When Good Relationships Feel Bad

Relationships are a good gift from God. Just because they are a good thing, it doesn’t mean they always feel good. What about when good relationships feel bad?

Relationships, especially the closest ones, require a great deal of maintenance. Sometimes they feel bad because we are neglectful in maintenance. Maybe something else has taken their rank in priority, and repentance is required for restoration. This is potentially the easiest case scenario.

Sometimes relationships feel bad for reasons that are out of our control. Maybe, for instance, it’s the other party who is being negligent… and they are blind to it. You have shared your concern, but nothing has changed. The pain seems to heighten with each day as a result of cumulative hurts. The hurt begins to turn into anger, and even bitterness. What then?

Since there are a variety of relationships that may require a different approach, I will be more specific and discuss our response to this kind of pain in the spousal relationship. God intended marriage to be permanent. Friendships can be optional, and thus require a different approach at times. Also, unlike our relationship with a friend, our relationship with our spouse is inescapable. We cannot just simply have a “break” from it. Each day we are faced with the challenge and hurt, and we are faced with a decision as to what we will do about it.

I think this circumstance is an inevitable season in marriage. Marriage is between 2 sinners, and we have times when we don’t respond biblically in our relationships. Some folks, sadly, face this circumstance perpetually. Maybe with a spouse that is either unsaved, or not walking with the Lord. Either way, there is help, and it is found in God’s word.

The bible says in Psalm 61:2,

From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

Our earthly relationships often fall victim to our whims. Unlike Christ, who is the same yesterday, today, and forever, we seem to be ever-changing. Maybe mint chocolate chip was my favourite ice cream flavour of yesteryear, and I no longer enjoy long walks on warm evenings hand-in-hand.

Our spouse is no different. He will be unpredictable, and thus hard to please at times. He is human, and he will fail me.

Christ however, will not. He is referred to in scripture as, “the rock”. The one who is immoveable, steadfast, and unchanging. Therefore, when my heart is overwhelmed within me, lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

Notice, by the way, that scripture doesn’t say to simply, “be positive” when we are overwhelmed. Our job isn’t to seek the positive in a difficult situation, like seeking a needle in a haystack. Our job is to seek Christ. There is a big difference.

In fact, I have a friend who got saved after she married. Her husband is unsaved, and lives a reckless and godless lifestyle. She has come to me on several occasions, crying and grieving over the state of her marriage. She is doing what she can to live a godly, honourable life. Her desire is to win her husband to the Lord through her lifestyle. It has proven to be a hard task, but she hasn’t given up.

I do not, however, counsel her to look for the positive in her husband. To be honest, I don’t know if there is much to be found. I do counsel her to run to her Lord, her rock. There is oh, so much to be found in Him.

He is faithful. He will never leave me, nor forsake me. He always hears me when I cry unto him. He loves me with an everlasting love. He never changes…

Those are to name just a few attributes of Christ, our rock. As we plant ourselves firmly on the rock of Christ, we will not be greatly shaken! (Ps 62:2)

Christ’s faithfulness has been an attribute that has particularly ministered to me in these times. I am encouraged just by meditating on this single attribute. What is an attribute of Christ that has been a particular ministry to your heart during these times? I would love to hear!