I know what it’s like to be in a difficult season of marriage. My husband and I hit our 13 year anniversary last year and truly, it amazes me.
I realize this is almost nothing in comparison to the 25-year anniversary, or even the 50 year anniversary, but I am sad to observe that our marriage has and will outlast a significant number of our peers even at this point
Christians and non-Christians alike are experiencing divorce within the first few years of marriage at rates that are just disheartening. Today’s culture preaches an attitude that resonates well with gratification of self.
“If your marriage isn’t what you want, a quick divorce will make everything better and than you can just start again.”
But, I am here to tell you, from personal experience, that the rewards of sticking it out, of really digging in and trusting the Lord with healing a struggling marriage, of persevering in doing your part to make the marriage stronger and better, will far outweigh the relief of giving up on marriage before it has even had time to mature.
To Wives in a Difficult Season of Marriage…
My husband and I got married when we were 20 years old. We have grown into adults together, and because of this, I have experienced the growing pains that go along with that kind of experience.
I will not speak for him, though I am sure he has had to endure plenty of pains while I learned what it meant to be a Godly wife.
As his wife, I have walked with him through some of his most treacherous and difficult seasons of growth, which have ranged from the simple to the severe and painful.
I am here to encourage you, wife, no matter what troubles your marriage is experiencing, no matter how grave the sin that has infiltrated your marital union, the Lord CAN and WILL see you through, if you determine once and for all to walk with Him through it.
You have to decide on your end that divorce is not what you want. Once divorce is taken off of YOUR table, then the work inside of yourself can really begin.
I cannot promise what the Lord will permit in the heart of your husband. I cannot promise he will not leave on his own accord, or that facing your marital issues will result in a reconciled marriage (it doesn’t always), but we are talking about you and your walk with the Lord…nothing else.
You are not accountable for your husband’s actions, but you are accountable for your own.
I Know All Too Well the Difficult Seasons of Marriage
We have walked our own treacherous path. We have been on the brink of divorce because of the magnitude of our issues.
But the Lord has amazed me with the changes that He has brought about in both of us.
I recall years ago (about year 3) when we were in the pits of our marriage, when my heart had not yet turned to my husband and determined once and for all that I was in this marriage to succeed. I, for the first time in my marriage, engaged in a “husband-bashing” discussion with a friend of mine.
I complained to her openly about stupid, insignificant things that my husband “did wrong,” like not putting the dishes in the sink, or not helping out more with diapers, etc.
We ended up having to end the conversation early because of our family responsibilities, but determined that we would “finish” later, and even set a time to call back and everything (I still shake my head in disappointment at this memory).
But, the Lord had greater plans.
That night we phoned at our appointed time and I was 100% ready to continue where we left off, but my friend (also a Christian, who was in a very difficult time in her marriage) stopped me. She said, “After we got off the phone earlier, I sat there fuming at our husbands and their lack of consideration. I was just so angry. And then, the Lord spoke to my heart, ‘Daughter, if you want Me to work on your husbands, you need to get out of My way.”
STAB TO THE HEART.
I was immediately convicted. Here I was trying to “fix” my husband to make him what I thought he ought to be, and the Lord’s Words pierced me to the core.
I cried to Him in my heart, “Lord, I don’t know how to get out of Your way…”
The very next day I attended my first ever class at a local PWOC (Protestant Women of the Chapel) and the first day of a marriage class was beginning. For the next two years the Lord taught me what it meant to get out, and stay out, of His way. Those two years prepared me for His work on my husband, and had I not been so deeply ingrained in my relationship with Him, I do not think our marriage would have made it.
The healing of our marriage began with my heart first being changed.
Now, I’m still not the perfect wife. I have my moments of disrespectful attitude. But, overall, my heart is set in support of my husband.
For years I have worked to study and learn how to best do MY part in this marriage and pray for my husband’s own growth and relationship with the Lord. For several years, it felt like I was the only one really involved in this marriage, but the Lord’s promise holds true.
I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has stolen… ~Joel 2:25
He has been faithful to bring our marriage to such an amazing place and we would not have gotten here had I given up in the times when things were tough. Had I walked out because he was being “too difficult”, or just decided that the Lord could not fix our problems, I would not had the opportunity to experience the fruits of this season right now.
Perseverance in a Difficult Season of Marriage Reaps Amazing Fruit
A phrase often said around our house is, “I can’t is just an excuse to stop trying.”
Here’s my encouragement to you: Don’t give up!
Don’t be the one who tosses in the towel and calls it quits. Don’t accept defeat.
Have faith in the Lord’s ability to heal your marriage, no matter what its condition.
Are boundaries necessary? Yes, of course.
This is not a call to stay in a situation where it is a matter of physical or extreme emotional abuse. Seek safety, then seek resolution, and leave the rest to the Lord.
Divorce has its proper place, but only when brought into clear focus through the lens of our Abba’s Love and Way.
I have seen marriages healed after multiple affairs. I have seen marriages healed from pornography addictions. I have seen marriages healed after working through “irreconcilable differences.” In all of these cases, the hearts of the adulterer and estranged spouse turned back towards their spouse.
Does this always happen? No, but it must always be our hope.
The Lord can do amazing things, but we must be willing to trust Him and follow His guidance to see them come to pass. Sometimes the answer is no, but how will you know unless you try?
What About You?
Have you ever endured a difficult season in your marriage, but came through its fires stronger in the Lord? What lessons did this time teach you? Share below.