Pacer and I celebrated our 9th year of marriage and 17 years together this month. As we have much to thank the Lord for, we continue to build and strengthen our relationship to this day. We have experienced many highs and lows. We achieved many milestones and crossed many hurdles. Like everyone else, we are not immune to the common struggles every marriage faces.
Married couples would agree that building a godly marriage is hard. No matter how many years we have been married, there are different seasons in marital life. Pastors and their wives do not always have it all together either.
When all goes well, we must not take our spouses and the good times for granted. We must maintain a heart of gratitude and appreciation towards God and our spouses. We have to continue to guard our marriages. Some years may be dry and dull. Responsibilities take precedence, and we put our relationship with our spouses on the back burner. We need to take steps to revitalise our bonds and improve our marriages. Some of us may go through a waiting season where there are testing and trials. We are waiting for breakthroughs in our marriages or our circumstances to change for the better. Please know that God is with you. He has not forgotten about you. There is still hope in Jesus to restore and heal your marriage. No situation or no one is too hopeless for God to redeem. It may take a long time, but do not give up and press on in your faith! You may be waiting for your spouse to change, and God can change them! Likewise, God is also using this waiting process to train and prune you. He is building your character, growing your godliness, and transforming you so that you will mature in Christ too. Surrender all that you have been clinging onto so desperately to God. Depend on God’s grace to work it out for you through your brokenness. May I encourage you to get on your knees and cry out to the Lord daily as David did in Psalm 5:1-3.
Everything has a season, and God has also made everything beautiful in its time (Ecclesiastes 3:1,11a). God is fully in control. A strong and lasting marriage requires us to endure difficult times and love with selfless service (1 Corinthians 13:7).
We need to do our part to invest in our marriage too. As children of God, we know God detest divorces (Malachi 2:16 NLT). Therefore, we know we must do absolutely everything we can to uphold our wedding vows. Have you given your best in your marriage? Too many Christians continue to selfishly put themselves before their spouses or the family. We expect our spouses to do the work of honouring our wedding vows instead. We dole out empty promises which we have no intention to fulfil. Regardless of whose fault it began with, both parties are eventually equally guilty of inflicting hurts on each other when there is so much infighting and unresolved issues. Godly marriages require both parties’ utmost commitment and efforts to keep walking in love (1 Peter 4:8). We cannot afford to be sluggards in our marriages (Proverbs 6:6-11). The love God desires for our unions is the same love Christ calls us to and by which He died (1 John 4:19). That love is neither unreasonable nor self-serving. When we constantly make excuses to get away with our minor blunders, faith and trust erode over time, and our marriages slip away.
In one of his books, Timothy Keller wrote, “Marriage requires the ability to forgive freely without a shred of superiority, and to repent freely without begrudging”. As we self-examine and find anything in us that has contributed to hurts and pain in our marriage, let us confess it, repent, and seek God’s forgiveness. He is faithful and just to forgive us (1 John 1:9). Likewise, let us humble ourselves, muster our courage, and sincerely seek forgiveness from our spouses too. Finally, let us offer forgiveness freely, knowing that Jesus has also freely forgiven us of our debts.