Sick and tired
Generally, I do not go to the doctor when sick. I’ve taken kids for ear infections and all that, and certainly that time when my son’s staph infection on his jaw made him resemble Jay Leno, also weirdly.
Being short on time, a DIY’er, wary of antibiotics, and not needing the doc to say “your body will heal itself”—I just treat symptoms.
But recently, there was a rather revolting, all-inclusive package of them. I dreamt at night about how terrible my throat felt. I kept having to say “no” to events. And turns out in order to work out, I had to breathe.
I was sick and tired of being sick and tired.
So I meekly succumbed to medical care. I donned the proffered mask at the clinic, dabbed on hand sanitizer like a force field.
Sure enough. Later, the pharmacist was handing me a “fairly strong” antibiotic and some steroids.
Ever wish you could get to the bottom of that thing that wearies your marriage, already? Or do you feel content treating symptoms?
Paul David Tripp writes, “relationships are first fixed vertically before they are ever fixed horizontally.” He continues,
In my marriage, I have had to make this confession—my problem isn’t first that I have failed to love [my wife] Luella in the way that I should. No, my deeper problem is that I have not loved God as I should.*
Jesus said that the second commandment of loving our neighbor is like the first: to love God with all that we are (Matthew 22:37-39). Our intimacy and community are outworkings of how God loved us: laying down His life for us, pursuing us when we were His enemies.
What are the heart problems—starting with yours—beneath the symptoms?
If I may be so bold, what is the key idolatry, the key desire morphing into a demand? Desires often begin as something healthy (Thriving kids! Me time! Ministry!). But then we punish our spouse, because we’re not trusting God to meet our needs.
Don’t shy away from the Physician. Start treating marital symptoms from the heart.
Here are six ways to sort through the symptoms to diagnose the “disease” in your marriage.
The good stuff: What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? (James 4:1)
Action points: What’s one desire that has swollen beyond its appropriate proportions—into something you must have? What would God have you surrender in full belief that He will care for you (1 Peter 5:7)?
Pray sincerely, “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!” (Psalm 139:23-24).
*Tripp, Paul David. New Morning Mercies: A Daily Gospel Devotional. Downers Grove, IL: Crossway (2014), location 4882. Kindle edition.
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