No one likes to feel pain. We avoid experiencing it as much as possible. But there are times when pain is necessary.
I’m currently going through physical therapy for an impinged left shoulder, and it isn’t fun. Each time I go there’s something that feels good about it in a weird sort of way. I got the injury doing something stupid at the gym–something I saw someone else doing and thought I could do it too. I should have known better.
That was a year ago. I kept thinking my shoulder would get better, but it didn’t. I did exercises on my own. I even allowed my doctor to try a cortisone shot for the inflammation, which might have worked had it not gotten infected. As a result, my impinged shoulder shut down. The orthopedic doctor called it a frozen shoulder.
Yeah, I paid money to hear I’ve been given a cold shoulder. <sigh>
He told me I wouldn’t need surgery–good news! However, the only way to unfreeze a frozen shoulder is to force it out–think Frozen’s opening scene–and that about sums up what pain I’ve been experiencing for the past 6 weeks.
It’s ironic that something good for you can be so painful. It makes me wonder how this truth might apply to marriage.
I tend to avoid conflict in much the same way I avoid pain. I’m not a risk taker. I like things to go as planned. I don’t like interruptions. Chances are you’re a lot like me. It’s part of human nature to seek comfort.
This is why many couples become disillusioned when their marriage becomes difficult. They are tempted to think something is wrong, when actually it’s a sign that things are right–you’re getting to really know the person you married, and they’re not perfect! Neither are you (me) for that matter.
Pain is an indicator that tells us something is off and needs to be fixed. Imagine the danger if we didn’t have this built in warning system.
We know of a man who had neuropathy in his feet due to the effects of diabetes. One day he played a round of golf with his buddies. At the end of the day when he took his shoes off, he saw his foot was bleeding a lot! He discovered he had played the entire round of golf with a golf ball inside the toe of his shoe. He couldn’t feel it, so he didn’t know of the danger. He ended up having to have some toes amputated as a result.
Pain is God’s way of letting us know we need to act.
What pain are you currently experiencing in your relationship? Is it physical? Spiritual, Emotional? Intellectual? Whatever it is, don’t ignore it! Trust me, it won’t go away. It will most likely grow worse, and may even cause you to give your spouse a cold shoulder, which only masks the real problem making it more of a challenge to resolve.
The next question is where to you go for help? It’s not like you can make an appointment with an orthopedic doctor like I did to get their medical expertise. But there is help! There is a plethora of excellent books we can recommend for all areas of marriage to give you specific biblical counsel in the comfort of your own home. But sometimes the damage is too much for you to fix on your own. Most couples have been in the place if they’re honest. This is why being connected to a local church helps so much. There are pastors and lay leaders who devote their lives to helping marriages not just survive, but thrive. We recommend you get plugged in, not only for the good of your marriage, but for the good of your soul.
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
(Hebrews 10:24-25 ESV)