Restoring + Redeeming Your Marriage

I love my husband. We've been married for over 15 years and together nearly 25 at the ripe old age of 36. He's literally sewn into my existence. We are like peas and cornbread- absolutely inseparable. Except back when we were separable- back when we were making our own rules, following our own feelings, and generally doing life (including marriage) our own way.

Way back when, we were stuck together but we both had some strong moments of being ready for that to not be the case. I'll never forget those days. Those long nights of fights and tears- when he finally decided enough was enough. Those are raw, unshakeable memories for two reasons. Obviously for the immense pain entrenched in them for both of us, but even more so for the unspeakable redemption and joy that came out of it all. 

God is capable of redeeming and restoring ANY marriage. He's there, offering his support and new mercies. It's up to us to CHOOSE his way.

We often have a habit of looking at someone else's marriage and saying they have something we don't have. They're lucky. They don't fight or their kids don't cause distress or they don't have financial issues or they haven't sinned against one another or their husband does this one thing or he DOESN'T do this one thing. But the fact of the matter is that almost every pristine looking marriage that I know of has been on some seriously shakey ground. Loving is HARD work. The difference-maker, in my book, is how profoundly God has shown out in restoring and redeeming those marriages DESPITE incredible hurt, betrayal, heartbreak, and what seemed like insurmountable circumstances. Some people say there are hurts and betrayals that you can't come back from- I say that's just not true. 

The restoration that came from all of our failings did not come from God miraculously placing some special abilities to forgive and heal upon my husband and myself (and all those other marriages). He did not zap us and heal us up. That restoration came from us CHOOSING that which God makes available to all of us.

We CHOSE to trust again.

We CHOSE to look into the future instead of the past.

We CHOSE forgiveness. 

We CHOSE to take responsibility for our own actions.

We CHOSE to turn OURSELF around first before we worried about fixing or blaming the other. 

We CHOSE Jesus.

WE CHOSE God's design for marriage. 

We didn't make those choices one day then things have been rosey since. No, we chose, and we kept choosing. We KEEP choosing daily

Satan is constantly looking to destroy our marriages. He's constantly looking to lead us into temptation, to turn our thoughts toward our own needs, to plant seeds of distrust, to bring up past hurts and past behaviors, to cast blame on the other, to make mountains out of molehills. And the thing he tries hardest to do is close our ears and hearts to listening to one another. He wants confusion and misunderstanding and accusations all up in our marriage. 

Throughout our journey toward Christ in marriage, the biggest struggle for us has been (and is still today) LISTENING. My sweet hubby and I could not be more different. He's a left-brainer through and through, while I'm a huge feeler. I have to talk to think. He has to think to talk. I am fast and loose with my words- and my carelessness often causes him pain. He's so reserved with his words that I often worry he doesn't care enough to speak.

Satan is always, always running interference in the midst of these differences. He makes my careless words carry more weight in my husband's heart than I ever intended. He discounts my words in my mind so that I feel confident in just blowing steam without counting the cost. He makes my husband feel self-conscious to express his feelings or concerns and leaves unspokenness to have incredible weight between us. 

For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints. 1 Cor 14:33

Satan is the author of confusion. He is the father of lies. He can't do anything but tell a lie because he is so far from knowing truth. And that's what he does in marriage. He plants seeds of doubt and confusion. He lies to us about each other, about God, and about what God's Word says about our marriages. He attacks the principled, Biblical roles of honesty, respect, sex, submission, love, and authority. (If this is all new to you, I HIGHLY recommend this book.)

He's insanely good at these attacks, but the GOOD NEWS is that he is just as insanely easy to defeat. What matters is that we actively develop ears to HEAR truth- and that we come into battle armed to the teeth to win (not against our spouse, but against our enemy). 

Then he said, "Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand." Mark 4:9

It's been over 10 years since we trudged through our hardest, longest marital battle that reset the ground for our future. And each day, we've walked into our marriage ready to continue in the war against our enemy. When things seem off or distant between us, a quick heart check helps us recognize we've stopped seeking God first.

The true secret to a marriage that cannot be destroyed by schemes of the enemy is the act of daily, intentionally, and fruitfully CHOOSING God. It is choosing his way- His Word- His design for marriage. It means being aware that we have an enemy who will stop at NOTHING to destroy families. And it means being armed with the sword of God's Word. 

So that's the meat of the matter- for all of us. I know the ups we've had, and I know the downs. I know we aren't done until we meet our sweet savior in person. So while we are here, with skin on, seeking to glorify God in our marriage and keep our families whole- CHOOSING God and choosing peace in our homes is won by God's Word and God's way alone. It's there- it's available. It's no secret. It doesn't cost a thing. We ALL have the same opportunity to have wholeness, goodness, and joy restored into our lives.

It won't be easy.

It's not just one step or one day.

It means you have to put on God's word daily. It means battle against the true enemy- which is NOT your husband. It means choosing to go with TRUTH no matter how much it hurts your feelings, your plans, or your pride. It means laying down selfishness and unforgiveness. It means asking God for help, for healing, and for new hearts. It means walking into battle fully loaded with God's word. 

Here's an action step for putting all of this into practical use: I've created scripture cards, customized to my husband's name. God's word was created for each of us. This little practical tool is a way to encourage him in the Word daily by having these on his desk or on his nightstand where he can read a special word from God, straight to him. I've created a list of scripture that I used for my husband that I'd love to share with you. You simply format them to business cards (you can buy some here) and print. OR print them out and send them to him in text messages, in sweet notes in his lunch, or whenever you think of it! Keep it easy.

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