Bestselling author Gary Thomas poses a thought-provoking question in his book Sacred Marriage: What if God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy?
Great question. And the thing is, holy people are – by far – the happiest people on the planet. Any painful process of refining can lead us to a place of freedom and joy (if we’ll follow Jesus and trust Him along the way), and there’s nothing on earth that compares with true soul freedom.
I tell this story in my book, Alone in Marriage: Encouragement for the Times When it’s All Up to You and I’d love to share it with you here. About a decade ago, my hubby and I walked through some very difficult times. He was a full-blown workaholic and running a million miles an hour. When the months turned into a couple of years, my love account was drained dry. My heart turned cold towards him. I didn’t even like him all that much (this makes me so sad to admit now).
One morning during my prayer time, the Lord ambushed me with these words, “Susie, I know Kevin is over-committed and missing it right now, but you are the one who has committed the greater sin. Though Kevin’s priorities are off and need some adjusting, he is still very much in love with you and the boys. You’ve committed the worse offense because you’ve allowed your love to grow cold. I want you to go…and apologize and ask him for forgiveness. If you want to fulfill all of the wonderful things I have called you to, you wil walk in humble forgiveness all the days of your life.”
I was aghast. My anger is what kept me going. I was so efficient with my housework when I was mad! But I wanted God’s blessing on my life more than I wanted my way. And so I did exactly what the Lord asked me to do. And when I sat down on the floor and humbled myself before my husband, the dam broke loose. I laid down my sword and opened my hands. I told him, “You know how tough these past two years have been for me…well the Lord showed me that I’ve committed a greater offense against you.” I went on to explain my heart and what the Lord showed me. I continued, “Though my feelings for you have changed, I’m going to continue to love you whether you get me or not; whether you come through for me or not. I’ll do this because I love Jesus and that’s what He’s asked me to do.”
It’s as if with every word I spoke to my husband, another scale fell from his eyes. When I dropped my dukes and humbled my heart, Kevin’s heart opened up as well. He gently responded to me, “Is this what my choices have been doing to you?”
Kevin slid down on to the floor next to me and wrapped me in his arms. I wept and he hugged me like he hadn’t in a long time. That began a healing journey for us.
And now when I look at my husband of almost 26 years, I love him more than I ever imagined possible. What happens on the other side of these testing times is so priceless, it’s no wonder that the enemy taunts us to give up when we ‘feel’ nothing for our spouse!
May the Lord lift you up and give you His heart for your spouse! May He conform you to the image of His Son as you trust in Him. He truly makes all things new! Don’t give up! Get a vision for what God is up to right in your midst, because He’s up to something!