Neither my husband or I were true followers of Christ when we walked down the isle and said “I do.” We had no idea just what the future would hold, and the troubles we would one day face. We also had no idea just how burdened we would become, as our entire marriage began crumbling apart. To be honest, instead of our marriage becoming a living sacrifice of love for one another, it became a living nightmare of misery, joylessness, and drudgery. We were just two people with a yearning to fulfill our own selfish desires, at any cost.
We lived for over a decade in complete disharmony, without Christ leading either one of us. It was only by the sheer grace of God that our marriage did not end in divorce, while striving in our own wearisome and fruitless efforts. Obviously, God had a greater plan that we didn’t even see coming our way. The way it all began was that my husband was awakened by his faith nine years before I was. Praise God that as the leader, he wasn’t overcome with a hopelessness that I would not one day be redeemed as well. Meanwhile, he was left with the burden of me as his unruly wife, who was even more lost and destructive as the years went on.
Marriage is hard work, but some do not want to faithfully do what it takes to overcome the trials and tribulations. They utter their vows, cross their fingers, and hope for the best, but God can only work in marriages with those who are willing to be faithful and obedient to Him. This is by doing our OWN part in the marriage “until death do us part.” Ideally, when both are true followers of Christ, it makes a world of difference in it being a mutual effort of love in order to build up, strengthen, and improve the marriage. However, when we say “I do” it means doing our own part by remaining true to our vows to love our spouse for as long as they shall live. The promise of our vows to our covenant marriage is for us to remain true and faithful to them, regardless of how our spouse acts, or regardless of having their own faith in the Lord.
With a selfless act of love we can influence an ungodly spouse, and lead them back to the Lord, just as my husband had done for me. This was not an easily traveled road, but my husband’s character was true to his word, and he was going to love me for better or for worse. It took steadfast faith and patience to lead me off the paths of destruction, and into a righteous life with God. Alas, we finally attained the ultimate goal of holiness in our marriage. It was in his selfless act of love that it finally convinced me of a genuine love that spoke of who God really was. My husband never spoke ill of me, never judged me harshly, or condemned me for my actions.
Over the years, he took the right opportunities to speak to me of God’s character, and taught me the way of the righteous. The seeds he sowed began to influence my faith, and the way that I felt about myself in relationship to the Lord. This wonderful man of mine continually showered his love over me to slip through the tiny cracks where my heart had begun to softened. Slowly but surely, I allowed my husband to seep into the most vulnerable places of my broken heart to trust in his love for me again. I realized that he too had changed over the years with a profound love that exuded from Christ.
It took many years of his faithful efforts to finally break through all the bitterness in my heart. During this time, my husband certainly had weak moments where Satan tempted him with thoughts of walking away from the marriage, but his faithful prayers always calmed the whispering winds of doubt. It was in those prayerful moments that only one important word was uttered to him … and that was to have “patience.” As he took heed to this instruction his spirit filled with perseverance, while awaiting my love for him. Through the valleys, he held strong to the integrity of a covenant marriage, and it glorifying the Lord. This holds proof that it is only God who sustains us, even in the most trying times of marriage, and the only way love endures.