Are you in a season within your marriage where you’re feeling battle-weary? Do you feel like you’ve done everything you can, you’ve prayed with everything you’ve got…and still, your husband is making choices that are extremely disappointing? First, I want to say my heart goes out to you. You are definitely in a desert place. But I want to encourage you to take a different perspective.
You see, my husband and I were talking recently about the ripple effect of our lives. We may work and work to make a difference with a specific person (such as your husband), and feel greatly discouraged if we see no change. But here’s the thing, OTHER people are watching how you’re handling this challenge in your marriage. Perhaps you have children, and they are watching. Maybe your mother-in-law is watching. It could be that one of your friends is being affected by how you are dealing with this situation. As you strive to reflect Jesus in your marriage, others are drawn to Christ. This is the essence of Matthew 5:16 which says “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
I know it’s tempting to feel defeated, but please realize that you ARE making a difference in the lives around you. If you are respectfully, but firmly, drawing a line on immoral behavior in your marriage, you are blessing your children by providing a great role model for how a wife should act. If your mother-in-law is an unbeliever, she may be attracted to the “Jesus” she sees in you. Your efforts to be a shining light for Jesus do have a ripple effect….and that’s worth it!
— or view this topic as a 2 minute VIDEO HERE
It’s so very easy to sink into self-pity, despair or flat-out depression when life throws you a curveball. It happens when you receive bad medical news or when your husband does something hurtful or when your child starts following the wrong crowd or when your get laid off at work.
However, you do have a choice in how you’re going to view this sudden development. You can choose to feel sorry for yourself and become consumed with resentment and hopelessness….or you can choose to do three much more productive things! You can choose to make the most of your hardship by….
- Praying without ceasing for God to intervene in the situation (read Luke 18:1-8)
- Seeking guidance from God on what possible actions you should take to improve the situation (read Psalm 32:8)
- Asking God what He wants you to learn through this situation so that you grow in character and faith (read Romans 5:3-5)
No one really embraces heartbreak or suffering. We usually do everything we can to avoid it, and we often complain to God when He doesn’t put an end to it at our first request. But maybe he is allowing the suffering for a really good reason. Maybe He has purpose even when he allows us to experience disappointment or even heartbreak.
I think of several stories from the Bible. Joseph’s story in Genesis, chapters 37-50, is a prime example. Even though Joseph endured great suffering for many years as he wrongly spent time in prison, God had a masterful plan he was executing behind the scenes….a plan that would involve Joseph rising to great power in Egypt and helping his family gain food during a famine in Israel. I also think of the great apostles Peter and Paul. They were beaten and thrown into prison, but God later miraculously freed them from prison and their story inspired many to follow Christ.
The Bible reveals that there is purpose in suffering and heartbreak. Romans 5:3-5 says “…we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” So, perhaps instead of feeling sorry for ourselves or feeling anger toward God, maybe you and I should choose to trust God even in the midst of heartbreak. Maybe we should ask God to use our suffering to build our character. God won’t waste your heartbreak. He will use it to do something beautiful.
Do you sometimes get really frustrated with your husband when he doesn’t see the need to tackle a project quickly? Do you get exasperated when he doesn’t seem to have a clue how you feel or why you feel the way you do? Well, here’s a news bulletin. He doesn’t understand how you think and feel because he’s not a woman! In Genesis 1:27, we are reminded that God created two distinctly different kinds of people…. “male and female he created them.” Your man doesn’t think or emote like you because God created him to be different than you!
Men don’t generally sense an urgency to get the kid’s schedule figured out or the house vacuumed. But you do. Men don’t usually like to sit and talk about their concerns regarding the children or their job. You might need to do that, but men generally check out by entering the “nothing box” in their head!
I guess what I’m saying is…don’t be surprised that your husband doesn’t seem to understand you. He won’t understand you all the time because you’re a woman and he is not. This makes it all the more important for you to have good female friendships. Make it a point to spend some time with other women, in person or on the phone, at least twice a week. You need someone to understand and validate your thoughts, fears, hopes, and frustrations. (Just one caution though. Don’t bad-mouth your husband in the process.)
Sometimes, it’s so hard to stay in the battle for your marriage. Sometimes, we get weary. Often, we wonder why we should put in the hard work when no one even notices. Well, let me remind you that there is someone who notices all your hard work, and you have a reward coming. In fact, Jesus talks about “treasures” we can receive in heaven.
In the book of Isaiah, God reveals what lies in store for us when we get to heaven…jewels!!! 🙂 He says in Isaiah 54:11-12, “I will rebuild you with stones of turquoise, your foundations with lapis lazuli. I will make your battlements of rubies, your gates of sparkling jewels, and all your walls of precious stones.” And, in Matthew 16:27 Jesus says “For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.”
How do we make sure we have rewards waiting for us in heaven? During his time on earth, Jesus spoke a lot about receiving a reward in heaven by doing good and righteous things, especially when no one on earth notices! Interesting. This means God sees and cares about the hard work you are putting into your marriage. He will reward you for your acts of kindness, patience, and love toward your husband, even if nobody else notices. He will reward you some day for the way you persevere during rough patches in your marriage instead of giving up. There is a reward coming someday, and it will be beautiful.
— or view this topic as a 3 minute VIDEO ENCOURAGEMENT
Sometimes, we feel like we’ve reached the end of our rope! You may be discouraged because you’ve been praying for God to change your husband’s attitude or behavior, and it’s just not happening. You may be discouraged because you hoped your children would turn out a certain way, and they seem to be making bad decisions. You may be discouraged because you’ve been searching for a new job and you can’t find one that fits your abilities and availability. Now what?
Well, first, don’t give up praying. In Luke 18:1, the Bible says…”Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.” So, keep asking God for a miracle. However, maybe it’s time to put on a new set of glasses. Maybe you’ve been insisting that God do what YOU think is best, instead of praying that God’s perfect will be done. Now is the time to ask God to reveal his perspective on this issue. Why don’t you ask him these 3 questions, and then spend some quiet time listening for his response:
1) Lord, can you help me to see this situation through your eyes?
2) How are you trying to change me or teach me through this situation?
3) Is there a lie the enemy is trying to get me to believe about this situation?
–or view this topic as a 3 minute VIDEO HERE