Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.
We all know that marriage, like life, can be hard sometimes.
Full of problems and situations that crack the status quo and increase stress.
But what about the risks that no one dares to face?
Problems we are afraid to confront?
Realities we would rather not think about and sweep under the carpet?
Hidden in the dark.
Maybe you’re married to an emotionally unstable woman who in her desperation soothes her pain with too much online shopping. You’re afraid of her anger so you don’t address the issue, but silently pay the bills each month, worrying about increasing debt levels you cannot afford.
Perhaps your husband drinks and when inebriated rants and raves at home, creating havoc and fear for you and your kids. You walk on eggshells, afraid of him and afraid to tell anyone. He is fully functioning on the job and serves as a deacon on Sunday mornings and you wonder if anyone would believe you. And you both wear masks. Fear and pain grow year by year yet you don’t utter a word.
Or maybe you or your spouse has been diagnosed with a disease or condition like diabetes or celiac that will drastically alter your lifestyle, calling for major changes in diet to insure continuing good health. This requires you to give up the foods you love, the culinary choices that comfort, but you choose to ignore your doctor’s admonition and the online research your spouse has supplied. Refusing to accept truth, your physical health and the health of your marriage plummets.
And sometimes it’s another part of our wonderfully, fearfully made bodies that is unwell — our brains, and the intricate balance needed for optimum functioning.
Maybe your spouse is bi-polar or suffers with clinical depression or anxiety, but the stigma attached to mental illness makes them avoid discussing the impact that mood swings have on your marriage.
Perhaps they refuse to take prescribed meds. In milder cases, maybe they resist holistic changes that can help manage their imbalance through food eaten or avoided, supplements taken and the amount of exercise and light each day. Bodies get sick and so do brains and it all just is what it is, but maybe they or you don’t fully own that there is therefore now no condemnation or shame.
Or maybe there’s the dark and dirty secret of online pornography addiction. You know it diminishes the oneness in your marriage and affects your sexual intimacy, but you are ashamed and fearful so you look the other way. Or you don’t want to confess your struggle to a trusted brother in Christ. But problems never just go away and our marriages are only as sick as their secrets. And one image, one poor choice at a time, marriages wither away.
Yet you fear rocking the boat perhaps as much as they fear recognizing the problem and you keep your mouth shut, praying all the time and wrongly thinking that you and God can handle it all without your spouse’s cooperation.
But marriage is a three-strand cord and we give problems the boot by facing them head-on together through the power and grace of God.
God is our ever present help in times of trouble.
No matter how ugly, serious and sobering the issues are they must be confronted, not chased away by creating a fantasy existence. Marriages suffer and sometimes end in divorce when spouses refuse to take ownership and responsibility, communicate openly and rationally, and then deal with the issue humbly and bravely.
So let’s take off our running shoes and run to God with our problems.
For You have been a refuge for me, a tower of strength against the enemy. Let me dwell in Your tent forever; let me take refuge in the shelter of Your wings. Selah. For You have heard my vows, O God; You have given me the inheritance of those who fear Your name. Psalm 61:3-5
Clinging to our spouse, both of us held by God, we fight the good fight of defending and protecting and growing our marriages one day at a time.
Cutting the chains that keep us captive in our own darkness and fear, boldly walking over to that elephant in the living room.
And saying boo.
For God is bigger than any boogie man or little fox sent to tear apart our union. Our fear is overcome by our faith, with eyes wide open, and by shining His light into the dark recesses where we don’t want to look.
God giving us strength for any challenging journey.
And all of us conquering whatever is coming against our marriage…
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