She sat in the field watching the sun set. Heart aching, arms empty, mouth dry from antidepressants, she wondered when/if things would get better. What if they didn’t? She felt alone.
Maybe you could relate to Lonely Wife last week. Maybe you want to quit your marriage. Maybe your heart has been aching for affection, companionship, and acknowledgement of what you do for the family. Maybe you’ve tried a few things for a few months, and you’re still not seeing any reason to keep trying.
Maybe you’ve bought the lie that marriage is a desolate place for women, that the intimacy and connection you seek for your family is something of Disney movies and fairy tales.
Or maybe you have seen info about Shaunti Feldhahn’s new book and have hope once again.
Regardless, marriage is the training ground for becoming Christ-like. It’s not the only one, mind you, God will grow you in whatever context you choose.
One of the reasons God has specifics about behavior for marriage is that He knew we’d be drawn to it. He wired us to want connection, to want romance, to seek fulfillment in relationship.
The trouble comes when we lose our identity in the reactions of other people toward us – when we stop finding who we are in Him, and instead define ourselves by people’s responses to us.
And He knew we would struggle, but like motherhood, few things mature us like marriage – it’s an awesome place to learn. Knowing we would struggle He gave us specific reasons not to quit.
1. God hates divorce. Malachi 2:16 “For I hate divorce!” says the LORD, the God of Israel. “To divorce your wife is to overwhelm her with cruelty,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. “So guard your heart; do not be unfaithful to your wife.”
2. Marriage takes perseverance, and perseverance grows mature faith. James 1:4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
3. You have made a vow before God. Ecclesiastes 5:4 When you make a promise to God, don’t delay in following through, for God takes no pleasure in fools. Keep all the promises you make to him.
4. If you divorce and marry again, your sin will still be an issue, so it is best to stay in the marriage you are in. Numbers 32:23 But if you fail to keep your word, then you will have sinned against the LORD, and you may be sure that your sin will find you out.
5. God’s plan for you will take longer. Okay, so not one stand alone scripture here, but my overall take away based on the experience of the Israelites, Moses, and several other Old Testament individuals.
2nd and 3rd marriages also fail at even higher rates than 1st marriages – because everywhere you go, there you are.
Think about it, if you had a habit of being messy, and sold your house because you were tired of living in a messy house and wanted a new one that was clean, the odds are good that you would mess up the new house, too.
In other words, running away from the opportunities for growth that God gives us (AKA problems) doesn’t really change anything long term. In the short, all looks awesome – but in the long, we often eventually find ourselves back where we started.
And the Bible tells wives to respect their husbands in Ephesians 5:33. Dare 21 specifically speaks to this, hard as it may be sometimes. But God knows how to reach a man – and often, it is through the language of respect.
If you have been divorced, know I don’t judge you, and neither should anyone else. But also understand that if you claim to follow Christ, God wants to grow you in the NOW you are in – so seek Him and do what He asks of you.
And be aware that the thing God may be asking you to do may be to confront your husband’s sin against you – which can be even harder than persevering, sometimes. Know too, that this post is not specifically dealing with long-term sin against you – check out these for more on that:
Most of us are also painfully aware of how sinful WE are, too, so keep that in mind as you journey, regardless of what you are dealing with. And if it is abuse, know we recommend that you GET OUT. Get Safe. Now. You are responsible for your kids’ safety – and failure to confront abuse is condoning it. This is also sin, as it is not love.
Know also that the research says that those who stay in difficult marriages are happy they stayed 5 years later.
So choose to do something better with God’s help in your marriage. Stick it out.
Figure it out – and in doing so, you’ll have mature faith and some life lessons worth teaching your kids and those you mentor. You’ll have a story worth sharing.
We spend this whole life learning to love others well – that’s most easily accomplished by spending time with God daily FIRST, then going about our day, living life through the lens of the Holy Spirit. We SEE differently.
How about you? Where are you in this journey? Are you sticking it out, figuring it out, or contemplating getting out? Would love to hear from you today.
Love to you,
You might check out these posts on the topic:
101 Ways to Love Your Wife (for men)