Marriage Matters

marriage mattersAre you on the brink of divorce?

Miserable in my marriage I questioned, why did I marry this man? Resentment gripped me as I began to evaluate the fourteen year foundation of our relationship.

We had met in college. Mark was my teacher and I was his student, which set up the unequal dynamics of our relationship. Then I became pregnant, but aborted the baby, unsure that our relationship would continue and afraid my future career goals would be ruined.

A year later, Mark popped the most important question of my life as we were driving in the car. He wanted to elope in two weeks for tax reasons. His romantic reasoning was that we could use the money, while he supported me through school.

Feeling obligated, dependent, and amiable, I married him. I rationalized that since we would keep the marriage a secret, I could divorce him later and no one would know. My unhealthy behavior, insecurity, dishonesty, and need to prove myself sexually laid the wrong foundation for our marriage. Building on a shaking foundation would result in a catastrophic collision 14 years later.

In most couples, opposites attract. Mark and I were no exception.  But I had learned at an early age to bury my feelings and avoid confrontation. As a result, my poor husband who had bragged about his perfect wife who let everything fall off her shoulders had no idea how troubled I was by our differences. I festered over the difference in the way we were raising our children. I festered over the way he restricted my spending. I festered over how he was more sexual than me. But I never told him.

As a new Christian, I no longer wanted to live the lie of saying one thing but meaning and feeling another.  I started voicing my opinion and for the first time in our marriage, it was different from my husband’s.  My new-found boldness did not go over well with Mark. I was changing and with change came struggles.

I contemplated separation but I never wanted to be outside God’s will for my life or for our children. I had suffered the consequence of my parent’s divorce, so I never took dismantling my family lightly. I lived one day at a time, sometimes moment by moment, feeling desperate for love, needing affirmation, and longing for adoration.

I cried out to God and searched the Bible expecting to hear from Him. And when I did, He spoke to me. He guided my path, He showed me my sin and unhealthy behavior, He comforted me, and gave me promises to cling to. God began to change me as I obeyed his Word, surrendered my life, and trusted in the power of Jesus to resurrect my marriage. As I became healthy I discovered Jesus as my husband, my comforter, my provider, my strength, my healer, and the love of my life. I lowered my expectations of what my husband should be, ultimately releasing him of my underlying condemnation.

Slowly, God did a miracle in our hearts. First, God healed me and my husband individually. Then as we became healthier individuals, God was able to heal our marriage. The Bible promises that perseverance leads to character and character leads to hope. We all are a work in progress. With prayer and daily surrender we will eventually change. As we do, God will work on our spouse and they will also change. Then together we can establish a new healthy foundation for our marriage…God.

I believe marriage was never designed to make us happy, but to make us holy. I faced my difficult circumstances in preparation for eternity, to have compassion on others, to draw me close to Jesus, and to give others hope. This life is not about me. It is about sacrificing my own selfish agenda to serve others and glorify Him. Praise God that this December, I will celebrate 25 years of marriage to my new best friend! What a blessing our marriage has become.

God’s Word To Live By:

Psalm 139:23-24
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Malachi 2:15-17
“I hate divorce,” says the LORD God of Israel,

Ephesians 5:15-20,
Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 5:21-24
Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

Ephesians 5:25-33
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body.

Philippians 1:6
being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

2 Corinthians 1:3-5
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.

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