This blog will post on Phil’s and my 15th wedding anniversary. This may seem like pocket change to many (including my parents and in-laws who will each be celebrating 49 years of marriage this year!). But, for Phil and me this feels fairly monumental. You see, we really didn't enjoy those first several years of marriage (nope, no honeymoon phase for us). We struggled.
So, to all you wives who would like to fill in that blank with some not-so-nice words, I’m here to tell you I’ve been there. I still get caught there at times. But there is a better way and it brings great hope. Not just “suck-it-up-buttercup” type hope (though there is a good dose of that now and then); I’m talking about real hope for a marriage with joy, peace…and kind words.
Several years ago, Phil and I went to a Christian marriage retreat hoping to improve our relationship. Before posing the fill-in-the-blank question above, they had us do this one: “My husband/wife is not _________.” We were told to fill in the blank with "my enemy". In my notes I wrote, "My husband is not my enemy." Phil enjoyed that little nugget for a few years. I would grumble at him for making some mess and he would throw up his arms and say, "Hey, I'm not the enemy here!" Thank you, Weekend to Remember.
After assuring us that our spouse was not on the opposite side of the battle lines (we have one true enemy and that is Satan), they continued on and told us to fill in the next blank with "gift from God". So I wrote, "My husband is a gift from God." I kind of gagged on that one. All I could picture was Phil with a big bow on his head and a cheesy smile on his face. Half of me wanted to laugh and the other half wanted to frantically look for a gift receipt.
Don’t get me wrong, I agree with the point they were making. But “gift” wasn’t doing it for me. I do find many verses in the Bible that support wives as being gifts (Gen. 2:18-22, Prov. 12:4, 18:22, 31:10), but husbands are not spoken of in the same way.
What I do find often is God assigning a portion to us (our lot) and being assured that it is for our good and his glory. For example, Paul in 1 Corinthians 7:17, after talking about the principles of marriage says this, “Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him.” If you are married, your husband is part of the life that God has assigned to you. This is a divine assignment and a calling from the Lord. It is not something that should be shrugged off or taken casually, we are not to leave our husbands (Matt. 19:6, 1 Cor. 7:10).
In addition, Psalm 16:5 states, “The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot.” Verse 2, same chapter reads, “I say to the LORD, “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.” In simple words, what we are given in life comes from God and everything that comes from God is good (for those who are his, see Rom. 8:28). With God we have good, without God we have misery. If God desires that we stay in our marriages (and he does), then that is where the “good” will be found for us. It is that simple.
Wives, God chose your exact husband just for you. He is precisely what you need to make you more like Christ. He is one of the primary instruments in your life used for your sanctification. This is a great blessing! No, it doesn’t always feel like one. The process of cutting away sin is never comfortable, but it is always worth it. God uses your husband to teach you how to love other sinners and how to give grace to those who hurt you. God uses him to teach you how to exercise patience and self-control.
Your husband and you were put together in order that God’s glory would be multiplied through your relationship. There is no greater honor than this. Here is where your hope and purpose is found. This is why peace, joy and kindness can be found between two sinners.
So are you ready for what I like to write in that blank? Here it is: “My husband is a divine assignment from God for my good and God’s glory alone.” Okay, so it’s a little long, but it provides some clarity. Is it just a fancy way of saying that my husband is a gift from God? Maybe, but I still like it better (and it keeps the gag reflex in check).
Ladies, I encourage you to live out your God-ordained destiny in your marriage.