I know that you are hurting in your marriage. And I realize that it might seem easier to just walk away.
But you haven’t.
I commend you for that because God doesn’t walk away from His covenant partner, either.
Although there has been pain in your marriage, you can have immense hope in the unfailing goodness of God. As you seek to honor God in your marriage, you can be confident that God will enable you to do that. The Scriptures give this encouragement to you:
Do not be discouraged, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God fights for you.¹
God’s heart is for you. He is for healing. God has obligated Himself to act on behalf of those who are in covenant with Him.
Author and pastor Dave Harvey says,
God is completely, totally, enthusiastically supportive of your every effort to build a strong, God-glorifying marriage.
You can succeed.
You are able to succeed powerfully as a husband. God has created your spirit for strength and for greatness. Regardless of your wife’s actions, you can excel as a husband through your commitment and devotion to her.
This success as a husband is rooted in your commitment to God. It is not based on your wife’s reaction or behavior.
Marriage is not something you wrestle out with your wife. Instead, marriage is something you wrestle out with God, just as Jacob did at the Jabbok River. Wrestle until you are able to submit to the blessing.
You succeed as a husband as you remember your pledge before God in the presence of witnesses to love this woman and to be faithful to her “till death do you part.” Remember that you made a sacred vow; and by the enabling of the Spirit of God Himself, stand with strength to fulfill that pledge.
You commit to fulfill your solemn oath with honor and with integrity, regardless of the cost, because mighty men of God choose to act as God Himself acts. As bearers of His image, godly men uphold covenant promises as God does: with steadfast faithfulness, unintimidated by the threat of loss and undeterred by the pain of sacrifice.
You succeed as a man of strength and greatness when you say to your wife:
I am completely committed to you.
I devote myself to you and to you alone. There are no “back-up” plans.
Even if you reject me, I will continue to be committed to your good as long as there is breath in me. To whatever extent that you will permit me, and as is appropriate, I will strive to bless you and to serve you.
I will lay down my life in order to minister to you. I will lay down my self-interests and self-focus.
None of this is contingent upon anything you do. This is my unconditional pledge to you, offered in obedience to God.
Even if you should want me out of your life, I will continue to commit to you alone and will serve you by my fervent prayers.
You are able to do this as you recognize that the great need of your life is for God Himself. Know that He has promised personally to be your great Reward. Like the apostle Paul, resolve to make knowing Christ the determined purpose of your life.²
You can be satisfied.
God desires to satisfy every longing of your heart, and He is able to satisfy you fully. He does not satisfy those who are looking elsewhere for satisfaction, but He does satisfy abundantly those who are passionate and hungry and desperate for Him. For those who commit themselves to belonging to Him exclusively, He satisfies supremely.
With Christ as your sustainer and as the satisfier of your life, you are able to stand with strength as a man and with success as a husband.
In the beginning, the earth was formless, empty, and dark. By the work of the Spirit, God created new life—things of beauty and things of excellence. Your marriage may seem shattered, empty, and dark right now. As you yield to the Spirit of God, invite Him to hover over your life and marriage, creating and restoring all that is “very good.”
Even if your wife should reject this miracle of renewal in your relationship, it can be a wonderful reality in your own spirit and life.
In general, when a husband creates a solid foundation of relational security for his wife, she will meet him there and will work with him to build the relationship upon that foundation of commitment. It is that commitment to one another’s good and to the relationship itself that gives strength to a marriage.
Many past hurts and frustrations are resolved
not by rehearsing the hurts or by reviewing the resentments
but by renewing a firm commitment to the relationship.
“Love covers over a multitude of sins,” and it is a man’s “glory to overlook an offense.”³ Resolve that nothing will thwart your commitment to your relationship with your bride.
You can gain honor.
Your wife may reject your offer of relationship and may limit your expressions of service to her, but absolutely no one can deter your commitment to her. It is that commitment which glorifies you and which God honors. As the husband, you bear on your shoulders accountability for the relationship. The wife is responsible for her own choices, but you are uniquely accountable for the relationship. When you provide a solid foundation of commitment, you are encouraging and enabling your wife to commit on her part and to join in successful marriage-building. But if the man’s offer of commitment is conditional, then the woman perceives this as thin ice rather than as firm footing which she can trust.
The husband has the God-given ability to meet the woman’s core need for relational security. The wife looks to the man to provide this first. It is his glory to do so, and it is his greatest success to continue to do so.
¹ Deuteronomy 31:6, 8; Isaiah 41:10; Joshua 1:9, 23:10
² Genesis 15:1: Philippians 3:8
³ 1 Peter 4:8; Proverbs 19:11