Yes, this post is also on marriage. However, it's not like any of the other two posts before it. Marriage is not always butterflies and rainbows like our culture can sometimes portray it to be. It's hard. It takes extreme work and a whole lot of dying to your sinfulness and selfishness. I'm thankful Britt was so willing to openly share their testimony. I pray the Lord uses this to bring hope and encouragement to some. They are such a clear picture of Christs redeeming love.
After becoming a mother, I became very protective and hostile. Jared really got the bad end of that deal, and I am sure I was very difficult to live with. So, instead of working together, we started working against each other. Which obviously in a marriage can never work. I literally criticized everything he did... He couldn't change his diaper the right way and He couldn't feed him the right way… I was awful to be around. I was sinful and wasn't in the word of God, and the same went for him. Due to both of being 100% more concerned about ourselves than we were about the other person, there was a fight, an affair, and lots of crying involved. My world was literally falling apart, and what I didn't realize was a lot of it was my fault. Yes there was a affair and yes it does suck. There were days I thought about moving away so I never had to see him ever again. Or just punching him so hard in the face if I'm going to be honest here. But I didn't by God's grace. The Lord impressed on me the importance of my marriage, and I knew we needed to some how, some way make things work.
I told J the only way I would stay with him after that was to go to marriage counseling, which he agreed to. We went to a Christian marriage counselor who based everything he told us off scripture. Literally, the first thing he said to me was, if you want this marriage you have to
1. Forgive him for what he did to you. Yes, forgive. How many times over do we have an affair with the world and forsake God? How many times do we choose our "gods" over Him? Countless times. Yet, every time, if we belong to the father and He is the Lord in our life, he simply forgives. He forgives. I had to let go of my bitterness and hurt and forgive. Talk about dying to my pride.
2. Believe it can be redeemed. If God can raise dry bones from the dead and give them life (Ezekiel 37:1-14) he can restore my marriage. Plain and Simple.
3. Be an example of Christ to him. Being submissive, loving, patient and kind are a few ways to be an example.
1 Peter 3:1-2 "Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the Word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct"
Ephesians 5:22-24 "Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands."
- That scripture has done amazing things for me as a wife. No matter what if I submit to my husband despite him being in sin, that will be an example of Christ to him. Even if you don't think he deserves it, it doesn't matter. We are all sinful and make mistakes.
I was saved that day in counseling. Praise the Lord! I remember it all clicking and the conviction I felt. It took some time but the Lord did redeem our marriage. The process was slow and painful. Dying to yourself and your selfish desires and putting someone before you is never easy, and the Lord doesn't promise that it will be. But the outcome, oh friends, it is so worth it. It is so worth the initial heartache. I give glory to Christ everyday because without him I would have lost everything. By God's grace, Jared was saved and today is such a Godly husband. He strives to be a Godly father to Gavin and husband to me. He longs for community and loves being involved with our church family. He is the leader of our home and it's his desire to pastor, protect, and provide for us. The evidence of the Lord in his life is abundantly clear.
In order to have a Christ centered marriage, the focus must come off our ourselves and onto Christ. How can a couple put Christ in the Center? Just a few small suggestion: Both spouses need to be more in love with Jesus than they are with themselves or each other. Jesus must come first. Then your spouse. Prayer needs to happen together and together often. Daily quiet times must be pursued. REPENTANCE AND FORGIVENESS need to happen over and over again. No holding grudges. Give grace.
Marriage is the biggest reflection of Christ's love for us. God made a convenient to us through Christ's death to love us unconditionally. Satan wants so desperately to ruin as many marriages as possible so he can shatter that image of Christ and His Bride. The bride of Christ is the church. Like the church submits to the Christ, we are to submit to our husbands.
I highly encourage that if your marriage is suffering and you feel there is no hope:
1. Repent of your sin and forgive your spouse. Even if you think he is the one majorly sinning, BIG chances are you are too.
2. Cling to Jesus and pray for your spouse DAILY.
3. Seek counseling. It is not something to be ashamed of. It is a BOLD step and a courageous one. Fight for your marriage sisters!
4. Get involved in the local church. After the Lord began redeeming our marriage we found Revision Church, and it has been such a blessing to us. The relationships and people we have met have been life changing. I could never thank them enough for the friendships and accountability we have received. They are a constant reminder and example of what it means to have a marriage centered on Christ. They are a community of believers and friends that can help us carry our burdens. They pray for us, counsel us, and point us to Jesus. As believers, we are intended to be amongst the body.
I'll leave you with this : Romans 8:28:
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
So thankful the Lord can take a once broken marriage and redeem it fully. No matter what your situation, no matter how far into sin you have gone. Christ can redeem. Surrender to His love.