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The Heart of Problems and Conflict in Marriage

Pastor of Iglesia Conexiones, a baptist church in Jessup, MD. B.A. in Bible, B.S. English Ed., M.S. in Educational Leadership.

Adam and Eve

"Therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken." (Genesis 3:23, ESV)

"Therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken." (Genesis 3:23, ESV)

Science and The Bible

Psychology (a science) tells us there are several reasons why marriages experience problems and conflict:

  • Different personalities
  • Different communication skills
  • Lack of good role models
  • Trauma
  • Wrong values

There are also different strategies for resolving these issues, including counseling and therapy.

However, Christianity does not primarily consult with science, but with the truth God has revealed in the Bible. Despite the fact that the Bible was written by humans, Christianity believes every word in the Bible was breathed out by God. In other words, the Bible is God’s message to humanity, word for word.

"For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one tiny letter or one stroke of a letter will pass away from the law until all takes place." (Matthew 5:18, LEB)

"All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness." (2 Timothy 3:16, LEB)

Now then, from a biblical perspective, all conflicts and problems, including those problems and conflicts in marriage, are the result of sin.

"For you are still fleshly. For where there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and do you not live like unregenerate people?" (1 Corinthians 3:3, LEB)

Introduction to The Concept of Sin

Sin is actually a complex topic because there are different levels to it:

At a basic level, sin is whatever we do that God says we ought not to do, and whatever we do not do that God says we ought to do. (1 John 3:4)

"Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness." (1 John 3:4, LEB)

However, because what God says we ought to do and not do is based on God’s character, sin is also a contradiction of God’s character.

"Yahweh is righteous in all his ways,
and loyal in all his works." (Psalm 145:17, LEB)

Sin, then, is a violation of God's righteous law. This means that God has issued a law for humanity in conformity to his righteous character, that he expects humanity to obey his law, and that anyone who transgresses his law will bear the consequences.

The Consequences for Sin

God has decreed several consequences for sin:

  • The loss of blessings in this world (Genesis 3:17)
  • Pain, suffering, aging, diseases, and death (Genesis 3:19)
  • The condemnation to an eternity in a Lake of Fire, a place of torment and hopelessness (Revelation 20:15)

As you can see, the consequences for transgressing God's righteous law are severe. God takes his law seriously.

A Problem Far Worse Than You Think

Since God has decreed a law and several punishments for those who transgress his law, we (humanity) would like to refrain from sinning (from transgressing God's law) so we can avoid the consequences for sin.

However, the problem is much more complex than that:

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  1. We can't undo our sins. Once we sin, we are condemned (James 2:10).
  2. Our good works will not compensate for our sins (Romans 3:20). God is not going to weigh our bad works and our good works to see which ones weigh more.
  3. Like every other human who has ever walked on this Earth, not only have you sinned, but you can't stop sinning (Isaiah 64:6, Jeremiah 13:3).

Why We Can't Stop Sinning

Every human sins because humanity is a race of sinners. Consequently, we all have lost God’s blessings in this world, we all experience pain, suffering, aging, disease, and death; and, in what some would call “the afterlife,” all of us will be sentenced to an eternity in the Lake of Fire.

But what got us into this mess? Why are things so bad when God is supposed perfectly good? Why are all humans sinners?

To answer this question, the Bible tells us a simple story. It tells us that, when God created the first humans (Adam and Eve), he created them to be good. However, he gave them the freedom to choose whether they would believe God’s word and obey him, or whether they would disobey him. Unfortunately, they chose to disobey him.

Their disobedience not only brought about all the consequences of sin upon the two of them, but it also caused all humans to also disobey God and experience the consequences of sin.

“Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned—” (Romans 5:12, KJV)

So then, the problem is that sin is transmissible. Somehow, sin is contagious: the greatest pandemic the world has ever known. How is this possible?

Science offer us at least two ways to explain how this happens: trauma and epigenetics.

Trauma, Epigenetics, and Sin

Trauma and epigenetics provide two scientific explanations for why humans sin (there may be several other explanations, including spiritual explanations).

The different kinds of traumas that exist can produce a variety of sinful beliefs, feelings, and behaviors. Trauma, for example, can explain why victims of abuse can themselves become abusers. We see then, that according to trauma, sin is transmissible.

Negative experiences can also modify our genes, which modification in turn has a negative impact on how we and our descendants behave. While some of these behaviors may be good, others are sinful.

The point is that through trauma and epigenetic one person’s negative experiences and misbehavior can affect others and influence them to sin. Trauma and epigenetics (and, surely, many other factors) cause the spiritual hearts of humans to become filled with sin.

