Commitment, Communication, For Men, For Women

The Issue Is Never The Issue – Going To The Source

Fierce marriage - reasons you avoid church and why to attend anyway

For the last week or so, Ryan and I haven’t exactly been on the same page about everything…not fun.

Blame it on jet-lag tiredness or entering back into the SoCal culture, but we were irritatingly out of sync. What’s worse, we couldn’t figure it out, at first.

We were civil and may have even appeared “fine” to the outside world, but every little thing he did (or didn’t do) – same goes for me with him – it just agitated us.

I’m sure we’re all familiar with the ticking time bomb feeling; the overall feeling that ONE if not both of you are going to explode if he/she even mentions (you fill in the blank).

There is no perfect marriage, meaning, all marriages have flaws and battles they have to deal with. No one is exempt.

One of our great Pastor friends (mentors, leaders, etc. etc.) Pastor Roger Archer of Puyallup Foursquare Church, always says: “The Issue Is Never The Issue” – SO TRUE.

Ryan and I found ourselves having a difficult time connecting and engaging with each other. Our light-hearted conversations quickly turned into complaining, criticizing speeches that waged war about topics such as: money/finances; our future; where do we want to go and live? What do we want to do? Why do we want to do that?

Most of the time these moments end with me crying and Ryan not knowing what to do or say (or having said quite enough already), so we turn to muddling through distractions in order to escape the heated moment.

Occasionally this helps, as there are times where we need to take a step back and breathe. Go to God, pray and really seek Him. Other times, distractions are an excuse for not really dealing with the issue. And issues aren’t always quickly identified either.

The issue in this case boiled down to Ryan and I not having our regular “quiet times” (aka devotions) with the Lord (yep, brutal honesty – let’s do this!).

Although we were reading Christian books, we weren’t spending time in the Word (bible) and I was hardly journaling (something I do religiously), nor were we spending time praying together.

Simply put, not spending time at the feet of our Savior hurts our marriage. Tim Keller does an incredible job, in his book, The Meaning Of Marriage (HIGHLY recommend) of explaining marriage and how it’s designed and how we are to operate within it.

In the first two chapters, Keller talks about how we can truly love and serve our spouses if, and only if, we have allowed God to be THE Source. He must take the proper place in our lives and be at the center.

It’s only until we’ve allowed God to take His place in our hearts and lives that we can then look past the complaints from/about each other, or the lack of connection – all the little, daily issues we face being married.

We can’t look to our marriage/spouse to fulfill or complete us – they were not designed to be our “salvation.” Christ is the only way.

When our security is in the Lord, through spending devoted, undistracted, daily time with Him – only then can we truly love our spouse, and be loved by them.

Ryan and I started to look to each other to fill the voids that only God can fill. It isn’t a first, nor shall it be the last I presume. But spending time with the Lord, first thing, is a priority that we cannot afford to sacrifice. It keeps our eyes on Him, our selfishness at bay, and our perspective on life clear.

Time with our Savior is a necessity to fighting fiercely for your marriage.

Question: Have you experienced a difficult time in your marriage that was a result in not going to The Source and spending time with God? How did you/your spouse handle it?

(Photo by Cheval Photos – St. Patrick’s Cathedral, New York)

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  • Heather Siani

    It’s funny to read something like this-not because your situation was funny-but because when you’re the couple going through it, it feels like you’re the only ones that ever have those issues at that moment and that everyone around you has the secret to a perfect little life. :) Derek and I have certainly had similar issues and I must say, he’s usually the one to call a spade a spade and address it; but I’m getting better. :) At our wedding the pastor talked about how marriage with God is like a triangle and as long as you are both growing closer to the Lord, you will be growing together. I have certainly seen that to be true in our marriage. When we notice we are getting snippy with each other we will notice, “Hey…when’s the last time we prayed together-besides dinner?” I think you’ve hit the nail on the head Selena.

    • Selena Frederick

      Thanks Heather,
      It’s hard to put it into words sometimes, but thank you. Love the triangle – it’s very true! Derek did great on Sunday again, loved hearing his heart and your guy’s story. Can’t wait to hear more soon.

  • Eric Visser

    You’re absolutely right Selena, as a Christian, having a Christ centered marriage is essential. The funny thing is (funny interesting, not funny haha) when we’re going through the rough patches, we’re either too stubborn (me) or we get too self centered/a.k.a. prideful (also me) to do what the Bible says. Colossians 3:16 says to let Christ dwell among you as you teach and admonish one another with wisdom from the Spirit (paraphrased). Verses 18 and 19 go on to say wives submit and husbands don’t be harsh.
    What’s funny (interesting) is that I believe we all know that when we are centered on Christ, on our own and in our marriage , things click, communication happens, joy comes, and Christ is glorified!

    • Selena Frederick

      Eric – Amen! It’s so true. You know when Christ is at the center – hard to deny how unified you are with your spouse; the joy is true and deep, and the communication is so clear. Funny, I just read Colossians 3:16 yesterday as well – good stuff.

  • Jeff Marsh

    Simply a great reminder to be in the Word. I always enjoy hearing Roger use that phrase, because it helps me look at all the areas in my life that are sub-par, and really dig out the causing issue. Thanks for sharing!

    • Agreed! Glad we can grow together and keep each other sharp

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  • Kate Hart

    Love this :) …..where did I put my journal?

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  • I love being a husband

    I think early on in my marriage my lack of a quiet time was problematic. This is rarely a problem nowadays and now most trouble comes from outside strain (infertility, unemployment, etc).

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  • Melissa

    Great article! Explains is well. Question…is it recommended for that dose of quite time to be solo? Or with your spouse?

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