Yesterday on Revive Our Hearts, Nancy (who’s been teaching through the True Woman Manifesto) talked about “what an opportunity and obligation we have to display to the world the covenant-keeping love of God through protecting and preserving the sacredness of the marriage covenant.” Wow. This isn’t easy, especially in today’s world.
I mean, think about it. A lack of commitment is normal in our society . . . in everything! It's like it’s even expected. Think of how often you hear “no commitment necessary.” Whether it’s a gym membership or an email subscription service, I know that I usually want to know what the terms are for getting out of what I have just signed up for!
Sadly, this is also very true of Christian marriages. Even if you desire to remain committed to your marriage, the reality is that our culture seems to urge you to embrace “your freedom,” encouraging you to abandon your husband—or perhaps even leading your husband to abandon you. What does commitment to marriage look like, then, when you are so devastated and broken? Is it even possible to stay committed when your spouse does not have the same resolve?
We need stories of hope. So, here’s a picture for you of what loving commitment can look like even when a marriage appears hopeless. Here’s what one woman wrote to us here at Revive Our Hearts:
“Nearly two years ago, my husband told me that he had been involved in an adulterous affair with a younger woman . . . that moment began a journey I never expected to take in my lifetime. I have chosen not to divorce my husband, even though he refused to stop the affair for over a year after his initial confession.”
At first glance, this woman’s commitment to her husband might seem crazy, or even delusional. I have to admit that I was even a little taken back as I read her story. Perhaps you’re devastated because your husband has made the decision to leave you, or says that he doesn’t love you anymore. If this is the situation you’re facing, let me assure you that the pain you are experiencing is real and raw, and possibly as deep as one can humanly know. My heart grieves for you—this is not the way it should be. To be sinned against and abandoned is certainly not God’s design for your marriage.
When the pain stings so badly, there’s hope in knowing that God is our compassionate Redeemer. He is able to work in ways and circumstances that literally seem impossible. Read with me one final statement from our friend:
“My journey is not over. My husband and I are in the process of being restored in our marriage. I am truly grateful for what God has allowed for us. I believe He wants to use us together for His glory again someday. Until then, I can only stay bowed to what God allows and continue to rest in His love.”
Remaining committed to marriage can be more difficult than you ever thought possible—especially if you are being forsaken. My prayer for you is that our loving Father will pour his grace over your life in the very midst of this dark valley. His grace is sufficient.
Where are you on this journey? Are you in a circumstance that makes faithfulness difficult? How will you resolve to commit in a culture that gives you freedom to abandon?
Disclaimer: Space does not allow us to address the full range of issues facing difficult marriages. If you are suffering abuse in your marriage, please seek pastoral counsel in regard to your specific situation.