For The One Who Needs Hope in a Breaking Marriage

It wasn’t a pretty sight. A breaking marriage never is. Both of us sinking in despair, our commitment hanging in the balance, and our words threatening to slice the last thread tethering our once captivated hearts. Our vows spoken long ago with such certainty now convicted the stubborn, jagged corners of our spirits. “For better or for worse;” if there ever was a worse, this was it, and if we were ever at our worst, it was now.

Darkness surrounded our marriage that day, hovering over the horizon of continual conflict, unbridled snapping and relentless blaming.

Hearts hardened and closed always summon darkness.

Somehow “for the sake of our children” didn’t make sense anymore. We were too different, too hurt, too convinced we both deserved better.

How could we end up here after trying so hard? And was marriage really supposed to be this difficult? What happened to the promise of “to have and to hold”?

I continually poured my heart out to God in my despair, tears flowing, begging him to fix this mess we had gotten ourselves into. And too many times, my desperate heart took matters into my own hands because God wasn’t working fast enough.

Hearts desperate can fall prey to lies.

Somewhere along the way, I mistakenly embraced a lie…that I had to be in control. I had to protect myself from hurt, and it was my job to make sure my marriage didn’t fail.

Somewhere along the way, I lost sight of God as Pursuer and Protector and Lover of my soul.  And it wasn’t until the lies left me crumbled in a hopeless heap that I realized I was willing to trust God with my eternity, but not with my life, or my marriage.

The truth is God doesn’t expect us to fight our own battles. He never calls us to self-preservation. His heart simply yearns for us to trust, and his compassion beckons us to cease striving.

“The Lord will fight for you; you need only be still.” Ex. 14:14 NIV

Hearts searching need more than earthly wisdom.

The darkness in our marriage hadn’t taken root for lack of trying. Marriage books lined our shelves, each one read and re-read. Still, peace and harmony have been elusive strangers more often than not. When all else failed, we did what so many do – resigned ourselves to yielding for the sake of false peace. And with each yielding, bitterness strangled our hearts.

God wasn’t calling us to yield to each other. He was calling us to yield to Him.

Yielding meant admitting we didn’t have the answers. It meant releasing the sum of knowledge gathered among pages to the only One who could be trusted with changing the condition of the heart. Ultimately, it meant allowing God to break us for the sake of saving us.

For me, it meant and still means that it’s OKAY to admit that marriage is a struggle; that my marriage isn’t perfect…it was never meant to be. Oh, how I need to repeat those words to a heart that longs for the perfect fairytale.

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