I have a great marriage, but I do not have a perfect marriage. In an older post, I discussed the struggles I have faced in marriage, and those ideas at the time seemed to resonate with many of you. As the day approached for releasing the Ephesians Bible study, stress came on strong in my marriage. Note to self — don’t write on Paul’s instructions from Ephesians to husbands and wives or on standing firm under Satan’s attacks unless you are prepared for Satanic attack in your marriage. It’s funny how firm my conviction can be when I write something on paper and yet how easily I still can stumble when tested on it in person. I was frustrated, to say it lightly. Why oh why do I still struggle with such things?! Why isn’t marriage easier? I cried out to God in frustration. It just didn’t seem right for me to struggle so with this right in the midst of my attempts to publish something I was hoping would be helpful to women on this very issue.
For my birthday, a dear friend gave me
Sacred Influence: How God Uses Wives to Shape the Souls of Their Husbands by Gary Thomas. When I got home and opened it, I felt like God had placed it in my hands Himself. I’ve had a few other moments like that — where God spoke to me so plainly on a very specific need that I could not mistake His voice. Usually He does it straight from Scripture. This is the first time He has done it with a book. But to be fair, this book is filled with Scripture. I felt that God had sent Gary Thomas to counsel me much as He had sent Nathan to David or Cornelius to Peter. Don’t get me wrong — I’m not assigning divine inspiration to this book by any means. I’m just saying that God used this man’s wisdom and compilation of Scripture to speak to me in a very specific way.
As I often do, I am writing this article before I’ve actually finished this book. I am slowly digesting the ideas, and if I wait to share it until I’m fully done, it may be a very long while. I may write a follow up article when I’m completely done. In the mean time, I feel like this older, wise man years ahead of me in both marriage and the Christian faith has put his arm around me in a counseling situation and offered me very good, sound Biblical advice. Like For Women Only by Shaunti Feldhan, I am reminded that men think differently than women and that the things we face in marriage are not unique to us — they are normal issues that the vast majority of Christian marriages face. One of Satan’s lies is that your husband or your marriage is particularly bad or problematic. That lie works because it builds resentment (Why me?!) and discouragement (What’s the point in trying? No one knows what I’m going through?). But the truth is that there is nothing new under the sun. While your marriage may be hard, it is not unique. And God’s sufficient Word meets you and I in that hard place. God isn’t suprised by the struggles we face, and He has addressed it.
If you read this book, it may not mean as much to you as it has to me. But for me, it has been God’s instrument for speaking truth to me, refuting Satan’s lies, and bringing me back to a healthy perspective on marriage’s daily struggles. I hope it is encouraging to you to be faithful and hopeful as well.