Do you and your husband have a fun yearly tradition? One of our favorites is watching our wedding video together each year near our anniversary. We like to reminisce and wax nostalgic about our newlywed days. This year was no different. We laughed, made jokes about how we’ve aged, and felt a little sad surveying us appearing so untainted from life, naïve and carefree.
It’s easy to think that our own marriage is somehow immune to heartache. Especially in the early years. As Christians, it’s important that we understand unforeseen pressures hit every marriage at unexpected times, creating unwelcome interruptions: A child is born with a disability. An accident occurs or illness that permanently impairs the health of your spouse. Your teenager becomes addicted to drugs. Infidelity rocks your trust. A job loss breaks your financial foundation. An aging parent may move into your home. You long for a child, but experience yet another miscarriage. The list in unending. Tough times trigger unanticipated emotions in our marriages–tempers flare, anxiety is heightened, and our faith can be shaken.
Marriage is not ultimately for us, but for the Lord. And anyone who’s ever walked with Jesus knows just how much of a target you become when your lives are rooted in faith. If Satan wants to break you, he’ll first start by attacking your marriage. Divorce isn’t the only form of separation in this world. In fact, even the smallest cracks in your marriage can pave the way for a gaping hole, which might as well have a welcome mat waiting for the enemy to sneak in. Don’t allow the world and Satan’s schemes to overcome the sanctification of marriage.
I believe that for many of us, our marriage is a blind spot.
Our spouse is who we spend most of our time with, and the one we value most. Yet, to our shame, we spend more energy and effort working on the other relationships in our lives while taking our spouse for granted (unintentionally of course); we put efforts into creating personal relationships with our co-workers, plan nights out with friends, take our children special places, and look after our parents when they need help. This is not to say that those things are wrong, but rather to point out that our spouses are left with the crumbs. Crumbs of our time, energy, affection, and conversation.
We think we can “get away with it” because they love us. But friends, it shouldn’t be this way.
How often can we truly say we fan the flames of our marriage? I’m not preaching to you from high ground. I’ve got a LOOOOOOONG way to go when it comes to being a good wife. The good news? If we faithfully follow God’s word, we will see that a godly wife enables her husband to be better than he was before he was with you. A wife of noble character is the mirror that gently reflects and encourages, a sounding board echoing God’s word, a sharpening stone, a shoulder to cry on, and sometimes a sharp kick in the booty.
Perhaps your heart is being polluted with bitterness or even hardening against your husband. You’re probably thinking to yourself, “what does she know?” And you’re right. I’m not a marriage expert.
What I do know for certain, is that God can fix the unfixable.
I have felt God whispering in my ear for a while now to give more of myself into my marriage. And I feel a deep conviction rooted in experience to share my thoughts in this space as encouragement, though it’s sometimes uncomfortable for me to put myself out there. So please forgive me if the thoughts God repetitively places on my heart on fighting for strong marriages sounds a little bit like a broken record.
A blind beggar once asked Jesus for healing (John 9: 1-7). But he wasn’t just instantly healed. Jesus put mud in his eyes and told him to walk a good ways to wash it off. Are you willing to by faith trust and go a little way…where the healing can be found?
If you’ve been hurt, won’t you let it go? Forgive. Be willing to lose an argument. Apologize first. Give so much grace. In Christ, you’ve been forgiven a HUGE debt. So let things go. Absolutely NOTHING else compares to that.
“Let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.”
–1 John 3:18
If you didn’t begin this way, it’s never too late to build your house with God as the foundation. As the central beam that bears the load of the whole house. The space that every other room joins. Honoring God and putting Him first in every aspect of our marriage, THAT’S what leads to maximum life. Contented, peaceful, and rich life. Don’t we ALL want to model that in our homes and for our children? For God’s honor and glory.