similar things, their minds work together, their plans are the same, and their objectives are the same. That’s cooperation, and that’s how marriage should work.
But the normal kind of relationship between two or more people today is competitive, not cooperative. One partner has an idea on how something should go, and the other partner has their idea on how it should go. Does that sound familiar?
This condition is described in Isaiah 53:6 as selfishness. The actual verse says, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way.” You can’t build an effective relationship until you come to grips with this tendency of selfishness. Selfishness often happens whenever a decision has to be made between you and your partner. You don’t even have to work at it.
Talking it over, thinking there just needs to be more understanding, probably won’t work. It can just solidify your opposition to the other’s viewpoint, because the more you understand their viewpoint, the less you appreciate it. Maybe you try talking it over with friends. That too probably won’t work, for the same reason that just you and your partner talking it over didn’t work.
So when it comes to you both trying ways of coming to the right decision, and none work, you have to face the fact that you’ve hit a stalemate. You also have to face the fact that somebody has to have the last word and be the leader, or the problem won’t be solved. That’s a tough conclusion to come to, because even though you’ve tried ways to solve the dilemma, nothing has really changed. Why? You each still want your own way. You are still competing.
What is it that feeds the competition you still find yourselves involved in? It’s that selfish attitude that is still in control. Selfishness is the great hindrance to cooperation.
But you don’t need to be stuck there, in that spirit of selfishness. You just need a Savior. You need to surrender your competitive nature to God and let him give you an attitude of cooperation.
Take a step . . .
Do you want your marriage to work? Then make the choice to invite Christ into your life and into your relationship. Ask Him to fill you with a spirit of cooperation and choose daily to approach your marriage in a cooperative way.
This is a summary from Dr. Brandt’s message Restoring Harmony in Marriage.