This week I noticed a lot of blog posts floating concerning Lysa TerKeurst’s pending divorce, following her husband’s long affair and substance abuse. While I only became more familiar with her story recently, through reading her books The Best Yes and Uninvited, I’ve really come to admire her life and ministry. As I read her honest and heartbreaking blog post, I felt the tears welling up in my eyes; not just for this brave sister in Christ who so openly shares her struggles and testimony with the world, but for all the broken marriages I have observed or felt the effects of first-hand. As much as we Christians would like to believe we are immune to divorce, infidelity, and heartbreak, in a broken world this is simply not the case. While we can try our absolute best to protect our marriages, if either the husband or wife take their eyes off of Jesus, the enemy has an opportunity to destroy everything. In the world we live in, instant gratification and low commitment are the norm. We are taught that our spouses are meant to please us, and as soon as the good feelings leave and the going gets tough, society tells us to turn to alcohol, infidelity, pornography, or anything under the sun except for Jesus. In a world like this, no marriage, except one with Jesus at the center of both partners’ lives, is safe. This never was God’s plan for marriage, and I can’t even imagine how His heart breaks when the souls He brought together fall apart. Mark 10:9 says, “Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” Now, more than ever, it is vital that we Christians keep our eyes on the Lord and protect the love and unity that God has given us in marriage from anything that can interfere with our relationships with our spouses and with Jesus Christ.
All of these things have led me to think a lot about mine and Lee’s marriage and the things I can do to protect and cherish it. I am not a perfect person. As humans, our natural instincts drive us to sin. Romans 3:23 states, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,”. It doesn’t matter how you were raised, where you come from or how hard you may try to be “good” in the eyes of this world. We are all sinners. However, I am forever grateful that the verse ends with a comma and not a period. It continues in Romans 3:24, “and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” We have been justified through Jesus and called to live a different life from those around us in the world, including in our marriages. When I think about what this means for my actions, thoughts, and attitudes towards my husband, I am overwhelmed by the responsibility and hard work marriage really takes if you want to follow God’s intended plan. Lucky for us, we don’t have to do any of this alone. When we let the Holy Spirit fill us nothing is impossible in our marriages, and we can use our relationships to honor God in everything we do. Tonight I have meditated on the ways I can honor my marriage as a wife and give 110% to Lee and my Savior. While I know there are many more things to work towards than the five I have listed here, this is a starting point for something I plan to pray about and be conscious of every day.
1.) I promise to run from situations that compromise my integrity as your wife. It is easy to say that you would never cheat on your husband or do something you know would dishonor your marriage, but we are all human and susceptible to temptation. 1 Corinthians 10:13 says, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation, He will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” I promise to always look for God’s provided way of escape in times of temptation, and avoid anything and anyone that could come between us.
2.) I promise to submit to you, even when it’s difficult for me to. As much as I have tried to run from anything relating to submission, God’s Word clearly states in Ephesians 5:22-23, “Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.” I will trust that you are prayerfully seeking God’s counsel and that you love me in the same way Christ loves His church. I have no fear of following you because it means I am following you, following Jesus.
3.) I promise to be honest with you in all things. Communication is one of the most important parts of a marriage. It is easy for me to shut down and shut you out. This is counterproductive and a byproduct of our sinful natures and attitudes. I promise, to the best of my abilities, to talk to you about everything; good and bad. I promise to pray with you openly and freely. I promise to let you know all the inner workings of my heart and mind, as best as I can. I promise to let you know me better than anyone else (except Jesus, of course). Being open will allow our relationship to grow and let us remain close, not giving room for anything to come between us.
4.) I promise to sacrifice for you daily. I know that some people will read this and immediately feel uncomfortable. We are taught that sacrificing anything is a negative experience. We feel entitled and don’t want to give up even the slightest comfort or pleasure in our lives. I promise that I will sacrifice for you in big and small ways, whether it be letting you take control of the TV, or giving up my want for yours. I promise to give you my time, my support and my thoughts. I promise to give you as much of me as I can, all the days of my life. I promise to give freely and joyfully, without complaining or shoving it in your face.
5.) I promise to always keep Jesus at the center of everything, including our marriage. I recently read an analogy that really resonated with me. It was about how we always like to say we put Jesus at the top of our priority list when He really wants everything in our lives to revolve around Him in the same way our solar system rotates around the sun. I promise to keep Jesus at the center of my life, my purpose, and our marriage. Colossians 3:17 states, “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” While I am not strong or steadfast, when things are hard I promise to cling to the one who is. I promise to praise Him with you through all the good and bad seasons of our lives together. I promise to love Jesus more than anything on this earth and to run towards Him with you until we see His face.
I know that there are so many more things I could list. There are innumerable ways to be a Christ-filled wife and protect your marriage. It is so beautiful to me that we have a Father who’s continually helping us grow and blossom into the beautiful work of art He has created us to be. Until the day comes when we stand before Him, we will all be at various stages of growth and development. I thank the Lord every day that He never stops working on me. It is so comforting to think that I am not in the same place I was four years ago and that I will continue to grow alongside my wonderful, God-fearing husband. I will never be a perfect woman or wife. But with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, I can protect our marriage and use it to bring glory to the God who brought us, two ordinary people, together to do extraordinary things for His kingdom.
Love and blessings,