I’m writing this because this weekend is my 17th anniversary. Yup, 17 years. That seems like a long time, until I consider those 50 year anniversaries out there… hopefully I can write about my 50th one day. I can’t begin to write our story in a short devotional but I can be a bit transparent and throw out some encouragement to others out there. Last year on FaceBook I stated something like this: “It’s my 16th anniversary and I want to say thanks to my wife for 14 wonderful years!” It was comical, as I had people trying to correct my math. But what I said was true. Our 2nd and 3rd year of marriage was an absolute train wreck. We were not happy, and I think it’s fair to say that we both would have desired a divorce if either of us thought that was an option. We did not see that as an option because we believe the Bible and we know what it says about divorce (MALACHI 2:16 “I hate divorce, says the LORD God of Israel.”), (MARK 10:2-12 And Pharisees came up and in order to test him asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” He answered them, “What did Moses command you?” They said, “Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of divorce and to send her away.” And Jesus said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment. But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” And in the house the disciples asked him again about this matter. And he said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her, and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”) Also see GENESIS 2, MATTHEW 19, LUKE 16, EPHESIANS 5 and on and on it goes. Now, this is not a discussion on divorce and when it is or is not “ok” to divorce. The point is that in our case there was no reason on either side for divorce. We were both just selfish and stubborn people unwilling to trust God’s promises and continuing to be led by our emotions. A choice that will doom any marriage. A very long story short…we each turned individually to Christ, realizing that if we were going to choose to honor and serve Christ that meant we had to honor and serve each other because Christ lives in our hearts. I have to serve the Christ that lives in her, and she in turn, has to serve the Christ that lives in me, whether we “feel” like serving each other or not. In doing this, we both began to move towards Christ, which eventually led us back together. (GENESIS 2:22 And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man.
Then the man said,
“This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called Woman,
because she was taken out of Man.”
Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.)
Together we are one. That’s not true with someone you’re just living with, or dating, etc. If you’re not willing to commit, then you’re not willing to serve anyone but yourself, period. Just like a real commitment to Christ means you must die to yourself (1 CORINTHIANS 15:31, ROMANS 6:11-14), a true commitment to your marriage means you must die to your selfishness. This thing isn’t about how you feel. Although God cares about your feelings, your feelings do not matter. Get it? What I mean is that the way you feel will never change The Truth. Therefore your feelings do not matter. However God does care about how you feel and He loves you. But He does not condone making decisions based on how happy you think something will make you or how unhappy you are in your marriage. He bases things on something SOLID. THE TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE (JOHN 8:32). It will set you free from your own selfish desires. It will set you free from having to have things your own way (cause life ain’t a Burger King slogan). It will set you free from believing stupid things like these book titles, “Your Best Life Now”, because that’s only true if you don’t know Jesus. Your best life is not and never will be here and now. Your best life is what we believers are all looking forward to and why we make the decisions we make while we’re living this life here. Your best life will be the next one but if you want to make this time here as “life-filled” as possible, then base your decisions in all areas of your life on THE TRUTH that will set you free and not your feelings which will certainly deceive you and leave you bitter and unfulfilled. I hope and pray you make your decisions based on God’s truth and that the feelings and emotions that you desire will follow. My wife and I are truly happily married, until one of us does something stupid! Then we’re still married and we have to humble ourselves against the advice of our emotions to regain that happiness. But praise be to Jesus Christ and God our Father that He has truly blessed our efforts to be faithful to His Truth. We truly love Him and each other.
I pray for your marriages out there and encourage you to press on towards honoring God in your decisions. May He bless you, as you obey Him.
by Jackson Bailey