Truth saves a struggling marriage.
Let me begin by giving you a brief background on my struggling marriage so that you get more from this post than just a story.
I married young at 19, not knowing nor expecting that for the next 7 years I would be faced with the most difficult trials of my life. For about close to seven and half years of our marriage, my husband battled a strong drug and alcohol addiction. Within those years I have failed more times than I can count; I’ve made bad choices and I had swayed from the way of the Lord many times. You see, I was hurt. I was clueless of what to do and how to handle it. These years were the hardest years of my life yet. And although his addiction did not fully destroy our marriage by the grace of God, it was very toxic and destructive.
Two truths that I learned along the way that I believe saved our struggling marriage:
My heart had to be made right with the Lord.
Fist of all, throughout all these years, the reason why I had it so tough is because my heart wasn’t right with the Lord. Yes, battling addiction is hard especially when it is from the man you love. But looking back I now see that if I had walked with the Lord, hand in hand, if I had known Him personally on an intimate level, I would have never had to walk this painful path alone. I wouldn’t have made the mistakes that led me to destruction of myself.
But, once I realized that my heart wasn’t right before the Lord, my struggling marriage didn’t improve over night. The Lord first showed me that I was religious instead of alive in my faith; I did not know Him. I knew of Him, I prayed to Him, I sang to Him as if though He lived in my heart. But there was no real, genuine relationship with Him.
When I made the decision to know Jesus and to make Him the Lord over my heart and life, when I surrendered my pain and suffering to Him, that is when things began to change. Yes, my husband did have to do his part and that’s a different story. But I most definitely had to do mine.
Was the way I was living honoring the Lord?
I began asking myself, is my attitude towards my husband and his addiction honoring the Lord? Is what I say to my husband pleasing the Lord? Am I walking with Him daily or just running to Him when I need His help? My whole heart had to change. It had to be honoring the Lord. The sinful things I did and said, I had to make a decision everyday to not do them because I was now a new person in Christ.
I made drastic decisions; left my bad influences behind, stopped going places I shouldn’t of. I even moved states. Turning my heart and face to the Lord was my first step.
It’s like Jesus was waiting for my heart before He could work with my husbands.
I know that God wanted my heart. He was waiting for it. And as soon as I surrendered it and began to honor Him, He began His work in my husband as well as fixing our struggling marriage. I couldn’t continue living like I did, expecting God to change my marriage.
I met with a friend once who knew my struggles and sins. She listened to me as I complained about my husbands addictions and said to me “Maybe the Lord is waiting for your heart?” I believe that the Lord spoke to me through her; He wanted me to start dealing with my heart and my addictions before He would start to work in my husbands’ heart. That was the day I knew I needed to come to know Christ personally. It was the day I began to address my sinful desires and coming to the Lord with them as He began to work in me, my husband and our struggling marriage.
The second, and most vital truth that helped restore our struggling marriage.
“God uses my marriage to conform me to be more like His Son Jesus”.
I once heard a pastor preach on God’s sovereignty; he said God uses even our marriages to conform us to the image of His son Jesus. Once again the Lord was telling me something. He knew exactly what type of man and what type of hardships I needed to overcome to be conformed to His image. Now you may say that it sounds like punishment?
On the contrary;
It is a blessing!! I am so grateful for every hardship I have ever gone through due to my husband’s addiction or our struggling marriage! Because that is what the Lord used to shape me, to cut me, to break me, to chisel at me, and to conform me to be more like Him. That is the situation the Lord chose to show me that I never knew Him personally, that I’ve only played religion this whole time! I consider that a huge blessing!
Some people go through their entire life thinking they know the Lord. Except they are actually lost. I consider myself lucky that the Lord chose to reveal to me that I did not know Him personally; that my heart was far away from Him. Through my husband’s addiction, the Lord was calling me to Himself.
How deceiving is our modern view on marriage.
Our foundation of marriage in today’s society is entirely faulty. We marry the person whom we think meets all of our conditions. We go into marriage with great expectations and that is where we fail. When those conditions are not met, we have conflict. Because we try to conform each other into our own image instead of Christ’s, we fail miserably. And to top it all off, we don’t love each other unconditionally like Jesus loves us.
God is sovereign even over your marriage.
You see, your marriage can only be as good as you understand the attributes of God and what He has done for you. If you understand that He is sovereign over everything in your life and He uses everything to conform you to be like Him, then only a marriage can become something beautiful. Mine certainly did. We became a team instead of fighting against each other.
When you understand that God knew exactly who you needed to make you more like Him, you begin to see your spouse’s faults and failure as your opportunity to show him/her grace, mercy and unconditional love. You see conflict in your struggling marriage as an opportunity to be like Jesus. In conflict you begin to see areas where you are failing and you strive to correct them, all the while knowing that it is the Lord working in your heart.
Now, what will you have a picture perfect marriage or a struggling one?
Do you strive to have a picture perfect marriage or would you rather have one that gives you many opportunities to be changed into whom your Father meant for you to be? After all, how would you learn to love unconditionally if your spouse was perfect? How would you see your own heart if it wasn’t through failing at being a perfect wife or husband?
Are you complaining in conflict or praising Jesus for yet another opportunity to be like Him?
Know these truths today;
If today you have a struggling marriage, go to the Lord and make sure your heart is right before Him. If you don’t know the Lord personally, that is what you need to fix first. And if you think you just might have married the wrong person, know this; The Lord is sovereign over everything in your life, even marriage. He knew who you needed and what hardships you must overcome. Because His main concern for your life is to conform you to be like Him. Don’t think something went horribly wrong when you face hardships. He is in control; there’s a reason and a purpose. And that purpose is always to conform you.