"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" (Jeremiah 17:9, KJV)

However, although there are scientific explanations for your moral and spiritual failures (sins), God's law does not excuse you.

“Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.” (Romans 3:19, KJV)

God's law says you are condemned (not excused) by your sins, and God's word indicates you cannot extricate yourself of sin because the problem is in your spiritual heart.

Our Sins and God's Sovereignty

The point is that Adam and Eve’s original disobedience had a powerful impact on themselves and their descendants. Adam and Eve were traumatized by their sin and the consequences of it, and they passed on that trauma to their descendants. Adam and Eve’s failure even caused their genes to change, and this set humanity on the path of sin.

Even if we decide that the biblical account concerning Adam and Eve is not literal, but symbolical (for, within Christianity, there are different views about this issue), what the Bible indicates is that, at some point in history (or prehistory), humanity rebelled against God and turned the rest of us into a race of sinners (Romans 1:18-24).

Since God is the Designer, Creator, and Sustainer of everything that exists, including the universe (or maybe multiverse), planet Earth, and all life on Earth, including humanity; and, since God is also the King and Judge of everything he has created, it is easy for us to resent him for designing us and creating us in such a way that, by the actions of our ancestors (and the rest of society), we would turn out to be sinners deserving pain, suffering, aging, illness, death, and eternity in a Lake of Fire.

However, the reason we resent him is because we have a misconception of God. We think of him as a sort of Merlin, a human with unlimited powers making wrong choices: but that is not the case, for although God is a sentient being, he is not a human (1 Samuel 15:29). In fact, he is even above all spirit beings (Hebrews 1:7). The alternative, then, is that God is also very much like a force and a principle.

It is easy for us to lose sight of this truth because we are very focused on God’s personal attributes since the Bible often presents him as a human (for example, Exodus 15:3 states God is a man of war). However, God’s presence and power are constant throughout all his creation, and this puts him beyond any kind of being we know (Psalm 139:7-12, Jeremiah 23:24, 1 Kings 8:27).

In a certain way, to resent God is as pointless as resenting gravity for us falling and hurting ourselves. Just as we need to mind the law of gravity (and all the laws of nature), we also need to mind the law of God, who designed and sustains nature. Therefore, the Bible reminds us that God is essential to us just as water is essential to our physical bodies (Jeremiah 2:13).

But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” (Romans 9:20, ESV)

There really is no point in resenting God for the way he made us: for we can neither change his mind, nor history, nor our own tendency to sin.

Salvation from a Dreadful Destiny and Sin

Many of the problems humanity is experiencing (crime, wars, depravity, hatred, etc.), including the problems you are experiencing in your marriage, are all the product of our sinful, deceitful, and wicked hearts.

Deep in your heart, your spouse is living in rebellion against God, for his heart has been corrupted by the sins and negative experiences of his ancestors and the rest of society. Moreover, while this is true of your spouse, this is also true of you (and of every human).

And God’s law dictates that, for your sins, you must experience pain, suffering, aging, illness, death, and eternity in the Lake of Fire. Every human must experience these for his own sins.

However, praises be to God because He is good, loving, merciful, and gracious. God isn’t only a judge passing sentence on all of us, he is also a Father who loves us deeply and wants to save us from our sins, the Lake of Fire, and all the evil in this world.

Therefore, approximately two-thousand years ago, He sent His Son (the Christ, Messiah, or Anointed One), Jesus of Nazareth to save us. Jesus, who came out of the essence of God, became a human, lived a sinless life, taught God’s will, performed miracles, died on a cross, was put away in a grave, came back to life, showed himself to his followers, and returned to heaven, where he sat on God’s throne to rule at God’s right hand.

Now, God offers forgiveness of all sins, entrance into heaven (His kingdom), and eternal life in fellowship with Him and Jesus, to everyone who (1) repents of living in disregard and disobedience to God, (2) trusts the biblical account of Jesus as true, and (3) accepts Jesus as his Savior, Lord, and King to follow him.

This, then, is how you can be saved from the Lake of Fire, how your life can be set on a path moving away from sin toward God, and how your marriage can be set on a path leading away from problems and conflict to fulfillment and victory.

Upcoming Articles on Marriage

But how will believing in Jesus Christ set your marriage on the right path, a path of fulfillment and victory? I will discuss this matter in my next article.

This article is the first of several articles I am writing on marriage to help people discover how faith in Jesus Christ can bring hope and healing to their marriages. To receive a notification of my future articles, visit my profile and follow me.

What will you do?

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Marcelo Carcach

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