Mr X and I are facilitating an “Art of Marriage” seminar at our church in a couple of weeks. (If you have opportunity to attend one, or the Weekend to Remember, do it!) A young couple told me today how much they needed to come, and the man got emotional; it seemed like he wanted to say more, but just ended up saying, “… we need this.” I tried to give him encouragement by saying EVERY marriage can be better than it is! And marriage is such hard work. Everything in our society fights against us, and it’s so counterintuitive… Put someone else’s needs ahead of my own? Give, when I feel like taking? Submit my will to his? Lay down my life for her? Dearies, the sooner we acknowledge that we are selfish, depraved sinners in need of a Savior, the better. And if you think you aren’t, read Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things; who can understand it? It’s too sick to be cured.” and reconsider. To be selfless goes against every fiber of our human flesh, yet it is what God requires of us, in relationship with Him as well as in our marriage relationship. The good news is that He equips us to do that with the help of the Holy Spirit and Scripture.
Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible. Matthew 19:26
Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Philippians 2:3
Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Ephesians 4:2
And of course, the “Love Chapter” of 1 Corinthians 13 which begins “Love is patient and kind…”
I had this revelation a while back and it made me feel better; maybe it will you too: When there are SO MANY verses telling you how to act, it must mean that it’s not easy to act that way. Notice there aren’t countless instructions telling us how to be mean and selfish! That just comes naturally. We have to CHOOSE to act in a godly way, but the rewards are great when we do.
But what about those marriages that have been hurt beyond the natural selfishness and carelessness that happens in all marriages? Ones where the love has grown cold? Where too many unkind words have been spoken? Where pornography or other adulteries have held a spouse captive? Where the marriage is dead?
Our God is in the resurrection business.
[God] will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; [He] will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations. Isaiah 61:4
Even if you think it’s been too long; it’s too far gone, He can renew marriages that have been devastated for generations.
I have seen what they do, but I will heal them anyway! I will lead them. I will comfort those who mourn… Isaiah 57:18.
You are not a surprise to God. Your sin is nothing new to Him. If we weren’t sinners, why would Jesus have had to die?
Instead of shame and dishonor, you will enjoy a double share of honor. You will possess a double portion of prosperity in your land, and everlasting joy will be yours. Isaiah 61:7
God doesn’t give us the bad that we deserve– that’s mercy. And then He gives us the good that we don’t deserve! That’s grace. Remember He’s the God of hope! (Romans 13:13)
There are lots of free online resources for hurting marriages. The Christian Marriage Bloggers Association, which I am proud to be a member of, is a great place to start. If you need prayer, there are lots of prayer warriors that read Auntie Em. If you need more practical advice, comment and I will keep it private if you want.
I mean it when I say– Auntie Em is here to help.