Being in ministry to families, I have often had the privilege to counsel couples in their marriage. It is not an easy privilege mind you, but it’s been a blessing to help couples heal and move past their past and find hope for their marriage in their present and for their future.
What qualifies me to counsel others? It’s not a counseling degree. It’s not a professional license. It’s marriage. It is 30 years of marriage. It is understanding the ups, the downs, the hardships and the blessings of two people becoming one in the Lord. This process of oneness is a difficult one. Yet, when a marriage between two people can cross over to that place of unity, the blessings are more than words can describe. The best word I can come up with is – harmony.
In most of my counseling experience, I have seen marriages find this harmony, but in some cases there are those where scars run too deep; they have a hard time getting past them, therefore, they continue to destroy the marriage leaving gaping wounds. While one may want to heal and move toward restoration and reconciliation, the other would rather continue in the darkness of despair. It’s almost as if they have lived in that state so long they are afraid to come out. It has become strangely comfortable for them. The sadness in all is the one partner who wants healing is forced to endure the hardship of the other’s inability to move past their past to a place of peace.
It’s for the one partner left in the darkness and wanting to come out into the light that I write this blog. In some cases, this one left in the darkness is the husband and in other cases, it’s the wife. It is for the woman, the wife, that I write this blog. Yet, husbands, if you are the one in this place of holding, please just change the gender and find hope.
There are many things in this world that leave me speechless and overwhelmed with great heartache. One of those is seeing a wife who has been wounded in spirit by her husband.
At one point her husband had promised her protection, guidance, safety, forever love and faithfulness. So, she opened the most sensitive part of herself to him – her heart of trust. But then, as time went on all of this changed. His promises break, and he chooses to replace them with condemnation, attacks, oppression, and aggression.
He hurts her with his words. His eyes are filled with hatred for the woman he once called “His love.” He rejects what is most valuable only to embrace what is wicked and filthy. He is a man who once enjoyed the favor and strength of the Lord, yet now, he only knows God’s wrath, discipline, and judgment.
It’s as if he changed into a completely different person.
“Who is this man,” the woman asks.
Instead of facing his sin and dealing with his part in the brokenness, like a frenzied animal, he chooses to blame her for his failings. Accepting no responsibility because of the painful reality of it all, he chooses to ignore it by heaping more coal on his wife’s spirit. Creating more wounds, more gaping offenses and putting a wedge so large between them, the marriage seems impossible to repair.
How blind and corrupt he has become!
Jesus sits beside the woman who’s disgraced, rejected, and abandoned. He puts His arm around her; He comforts her with his warmth; He refreshes her with His love. He says,
“Woman, Your husband is your Maker – His name is Yahweh of Hosts – the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer. He is called the God of all the earth.
For the Lord has called you, dear woman; you are a wife deserted, wounded in spirit and rejected. While deserted for a brief moment, I will take you back with great compassion. I will have compassion on you with an everlasting love. I have sworn I will not be angry with you or rebuke you.
Though the mountains move and hills shake; though all in your life seems to be crumbling down; My love will not be removed from You and My covenant of peace will not be shaken.
Though you fear for your children, know this, all of them will be taught by Me, your Lord, and their prosperity will be great.
If anyone attacks you, understand that it is not from Me. No weapon formed against you will succeed; you will refute any accusation raised against you in court.
You are my beloved; your heritage is founded upon my promises to you. You are the Lord’s servant and your righteousness is from Me.” (A rendition of Isaiah 54).
To the woman who is in the holding cell of your current marriage state, I urge you to focus on who you are in Christ. It’s the safest most peaceful place you can plant yourself.
Jesus is our horn of salvation. He is our strength. Our very good and great Lover!
It’s tempting to fear while in this holding place. It’s also just a tempting to react in anger. Neither brings about the righteousness of God in our own hearts or in our marriage.
The presence of fear is the absence of faith.
The presence of unrighteous anger is the absence of godly love.
God’s pleasure is found in our faith and in our love. For these never pass away in His kingdom. And it is His kingdom and heaven’s atmosphere that we want to bring down to earth.
So what do you do when your husband seems unattractive to you and you seem unattractive to him? Seek to attract the Lord instead. He is your Maker. He is your Husband. He is your ultimate pleasure in life. Attract Him with your faith in Him and your love for Him. For these two give off a sweet aroma of hope and courage. Not only will you attract the Lord, others will find great strength from that which you emit from your presence. Don’t let the voice of fear and the emotion of anger rob you of God’s pleasure in you.