Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. (Genesis 2:24)
What does this even mean? Obviously, the man and woman do not morph into the same body. I think it means there is no longer a “mine and yours,” but everything becomes “ours.” Instead of separately, the couple begins working as a team as they face life and work toward common goals.
David and I were twenty-six and twenty-five when we married. We both had to wait longer than we would have liked. Since we were separated by two states, our “dating” was via telephone lines. We felt like God had made us for each other so after he popped the question, we wanted to make sure our marriage got off to the best possible start and was according to God’s plan.
We read and discussed many marriage books and we each drove three hours to meet for a counseling session once. By the time the wedding date rolled around, we thought we were marriage experts. Ha ha!
Although we both had a lot to learn, one thing that I thank God for is that I knew God’s purpose for me in marriage. I was made to be David’s helpmeet. This marriage wasn’t only about how it would benefit me. I went into the marriage with the purpose of helping David better accomplish God’s will in his life. I looked forward to serving him.
Later, when I didn’t always feel like serving David, I tried to do it for God. When I had a bad attitude, I tried to remember God’s design for authority recorded in Ephesians. By submitting to David, I was indirectly submitting to God.
Because we had so much in common, I believe the thing that continued to surprise and frustrate David the most was how differently God made men and women in general. He would often ask aloud, Why did God have to make men and women so different? For the longest time I thought if I could just find the right words, I could convince David to see things my way. (I think they call that nagging!) I finally realized it wasn’t my finding the magical words to persuade David that was needed. The solution was us asking God to show us what HE wanted and then us making the proper adjustments.
One of the hardest things I ever did was leave our one year old babies and go off for a day and night to celebrate our wedding anniversaries. As much as I enjoyed our time alone, it tore my heart out to leave the little ones. But we wanted to make sure we didn’t end up being one of those couples who found themselves strangers when the kids left home. Those get-a-ways were like glue in our marriage. Those times always reminded us of why we got married in the first place.
I spent years trying to learn how to respect, submit, and honor David. Practicing good communication was a constant challenge for both of us. Although we had a good marriage, in the fall of 2014, the recent trials of life (his cancer, my cancer, and our two daughters getting married all in the same year) had taken a toll on our relationship.
We felt overwhelmed and discouraged. We knew we needed some spiritual encouragement as well as some help in our relationship. We went to a Weekend to Remember Marriage Conference hosted by Family Life Today in October 2014 right before our 25th Wedding Anniversary (5 months before David went to Heaven). It was humbling and hard to admit our failures, but we received a lot of practical help. I will be forever glad we went and thankful to God for how He worked in our hearts and for what He showed us that weekend!
Marriage is tough under the best of circumstances even when a Christian couple desires and is trying to follow God’s plan. Misunderstandings can happen so easily. Communication can be difficult. If you have a problem that sends you on the merry-go-round for the thousandth time, please get outside help.
Don’t let pride stand in the way of getting the help you need. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been married a few months or 50 years, a relationship can always be improved if people are willing to make changes.
Proverbs 11:14 says, Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counselors there is safety.
You don’t have to be headed for divorce court before you see a counselor. But don’t go to just anybody for advice! There are good Christian counselors available. You need to make sure the counselor is going to steer you God’s way.
My prayer is that your marriage is all that God intended it to be. Keep working at your relationship. It is worth the effort!
Looking to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith,