Studies say that half of Christian marriages will end in divorce. Half.
After being married for 22 years, I wish I could tell my own daughters and young Christian women that marriage is a piece of cake, that you figure it out as time goes on, that it gets easier, and if you just do X,Y and Z, you can avoid the pitfalls that other people fall into.
I wish I could say that but it’s not true. Even in the best of marriages people struggle, sin being what it is.
We are sinful women married to sinful men. Our flesh wants its own way. We all want our own way, and we’ll fight to get it on the worst of days. That’s the landscape of every Christian marriage.
Marriage isn’t necessarily about making me happy. God did not put me into marriage with Peter to make me happy. Marriage is designed to make me holy. Like Christ my Savior. Yes, think sanctification. And sanctification does not happen in a vacuum. For me, the sanctification process starts when trouble comes and I make a choice: do right, or please myself. Demand my way or do life God’s way.
About 7 years into marriage you figure out that love is not like that glossy covered Amish book you read when you were a kid. The bonnet ripper. No, it’s really not.
Sometimes people are not heroic, and love does not swell up like an emotional tidal wave ready to carry you to the ends of the earth. And doubt sets in and we begin to entertain the thoughts:
- Did I marry the wrong person?
- Would I have been happier with so and so?
- Are we not compatible? Why aren’t we on the same page?
- He’ll never understand me.
And those thoughts are tucked quietly into the corner of our hearts, taking root, strengthening without our even realizing.
Divorce doesn’t just happen one fine day. It starts in the seat of our inner man, our mind. We believe the lie that we’d be happier somewhere else with someone else. We begin detaching emotionally, creating walls, barriers, and hardness of heart. An emotional divorce.
Actions are always preceded by thought. What you dwell on is who you become.
A good marriage is tough, because loving someone more than you love yourself is tough. It’s even tougher when our view of love is skewed or hollywood-esque.
Christian women need to realize that
Sometimes love looks like working 15 hours a day just to pay the bills, coming home exhausted with nothing left to give. Guys show love by doing their duty to provide for their families.
So, before you judge him too harshly and complain that he doesn’t take you out to eat or bring you home roses, or that your love life doesn’t seem connected or emotional right now,
before you put mental energy into a thought pattern that will lead you somewhere…
think about all that he does do and love him for it. Find the one thing he does really well and dwell on that.
Your man was never meant to meet all your emotional needs. Only God can fill that void for us. He was never meant to be your savior.
Love him first. Do good to him first. And keep doing it, even if he has nothing left to give you right now. And don’t compare your love life to the cover of a harlequin romance novel, or even to the more wholesome dreamy Amish love novels. Comparison, in any area of life, breeds discontentment.
Discontentment is such an ugly sin. It’s the opposite of thankfulness. An ungrateful heart believes they deserve more than what they have. Always something more. It’s like a poison, ruining current happiness. It can never see the good right in front of them.
A grateful person is a loving person who seeks to gratify and bless others, while an ungrateful person is bent on gratifying himself.
One of the most common end results of ingratitude is the sin of moral impurity. The man or woman who is not thankful for the way God has met his or her needs easily begins to falsely accuse and find fault with our good God. In rejecting the provision God has already made, the ungrateful person is only one small step away from seeking to get his needs met in illegitimate ways.
Nancy Leigh DeMoss
The bottom line is that we choose to be content in marriage. We choose joy where we are. Love is a choice. It is. I know the world says it’s a feeling and that if you don’t feel that way with one person you should move on until you are happy. But that’s not what Biblical marriage looks like.
Marriage is a picture of Christ and the church–>Christ giving sacrificially even when the “bride”/church is undeserving and bride responds in loving allegiance and respect.
It’s a choice.
So, today, choose
- To love first, most and longest.
- To build up your house and not tear it down.
- To use your words with wisdom. Proverbs says that a wise woman’s words are like a fountain of water in a dry desert. Refreshing!
- Choose a soft answer. Remember, Lady Folly is LOUD(!!) and in your face.
- To guard your heart with all diligence! You you aren’t immune because you claim a certain Christian creed.*
- To do good, especially to your husband.
- Choose thankfulness. Don’t compare.
- Saturate yourself in God’s word. Only He can fill the void in your heart.
- Don’t allow yourself to envision life “divorced.” Don’t go there.
And remember that our thoughts always have consequences. They’ll take you on a ride. But you can choose which ride to get on and which ride to get off.
*I realize that marriage is a two way street and that you are not responsible for the sins of others. This article is written so that Christian women can evaluate their own lives. We can only worry about doing right ourselves. I realize that this does not guarantee that your husband won’t sin and hurt you.