Marriage is hard work! As a newlywed 17+ years ago, this news was such a shock to me. I thought marriage was going to be all rainbows and roses like they portrayed in fairy tales and movies growing up. Once I realized a healthy marriage is often filled with just as many low points as there are highs it became easier to navigate all the character flaws, differences of opinion, and sin that two people have to work through to love each other well.Marriage is hard work, so work hard for your marriage! Click To Tweet
Real marriage is messy.
Why do we idealize marriage so much and think once we say “I do,” it will be all rainbows and roses? Marriage exists between two sinners who must learn to put their selfish desires aside and focus a little more on the other person in the picture. It’s not easy, and the people involved are definitely not perfect. The process takes decades to get a handle on, and even then you never fully have it all figured out. But you learn as the years go on that you can get through the bumpy parts a lot easier when you choose to lean on Jesus.The Bible is our blueprint for living out a Godly marriage. Click To Tweet
I grew up in a broken home. The hubs did too. Starting our life together, I guess you could say we were “in the hole” as far as role models went. If someone had given me a heads up, it would have been easier to deal with a lot of difficulties and obstacles we faced. We definitely have had more issues than the average couple. Maybe you have too! And that’s ok.
Marriage is not a contest.
Though sometimes we make it out to be that way, don’t we? We try to outdo our friends or siblings’ marriages. We often put on a smiley face when people ask us how married life is, even when we are hurting inside.
It’s unhealthy and soul-crushing to pretend life is ok when you are in need of help.
God puts people in our lives who can pray over us, or offer us wisdom. Yet we often keep them at arm’s length because we don’t want anyone to know about the hard things happening behind closed doors.
The contest often extends to our spouses too. Sometimes we try to outdo them in the kindness department, or keep score of their wrongs and make sure to let them know that they aren’t living up to our expectations. But when we start keeping score of the good and bad, no one wins.When we make marriage a contest, no one wins! Click To Tweet
The reality is that we are all broken and in need of a Savior. It takes two people leaning on Jesus to make a marriage thrive. I’m thankful to say we got through our hardships with hard work, some serious therapy, and our commitment to stick it out in the bad. We are stronger and more rooted in our identities in Jesus as a result of all the hard stuff.
God often uses our worst messes for His glory.
It took a lot of therapy hours to learn to communicate in a healthy, assertive, respectful way with one another. We also have safe, loving boundaries around our own needs. It seems like over time, the healthier our personal boundaries have become, the more these boundaries have allowed our marriage to root itself in healthy communication, respect, and value for one another.
We are still a work in progress of course. I don’t think we’ll have it all figured out until we reach Heaven. But I’ve learned a couple of important things over the years.
The more we both grow closer to Jesus, the closer we grow to our spouse as a healthy by-product.
Praise the Lord for His abundant mercy and grace.
We have made a lot of mistakes in our marriage over the years. There have been many times where we both felt like throwing in the towel. But we didn’t. We stuck through it, even in the really hard parts. He used our hard stuff to draw us closer to Him. And He can do it for you too!
I think God gives us all so many wonderful opportunities throughout life to learn from our mistakes. Yet there are still so many people caught in a cycle of choosing to make the same hurtful mistakes over and over again in their marriage. Some of those mistakes slowly destroy their relationships day in and day out. Sometimes, even willingly we make those mistakes over and over again when we know they hurt those around us.
This world is filled with broken marriages. There are so many Christians in various roles of leadership in their church or community who are fighting for their marriages right now. So many are couples who put on smiley faces on Sunday and then the rest of the week, their life is anything but smiley. I know because I’ve been there. The last thing we need when life is hard is to pretend that everything is perfect. Talk about adding pressure to an already tense situation!
There is healing and hope in Jesus.
Today my heart is so very heavy for people whose marriages are stuck in a cycle of pain.
My heart cries out for friends, acquaintances, and others I know who are in such a dark place in their relationships right now. Maybe your marriage is hurting right now too. Maybe you are separated, maybe you are dealing with an abusive spouse, maybe you are in the midst of a divorce. Or maybe things aren’t quite in that place, but you know your marriage is not all that God intended it to be.
If you are in need of healing in your marriage, please reach out and ask a trusted friend for prayer.
Don’t give up hope. Keep praying. Keep asking God to move mountains in your marriage. Get professional counseling if needed. Establish healthy boundaries. Do a heart check. Take a look at your own sins and failures (we all have them) and ask God to reveal to you what needs to be worked on in your own life.
Ask God to move mountains in your spouse. Ask Him to move mountains in your heart too.
Will you join me in prayer today?
Heavenly Father, we pray that hurting marriages everywhere can be healed today. Lord, we ask you to reveal to us the areas in our own hearts that need fixing. We ask you to root out any bitterness and resentment that we may be harboring toward our spouse. Lord, we pray that those who are apathetic become overwhelmed with a fierce desire to fix what is broken in their marriage and not give up.
Father, we pray that You help those who are weary cling to Your Word and seek wise counsel and Godly friendships to lift them up. We pray that You can help each of us establish healthy boundaries in our marriages. We pray for hardened hearts to be softened and for those who have checked out of their marriage to check themselves back in and renew their covenant with You Lord.
Father God, give those who have been abused the voice to speak up and find safety and seek professional help. Give spouses in need of counseling the strength to find Godly counsel and make it through the hard journey ahead. Lord, we pray for those facing divorce to feel your great love for them, Father, in the middle of their heartache and pain. Lord, we pray for restoration and healing in marriages, whenever possible, in your perfect timing. In Jesus’ name. Amen.