When I was a little girl, I was fascinated by a couple who would occasionally drop by my parent’s home for a visit. Although elderly, the wife was still an elegant beauty. I’d pull up a chair in the kitchen beside my mom and we’d eagerly listen to her stories of travel and adventure. She was well-respected in the world of education and seemed to have a firm grasp on any topic at hand. Her clothing style was fashionable, classic, and refined; her vibrant personality captivating.
While we hung on her every word, the men visited with her husband in the next room. He was equally impressive. He was a “man’s man,” having flown several missions in World War II. His old war stories held everyone’s interest. He talked and laughed easily and was quite likeable.
They were an enjoyable and admirable couple–as long as they were in separate rooms. As soon as they came in contact with each other, a strange transformation occurred. Her generous smiles and gracious tone turned to ice. His ease of conversation left him and he fell mute, eyes downcast. The thick tension between them was obvious.
Each of them, highly respected by their peers, seemed to view the other with contempt or disgust. She would verbally skewer him in front of us, criticizing his driving, his choice of hotels, or his lack of taste. He would seemingly never hear a word she said, often silently retreating from the room in the middle of her lambaste.
I didn’t see them often but when I did, the bitterness and resentment between them never wavered. It puzzled me that two very likable people seemed to dislike one another so much. I was amazed when they remained married (totally miserable with one another, but married) into their final years.
Remembering this sad couple and seeing many similar marriages, causes me to wonder . . . How many couples are truly enjoying each other? How many marriages consist of couples existing as housemates or enemies? How many wives are filled with bitter resentment while their husbands are indifferent to their needs?
If you’re in one of those marriages today, I want you to know there is reason for hope! I remember a time when I’d given into despair, believing things would always stay the same; that we’d always be miserable. (If you haven’t heard our story, please listen to this series or check out this video. You might pray about inviting your husband to listen or watch as well.)
Although your issues may be different than mine, your challenges greater, or your loneliness deeper, I want you to know that there is One who hears your cries, knows your pain, and desires to step into the brokenness of your life and bring beauty from ashes, life from death, and turn your mourning into joy (Isa. 61:1–3).