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Devotional for Couples

Marriage is Not for Victims

H. Norman Wright

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Marriage is Not for Victims

We hear a lot today about victims; and they do exist because of what others have done to them. Some people, however, are self-made victims because of what they have chosen to believe.

Marriage Is Not for Victims

“I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13

We hear a lot today about victims; and they do exist because of what others have done to them. Some people, however, are self-made victims because of what they have chosen to believe.

These beliefs cripple their own growth and development as well as hamper the health of their marriage. It may be well to identify these thoughts and phrases so they never have an opportunity to creep into your life.

When they exist, every time they are used you subconsciously began to believe and fulfill them.

I can’t.” Have you ever kept track of how often you say this? Do you realize that these words are prompted by some kind of unbelief, fear or lack of hope? Think about it.

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These three factors often hinder us from moving on with our lives and marriage. When you say, “I can’t,” you are saying you have no control of your life. But it’s no harder to say, “It’s worth a try.” You will like the results of this positive phrase much better.

“That’s a problem.” Sometimes instead of saying, “That’s a problem,” we say, “He’s a problem” or “She’s a problem,” especially after being married for a while. People who see life’s complications as problems or burdens are immersed in fear and hopelessness.

Life is full of barriers and detours, but every obstacle presents an opportunity to learn and grow—if you have the right attitude. Using other phrases such as “That’s a challenge” or “That’s an opportunity for learning something new” leaves the door open for moving ahead.

“I’ll never . . .” This victim phrase is the anchor of personal stagnation. It is the signal of unconditional surrender to what exists or has happened in your life.

It does not give yourself or God an opportunity. Instead say, “I’ve never considered that before” or “I haven’t tried it, but I’m willing to try” and open the door to personal growth.

“Why is life this way?” This is a normal response to the deep pains and sudden shocks of life. Some people experience one hurt and disappointment after another.

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Others experience a major setback and choose to linger in its crippling aftermath without recovering. They inappropriately use this question again and again for months and years.

“Why is life this way?” and its companion statement, “Life isn’t fair,” are overused for the normal, minor upsets of everyday life. Life is unpredictable. Life is unfair. Life is not always the way we want it to be.

But our response to life is our choice, and the healthiest response is reflected in James 1:2,3. These verses encourage us to consider adversity as something to welcome or be glad about. Joy in life is a choice. Growth in life is a choice.

Change in life can be a choice, and choice comes before joy, growth and change.

“If only . . .” This phrase imprisons us in lost dreams. Another phrase, however, can release us from yesterday and usher us into the future. The phrase “next time” shows that we have given up our regrets, we have learned from past experiences and we are continuing on with our lives.

“Life is a big struggle.” This victim phrase reinforces the difficulties of life. Struggles can and should be turned into adventures. Your future marriage could be structured either way.

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Yes, it will take work. You may be stretched, and you may feel uncomfortable for a time. But this is the way to take steps forward.
“What will I do?” This question is a cry of despair coupled with fear of the future and the unknown.

Instead say, “I don’t know what I can do at this moment, but I know I can handle this. Thank God I don’t have to face this issue by myself.

I can learn and become a different person.” Remember the encouraging words in Jeremiah 29:11: “ ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’ ”

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