Tuesday, July 12, 2011 at 2:27PM
Barb Roberts

You have a marriage story to tell.  Some of it is good, some of it not so much.  Some of it is Christ-honoring; some of it other-honoring, perhaps self serving, perhaps you both are caught up in the busyness of life or your own wants, preferences or needs.  You and I both know that Christian marriages are in trouble just as those in the world.  Don’t you imagine that Christian couples who are divorcing thought at one time, “It may be happening to them, but it will never happen to us?”  But it did – and is – and will.  How does this happen?  Why does this happen?  In the beginning, you may have been deluded into thinking that since you loved each other, and wanted to be Christ-centered, your marriage would more easily survive the fierce storms that have devastated other marriages.  Or … you may think since you are the exception; your situation is different; you have a ‘right’ to be happy; your issues are more difficult to deal with than others’ and God is ‘okay’ with your separating because of your unique circumstances. 

A marriage crisis can either tear a marriage apart or bring a couple closer together. The Chinese symbol for crisis means danger or opportunity.  When a crisis hits, big or small, you have the option of going down one path or another – choosing that path that leads further apart (the path that leads to danger); or taking that opportunity road that brings you closer together, regardless how bumpy and painful the working through part may be.

A marriage crisis forces two people to face themselves honestly and consider their own character flaws and selfishness – their own sin! There is nothing like living with someone year in and year out to show one's ‘true colors,’ to have one’s own sin exposed.

A preoccupation with looking for what is wrong in a spouse can obscure what is right.  Scripture gives us the antidote for that kind of critical thinking:  Philippians 4:8 … “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable…think about these things.”  I don’t know about you, but I tend more quickly to spot the impure or unlovely things!  There may be 5 things that are good, helpful, kind in my husband and 1 that ‘makes me crazy.’  Guess what?  Left to my own devices, I concentrate on the crazy-making one!  God wants me to ‘take those thoughts captive,’ to look first at the log in my own eye before I look for the little splinter in his.

Marriage is the closest bond that is possible between two human beings.  There is nothing like the experience of being humbled by another person, and by the same person day in and day out.  It can be exhausting unnerving, and infuriating.  There is no suffering like the suffering involved in being close to another person and being wounded by that person.  Sometimes in our woundedness we are deceived into thinking that we are the exception to God’s plan. 

A successful marriage is so much more than ‘toughing it out’ – enduring – keeping from the divorce court!  One couple changed their vows from “as long as you both shall live” to “as long as you both shall love.”  Their friends, present at the wedding, not only did NOT object – but praised them for getting away from the old fashioned wording.  That’s like saying I will love her as long as I want to, and if I ever don’t want to, I’ll move on.

For the Christian – what is WRONG with this picture?  God views marriage as a covenant relationship – a covenant with the One who thought of marriage in the first place.  The covenant relationship trumps personal preferences, feelings, and needs.  We have a choice – to be a covenant breaker or a covenant keeper!

Article originally appeared on Barb Roberts | Author, With Her Last Breath | Speaker, Author, Counselor (
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