When the most intimate and vital of all human relationships experiences disfunction, the pain can be unbearable. The good news is that marriage is important to God, the Shepherd of the sheep, and He can heal the most terminally afflicted union.
For the first time in my life, I was privileged to attend the weddings of two beautiful brides in one weekend. One was on Friday night and the other on Sunday. The beauty of their vows and the warmth of their ceremonies made me feel at peace with the world as I was surrounded by happy sheep.
But soon upon my return I faced the strain in my own marriage issues and I have spoken to several women who are suffering in their marriage relationship.
I have subsequently concluded that hero worship could be the Judas goat to marriage. You see, the Judas goat is one who leads the sheep blindly in a particular direction (which is often destructive).
Think about it. What bride would not marry her perceived hero? In the eyes of those brides witnessed this weekend, I could see a glimmer of it. I know that I twinkled with it as well over 30 years ago.
So what is the problem with marrying your hero you may ask. The problem is that no human man could ever bear the burden of rescuing his bride’s soul. How could he? He too is just a stupid sheep.
I have watched as disgruntled brides disappointed by their husband, have shifted focus to worship their children. This, too, is deadly in a marriage.
Jealousy can also replace the hero worship when a resented spouse continues to treat the other with kindness, or is preferred by the children. Overheated, disappointed wives can begin to feel inferior and despise the husband for holding it together or helping with the kids.
Unfortunately, disappointments in marriage can produce a deep and abiding cynicism. This is destructive and very painful to observe. Cynicism prevents us from appreciating any good thing when it comes to us. It is always rooted in pride and hopelessness.
An example from the life of David that has been quite influential in my own marriage comes from his relationship with Saul’s son, Jonathan. David killed Goliath and was indeed a hero, but Jonathan looked beyond this boy to see the God in which he trusted. “It is the Lord who won the battle for Israel,” Jonathan said of David when speaking to his father, King Saul.
Jonathan took off the kingly robe that he rightly deserved and laid it down for David. “The Lord is with you,” Jonathan must have said to himself. “You are the champion for our Ultimate Champion- the Lord God himself.”
This humility and willingness to relinquish rights is vital in a marriage. Almost daily I find myself indignant and feeling unappreciated. I can demand my due as an individual and require the family to step in line according to my plan or I can take off my motherly robe and lay it down for the good of the family that I serve. True humility can only come from being loved by the ultimate Champion, Jesus himself.
Another important point that I reflected upon this weekend was the importance of weakness in becoming what God wants us to be. In King David’s life it was the very fact that he was weak and small and undervalued that drew attention to the awesome power of the Lord that fought for him. He knew and always remembered that he needed the strength of the Lord.
King Saul was large and handsome. Prestige and power were his, resulting in having no need for God. Yet self-trust alone made him paralyzed and incapable of serving.
In my marriage, I have discovered nothing so sexy as seeing my husband becoming weak for me. Similarly, I am loving him best, not when I am capably managing everything in record time, but when I lay down my accomplishments and care for him quietly and with tenderness.
So how can we be a champion in our marriage? The only way is by remembering the true champion who won freedom for us. Who of us wives does not want to be faithful, good, wise, self-controlled, and perseverant? But 2 Peter:1 says that “if we do not possess these qualities in increasing measure, we are near-sighted and blind, and have forgotten that we have been cleansed from our past sins.”
Let’s face it. Sheep forget! I am so quick to forget! I have a Champion and He loves me more than my husband ever could. In my weakness, God’s strength enables me to love my husband when it is the hardest.
So you’re not feeling like much of a champion today? Take heart. It is at our weakest point that the courageous life-transforming power of the true Champion pours into us.
Is your temper out-of-control? Perhaps it’s your eating or imagination.
Do you feel alone and unloved in your marriage? Maybe you wonder if the love is gone for good.
Financial worries or debilitating illness may plague you these days. Whatever the horror, no matter how menacing and hopeless the situation may appear, the Lord FIGHTS FOR YOU! He will win!
Surrender to Him and follow the good Shepherd. He is the champion of our marriages.
That’s good news for stupid sheep like me!