before our wedding day, my wife and I were having serious problems. Some
of the problems were caused by us, wounds that we were unwittingly carrying
into the relationship. Some of the problems were caused by people and
circumstances outside of our control. I had no idea what to do. I
was very literally at my wits’ end. And I’m confident that my wife was as
well. In seeking God, I heard four simple words that changed everything
from that moment forward:
her. Trust me.”
since we were children, we have heard the age-old fairy tale that goes
something like this: The knight in shining armor, a fearless warrior, seeks out
the princess, perfect in all her beauty. He slays a dragon, wakes her
from her slumber, and, of course, they live “happily ever after.” The
story has been told over and over, in so many variations, through so many
characters. So we arrive on the scene and do our best to fill the
role, perhaps secretly fearing there is no way we’ll measure up.
And we expect, or at least longingly hope, that the other person is going to
fill their role. In time, or maybe very quickly, we find out that ours isn’t a
fairy tale. What has happened to this fairy tale we thought we entered
into or so desperately want to enter into? Is it even humanly
possible? Maybe we conclude that it isn’t really possible, so we give
up. We sink. Or we fight the one we love.
of the most common experiences in every marriage is grief. Let that sink in.
Every husband and wife grieves, in varying measures. We grieve who we
thought our spouse was supposed to be, who we thought we were, what marriage is
about, and what kind of God would bless this, knowing what we were getting
into. We have to grieve our false images. This has been my
experience as well. And it has been grueling at times. Perhaps it
is supposed to be. But Jesus didn’t pull any punches. He told us
ahead of time.
2:17: “Jesus said to them, ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the
sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners.’”
16:33: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.
In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have
overcome the world.”
you married, or are preparing to marry, a sick person, a sinner. And
that’s not a bad thing. It’s perfectly normal. As you come to grips
with that, don’t forget that Christ offers and is the remedy and has already
overcome the trouble you have had, are in the midst of, or is ahead.
is why I’m so thankful that God gave me those four words: “Love her. Trust me.”
That was terrifying counsel. Stop trying to fix or change what I’m afraid
of in her? Trust this God who lets people hurt, this God who has already
let me get hurt?
God, I can see the disaster ahead.”
Mike, she’s your disaster? And not your treasure?” He delivered it
gently, but it was quite a blow.
her the way I love you, Mike. You are a ‘disaster,’ yet still my
knew he was right. I was doing things disastrously in this
relationship. I was not loving his daughter very well at all. And I
blamed her for the mess inside of me. Yet, he continued to be with me,
and guide me, and love me.
free from you, Mike. Christ secured that for her. Agree with me in
that. I’ve invited her to come to me just as she is. Will you let
her come to you just as she is? John 8:36 tells us, “If the Son sets you
free, you will be free indeed.”
isn’t our spouse’s responsibility to meet all of our needs. That isn’t
possible. Not even
close. God alone promises to do that for us. This leaves our spouse
free to give to us, as opposed to obey us. “And my God will meet all your needs
according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).
all comes down to that four word promise, “Love her. Trust me.”
how do we practically participate in God’s craftsmanship?
Love. First things, first. Love before, and then, while
asking for and helping with change and growth, tend to your spouse’s weaknesses
the way you would tend to their physical wounds—with gentleness. Deliver
your words gently, especially the sensitive ones.
a list of ways that you are willing to unconditionally give to your spouse,
even when (or especially when) you are at odds, you’ve had to set some
boundaries, or they are experiencing the difficult consequences of their
ways. Put them into practice.
Ask. When you would like your spouse to do something for you or
give something to you, ask them if they are willing, as opposed to telling or
demanding it from them. Asking says that you have no intention of being
in authority over them. All that is theirs, and they are free to give and
withhold. It upholds equality in that you are declining to be their
master. You are side by side.
Accept their no. If your spouse is unwilling or unable to help meet your
need, let God meet it in another way. This is what makes it even possible
to accept their no. Are you reluctant to let God meet your need in
another way, as he sees fit? Do you know that he will?
treasure your spouse’s freedom to say no is to value them and their freedom
over what you want from them.
Forgive. It can’t be said
enough. Free them from debts they can’t even repay, from the past they
can’t unwrite. Let Christ pay that debt to you. Let Christ meet the
needs that your spouse can’t meet.
we forgive them for not being the fairy tale that they were never supposed to
be? Can you forgive yourself for not being the fairy tale that YOU were
never supposed to be?
is enough. Psalm 62:1-2 says, “My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation
comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will
never be shaken.” This task of loving our spouses while trusting God is far
from easy, and cannot be done alone. It was never intended to be done
alone. If you are struggling in your marriage, don’t hesitate to seek
help from a Christian counselor. A counselor will help guide you through
steps toward healing or rejuvenation, offer practical ways to carry out a
rewarding relationship, and can recognize and address hidden obstacles.
Mike Blacet is a therapist with
Cornerstone Christian Counseling Services. His first career choice was
engineering, but God got ahold of him and turned many things upside down, or
right-side up. Mike and his wife Angela have been married since 2001.
They enjoy their time together as a family with their two daughters, Madelyn
and Grace, and their son, Noah.