I’m torn in pieces over a friend’s pain. I get her calls and her texts as her husband has made choices which leave her in the middle of a divorce she never wanted and a life turned upside down by his lust and selfishness. She is left to comfort her children and try to make sense out of something completely devastating. She is left to try to decide how to put one foot in front of the other. She is left to learn how to make a new normal. Marriage can leave shattered hearts and shards where there should be commitment.
I witness another friend who was at the end of her rope. Her husband was caught up in addiction and the denial that goes along with it. She was frayed and frazzled by his behaviors and his inability to see his own demolition of all that mattered in their lives. He was able to go to work so in his mind he was fine and she was a nag for thinking otherwise. Over a year ago he grabbed hold of sobriety and has accepted his need for help and healing. He has always been a church attender, but now he has a relationship with God which is vital and growing deeper all the time. She told a few of us the other day, “I’d follow this man anywhere because I know Who he is following.” We witness a miracle. The God of redemption gives transformation to willing hearts and each time it is no less awe inspiring. Marriage can go the distance and be the testimony of restoration.
Here we are, my husband and I, one week since our romantic getaway where all we did was think about one another and connect to one another. We have been reaping the blessings of time away together. Our eyes will lock without a word spoken and we remember the rekindling of our love. We linger sometimes and look at one another. We stop in the kitchen and give an embrace. We are still warm with the fondness of reconnection. Marriage can bring warmth and a calm sureness to the heart.
God is in our midst in each of these marriages. He is with my friend who feels alone and scared. He has a plan and He will not forsake her even though her husband has. God will prove faithful despite the unfaithfulness of others. To this friend, He says:
“Fear not, for you will not be put to shame;
And do not feel humiliated, for you will not be disgraced;
But you will forget the shame of your youth
and the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more.
For your husband is your Maker, whose name is the Lord of hosts
and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel
Who is called the God of all the earth
for the Lord has called you
like a wife forsaken and grieved in spirit
even like a wife of one’s own youth when she is rejected,” says your God.
God is with my friends who are finding newness of life, humility and gratitude after times of great trial and strain. He is refreshing their hearts and deepening their walks with Him as they leave behind what was ensnaring each of them and look to Him for the rebuilding and renovation of their family. To these friends, He says:
And the Lord will continually guide you
and satisfy your desire in scorched places
and give strength to your bones
and you will be like a well watered garden
and like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.
God is with my husband and me now, in our season of satisfaction and rest. He is giving us a repose. He is leading us beside still waters. He knows how to lead us and in this season He is blessing us with renewal and He is strengthening us for future trials. To us, He says:
Rejoice, be made complete, be comforted, be like-minded, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.
I have to write about those trials that will inevitably come. I have to because I know others who are struggling through them right now. I have to because life won’t always be a romance novel. I’m not raining on my own parade. The fact that rain will come makes me all the more eager to bask in the sun while it shines. I am eating up every moment of the warmth that currently exists between me and my husband. I’m storing it away for our rainy days. I’m remembering the goodness of him and thanking God for this gift of companionship and oneness. I’m tracing the qualities I adore about him in my mind and leaving etchings for myself so that when we come to a difficult season I have these as reminders of why I hang in and what I find dear. Hard times will come. It may last briefly or longer, but we will face other winters and in those I want to remember the warmth of our love.
What season of marriage are you in right now? Whatever the season – involving rejection or distance, experiencing redemption, restoration or rest — God is with you and He has plans to bless you and to use this season for good.
Just so you know … The individuals who are mentioned in this post have agreed that I could write about them here. They have read and approved what I wrote regarding their situations.