In this multi-part series, I’d like to share a little bit about adversity in marriage. Anyone who’s been married more than a week knows that trials come, disagreements happen, and sometimes it even seems as though every little thing we do has the potential to annoy or upset our spouse. As a marriage veteran of nearly 26 years, (and a Christian for just short of 24 years) I’m here to tell you right now that Satan is out to destroy marriages like never before. I believe with all my heart that he knows very well that his time of reigning over this earth is growing very short – and he’s trying to take out as many believers as he can – in whatever ways he can. We are seeing Christian marriages attacked at all levels, and from every angle you can imagine. This should not exactly surprise us though, as it’s stated many times throughout scripture that we WILL have troubles in this life. The very first scripture that comes to mind for me along these lines is 1 Peter 5:8-11…
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
Nowhere in scripture are we promised a happy, trouble-free life. On the contrary, we are promised trials, troubles, even scorn and hatred because of the name of Jesus. (See Matthew 24:9 and Luke 6:22 for a couple of examples.) But here’s the cool thing… God says in His Word that we CAN have joy even through the trials! Are you familiar with James 1:2-4? Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
For the sake of this series of posts, I asked for the help of friends, family & other marriage bloggers. The question I posed to each was exactly the same…
Think of a time when you & your spouse went through some marital trial (whatever it may have been), and the Lord restored your marriage, your heart for your spouse, and/or your commitment to each other. Now here’s a hypothetical scenario… Let’s pretend one of your friends is going through a very similar trial. What we want to know is this – what ONE passage of scripture would you encourage them to read, and WHY? How did this particular passage of God’s Word help you in your trial?
Psalm 121:1-2: I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; From where shall my help come? My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth.
Holy Scripture (the Bible) IS our source of help, our fountain of wisdom, the place where we should always turn for comfort. There is no other Savior besides Jesus. There is no other source or book but God and His Word. If there were some other source, then the Bible would point us to it.
In this series, I wanted to be able to share these people’s responses with you, so that you can see how God’s Word helped these people in their time of sadness and pain. Some of them have asked to remain anonymous, and others were fine with my sharing their names. I will kick the whole thing off by sharing the scripture that helped Tiffani and I to begin to walk out of the shadow of our adulterous past and into the beautiful future that God has for us.
For the quick version of our story, see my post called “Inner Demons.” The scripture that God used to help us begin to recover is Isaiah 43:18-19, which says: “Do not call to mind the former things, Or ponder things of the past. “Behold, I will do something new, Now it will spring forth; Will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, Rivers in the desert. Whenever Satan tries to remind us of what went on in our past, meditating on this promise helps us to remember what God is doing now – TODAY. So if you’ve ever heard that adulterers can never change, it’s a total lie. How do I know? Two of them live in our house. I know them both very well, and neither of them is the same person they were back then. They are changed by the power of Christ who dwells within their hearts!
Source: Jason & Tiffani (My Beloved Is Mine)
The next entry comes from a woman who has asked to remain anonymous. She is currently standing for her troubled marriage, and definitely going through a painful time.
A scripture that struck me about marriage a few months ago was 2 Samuel 12:24. “Then David comforted his wife Bathsheba, and went in to her and lay with her; and she gave birth to a son, and he named him Solomon. And the Lord loved him…” David and Bathsheba’s relationship was totally messed up from the very beginning. And yet when David repented (it doesn’t say much about Bathsheba’s heart) and comforted his wife, all the garbage and sin and junk that was their relationship was washed clean, and the fruit of their union was blessed by God and loved by God. Their relationship saw the blessing of God despite its beginnings and enduring sin. We are not at the point where I can say God has saved our marriage. I believe he is willing, but we need to be willing participants.
The next verse comes from a good friend & fellow CMBA blogger, Miz Bonny Pearl.
Psalm 34:18, “The Lord is close to the broken hearted.”
I was broken. Our household was imploding. It was like in the 2009 Star Trek prequel when the planet Vulcan was a swirling, decaying mess, finally diminishing into a blackhole. My husband and I were having severe marital problems and our children were being impacted as a consequence. Volatile, extreme, angry are words to best describe one of our sons. Typical teenage rebellion x 100 partly because our marriage was not working.
When all the dirty secrets were finally revealed, regarding our marriage and our son’s activities, I was broken. My husband, although we didn’t see eye to eye on a lot of things, felt my heartache. He sent me this verse via email during one of the worst weeks of our life. I clung to this verse. It was on my lips during prayer. It was in front of my eyes and heart at all times.
I started to look for the Lord. If he’s close, I should be able to detect his presence somehow, shouldn’t I? When I started to LOOK, I started to find him. He was in the random stranger at the grocery who had a kind word for me. He was in the hands of friends as I received cards and emails of encouragement. He was on the radio when just the right song would play. I heard him loudest when he was whispering, “Keep faith in me, my great works are about to come,” during my quiet moments when it seemed the blackhole was inevitable.
But, most of all he sent resources. When I started to look for ways to help ourselves, the Lord stepped a little closer. He gave us the resources, the strength of spirit, the courage of heart to take a deep long look into ourselves. He allowed us to be broken to the point of having no more pride. It was being at the point of ultimate vulnerability that we were molded. Through fixing our individual selves, we were able to mend our marriage. Then we were able to start helping our children mend.
This verse gave me hope. He truly does care enough to be close. We just have to look.
Source: Bonny Pearl (Pearl’s Oysterbed)
The last entry in this post comes from fellow CMBA blogger, Jay Dee.
Proverbs 3:3: Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.
Our marriage started off difficult. We had no preparation for marriage, our parents and our schooling did not prepare us to deal with finances (differences in spending/saving styles, budgeting, tithing, etc), conflict resolution, differences in sexuality (high/low drive, what to expect, etc). Our premarriage counselling was so vague and non-specific that I cannot remember a word of it, only that we did it. And when we got married and had problems in almost every facet of our life, we looked around and saw no one else being transparent about their problems. So, we assumed that this was what marriage was like, and no one talked about how disappointing it was.
We’d heard growing up that marriage was work, and it was! We were both so frustrated, angry, upset and distant for years. Finally something broke, and we decided enough was enough. We decided to learn on our own, since no one taught us. Unfortunately, by this time, we weren’t building a marriage, we were filling in a hole, it took us a while to sort out our finances, learn to communicate, start digging through the baggage we had built up, but we did it, because divorce wasn’t an option (it never was).
We had about 7 years of really bad, harsh, difficult marriage before we changed and decided we weren’t going to be like that anymore. It’s taken us another 5 to get to where we are, which is amazing. We still have struggles, we’re still digging out our finances, but everything is headed in the right direction, in fact, that’s the last big hold-over from our first 7 years of marriage. God has blessed us immensely, but we would not have had the chance to experience it, if we had not made a conscious effort to love and be faithful.
Source: Jay Dee (Sex Within Marriage)
There are still stories coming in to my inbox, so I’m definitely not done with this topic. But I don’t want them to get so crazy long that I lose the readers’ attention. So breaking them up into a series of posts was the best thing.
God’s Word is chock full of wisdom and hope for us today. It’s my hope that these verses that have helped others will also help you. If the Spirit leads you to want to add your story to one of my future posts, please see this post, and email me your story using the instructions you find in the post.
May the Lord bless you and keep you!