After being married for just 18 short months, Star and I separated and were in the process of filing for divorce. During this time I was highly encouraged to go to marriage counseling…alone. It didnt make sense to me, but I went anyway. And, I’m thankful I did. I learned God’s blueprint and heart for marriage (and me), and HE changed my life.
During this season, I made it my mission in life to save my marriage. I confessed. I loved. I forgave. I was becoming the husband I never was but now knew God wanted me to be. I knew Star wouldn’t come running right back, but I thought it would just be a matter of time.
Instead, my love was met with Star’s increased rebellion.
I was appalled. I was in shock….I knew the process would be slow, but this was ridiculous. My marriage was now headed in the absolute wrong direction.
I called my counselor on the phone and angrily told him, “This isn’t working! I’m loving her exactly like you’re telling me and my marriage is worse now than when we started.”
What wasn’t working is I wasn’t getting what I wanted. I wanted my marriage to work. And when I didn’t get what I wanted, I became frustrated and angry.
My anger revealed what was most important to me…my marriage.
Let me be clear, wanting my marriage restored was important. Even God placed a very high importance on Star and I’s marriage being restored. But where I went wrong was when wanting my marriage restored became the most important thing to me.
I wanted my marriage fixed over anything else, even God. Put another way, my marriage had become an object of worship (Romans 1:25). My heart needed to be re-oriented.
My counselor helped me to see that I needed to take the following steps in response to my idolatry:
- Repent – As God revealed this idol worship, I confessed this to God and asked him for forgiveness. 1 John 1:9
- Believe – The reason my marriage became too important is because I really believed that it would give me everything I was looking for. Even more convicting, I was looking to my marriage to provide my satisfaction because I didn’t believe God could. My problem was one of FAITH. Recognizing God as the author of faith, I asked him to help me believe that He could supply my needs according to his riches in Christ Jesus, even if my marriage didn’t work. Phil 4:19
- Surrender – I surrendered the expectations I had for my marriage to God and trusted Him with the result. I remember saying to myself and coming to the realization, “…even if God doesn’t heal my marriage, I’ll be ok.” Hab 3:17-19
- Walk in Faith – As God re-oriented my heart towards Him, He helped me continue to love Star but now for the right reason and without any “strings” attached. Instead of loving her with a primary motivation of a restored relationship , my primary motivation to love her became bringing Glory to God in response to His love for me. 1 Cor 10:31, 1 John 4:19
So, what about you?
- Are you in a tough spot in your marriage?
- Are your efforts to fix your marriage being met with apathy or rebellion from your spouse?
- Do you feel like you are becoming increasingly impatient, frustrated, or even angry at the lack of intimacy in your marriage?
If these things describe you, consider these questions:
- How important is your marriage to you?
- Has it become too important?
- Has it become the most important thing to you?
If it has, can I suggest you repent, believe, surrender, and walk in faith?
Although it was shortly after this revelation and subsequent action that God chose to bless me with my marriage back, I know this doesn’t happen for everyone. I wish it did. The reality is it takes 2 people to make a good marriage and just 1 to destroy it.
So you need to know, this isn’t a formula to fix your marriage. This is, however, a way of life that gives you the opportunity to thrive despite being in a difficult marriage.
And finally, the most beautiful thing about this process is that it always “works”. Every time. It never fails. He is always pleased. God is always glorified.
And that’s the most important thing. 1 Cor 10:31