Fight For Your Marriage
Spending the rest of my life in this marriage feels like a death sentence. I want a divorce. As I drove to work one morning a few years ago those thoughts tormented me. My outlook felt as dark as the thick layer of clouds settling in to produce yet another of the gray days that typify winter in the Midwest. My emotions cried out for freedom from the pain and hopelessness I felt after twenty years of marriage.
The content of my daily devotion that morning compounded my agony. The scripture reading about marriage placed a finger on an open wound, “‘Guard yourself in your spirit and do not break faith with the wife of your youth. I hate divorce’, says the Lord God of Israel.” (Malachi 2:15-16) Easy for you to say, God; you are not married to my wife.
Emotions told me to run for the exits and avoid future pain. Feelings reminded me of all of things I deserved but had been denied. I knew the responsibility for my marital problems, as with most marriages, rested “on the 50 year line”, meaning both spouses share the blame. Still, I pondered the numerous ways my wife had hurt me and my utter hopelessness that she would ever change. Perhaps we did not hear properly from God when we made our commitment. Maybe God made a mistake.
Overruling my emotions, I decided to follow God regardless of how
painful the path. I made several important decisions:
Since then, God has nurtured our marriage. He is bringing about changes in both my wife and me that did not seem possible. I remain faithfully committed to the bride of my youth. Better yet, I find myself falling in love with her again. I now see that our love existed all along, but the accumulated pains of life had buried it deeply. Emotions, like shifting sands, prove a poor foundation for decision making.
Now, I celebrate the freedom that results from obedience to God’s word. I observe true joy taking root in our home. Laughter and peace are commonplace. I see confidence and a growing God dependence in my three sons. I wonder how different their lives would have been if I had chosen the path that my father took when he abandoned his family.
Brothers in Christ, the greatest freedom we will ever experience is found in our willingness to be obedient to our God. The words of the psalmist say it best: “My only hope is in your laws. I will keep on obeying your law forever and forever. I will walk in freedom, for I have devoted myself to your commandments” (Psalm 119:43-45 (New Living Translation).
Unfortunately, the hurt from broken relationships strikes us all. If you suffer from the pain of divorce, know that God loves you. If you’re facing marital struggles, know that God actively seeks to change hearts and restore relationships.
Satan seeks to tempt, confuse and discourage us. He wants to destroy our marriages. The deceiver whispers that we will feel better and find liberty if we follow him. But only compliance to God’s commands brings true freedom. We will never go wrong by placing our complete trust in God. He alone satisfies the deepest needs in our souls. He is the Lord who restores.