A room full of people. 40 adults, husbands, wives, fiancés, divorcees, from not yet married to 43+ years of marriage all coming together to seek God’s way for us, for our marriages. Just the thought of this gives me anxiety! But it is our class each week for the next 11 weeks or so. God is at work among us, yet I don’t know where to step. This is walking by faith not by sight.
Some members are bravely stepping out in faith, sharing their experiences, mostly their struggles. Some have asked for prayer. Some have confessed their transgressions. Marriage is difficult. People are selfish. Family of origin patterns come into conflict with each new union. Expectations are difficult to identify, express, and manage. Disappointments seem to flow freely and wage war against what God has joined together.
My husband and I are further down the road. By the grace of God, we have endured those early years and muddled through them with a lot of frustration and forgiveness. Yet there were more hurdles to come on our path. Hurdles that most don’t have to navigate. Hurdles that we unintentionally created because we were not righteous before God.
There was no Christian training for marriage. No Christian training for parenting. No training for being a godly wife and mother. You just find yourself wearing those hats and pleading with God to help you cope. I had no Christian mentor to guide me or hold me accountable for my thinking or my actions. I did the best I could with what I had, and it wasn’t enough.
God’s ideal for marriage is so appealing, two become one. His standards are set very high, wives submit and respect, husbands love her like Jesus loves the church. She is his helpmate. He is her protector and provider. They are on the same team. Bringing glory to God as they walk through their lives, raising godly children and showing the world what true love really is.
And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God. (Philippians 1:9-11 ESV)
This 20 year old, new Christian had no idea how to be what God intended for me to be. After the first few years of marriage, my worldly, Cinderella glasses were crushed and broken on the floor of what was supposed to be.
So I have a few words of experiential wisdom and advice. Be God’s kind of person first. Love God. Know God. Follow God and all His ways. (This means knowing God’s word) Know who you are in Jesus Christ. Love yourself enough to sacrifice yourself for another. Be wise in your choice of a life partner. Be certain of their deep faith in God and their commitment to follow Jesus. Pray continually for God’s guidance. Be humble. Forgive as God has forgiven you. Speak the truth with love. Find a godly mentor. Then you will be able to weather any storm that life brings upon you. Not that it will be easy, but with God, all things are possible. He will bless your efforts to be obedient to His calling.
I love my husband. Our marriage is precious to me. I’ve fought hard for it. Living with my sweet boy has grown me up and drawn me closer to God, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. We are still a work in progress, broken and healing with God in our midst. So I sit quietly in our class, listening to others, letting God do His great work among us and in me. I still have much to learn and He has much to prune away from me. The potter is not yet done.
Lord Jesus, keep making me like You. Amen.
God is good all the time, and all the time God is good.
Follow Jesus. Be honest with yourself and humble before God. Invite Him into your marriage if He isn’t already there. God can fix anything and He will make beauty from your ashes. Rest in Him. He is trustworthy.
Be encouraged. Press on.