At this writing it we have been under stay-at-home recommendations for over 642 weeks. The women I know are wondering such things as; when is school going to start again? When can I go shopping? And why isn’t my husband considered an essential worker?
I want to go shopping and I hate shopping. My husband has been retired for over five years now and I’m wishing he would go to work and get out of my hair. In the past week I have heard from more women about how hard it is being stuck at home with their spouse than I normally hear from in a month. “We are fighting over stupid stuff.” “I can’t seem to get anything done without him telling me a better way to do it.” “He needs to turn down the volume of that stupid game.” “The dishwasher was open and he still put his plate in the sink.” And on it goes.
So, this would be a good time to ask, “God how can I help my husband?” instead of “God, will you still love me if I kill my husband?”
But marriage is hard, even when we aren’t on lock-down. Marriage today is thought of as disposable, even in the church. We, women, have been taught to be independent, free thinking, liberated wives. We think, thanks to this belief, that we deserve happiness and if our spouse is not providing that we should stand up for ourselves and demand it. This is not what God desires for us in our lives and especially not in our marriage. So, let’s take a close look at what God says to us as wives.
There is only one marriage ceremony in Scripture. It is found in Genesis 2:21-24. So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep, and while he slept, He took one of the man’s ribs and closed up the area with flesh. And from the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man, He made a woman and brought her to him. And the man said: “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for out of man she was taken.” For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.’
Depending on how well you know me, you know that my fanciful imagination can really get going with stories like this. But I do picture this as a solemn occasion between the LORD, man and woman. I picture the three of them standing in the Garden together. God brings woman to man and says, “This is your companion. She is a not just a part of you, but she is you. You are to cherish her and love her. You are to protect her, you are to keep her from all harm.”
I then picture God turning to the woman and saying, “This is your husband, you are part of him. Without him you do not exist. He is not your God, I AM, but he is to be respected. Listen to him because he is your protection. Care for him, honor him, enjoy being in his presence.”
My own marriage was 45 years ago. I don’t remember much of the ceremony my mind was on the good-looking guy in the tux standing up front waiting for me. But I do remember a few of the phrases the pastor said, “We are gathered together tonight before God. What God has joined together, let no man tear apart. And by the authority given to me by God, and the state of California….”
I’ll tell you that since then my life has been all hearts and roses. The hearts have been broken, and the roses have had thorns. And just like the first marriage, what began as a wonderful union in a garden of paradise, life soon fell apart.
I thought of divorce, I thought of widowhood. And there were days I wanted to just walk away. But one day, after 30 years of just going through the motions God showed me something that still brings tears to my eyes. God showed me that my marriage problems were not all my husband’s fault, but they were because I had removed God from my marriage. I had taken on an attitude that Hubby’s job was to keep me happy, and he was not doing this. I was also no longer keeping my promise to God to respect, listen, honor, and care for him.
I was wanting everything but was giving nothing. That day God spoke to me. He told me that my marriage, as it was going, would never be satisfying. And as long as I continued to look at hubby for my happiness, I would never find it. That day God asked me to define what I was seeking. He then showed me the secret to a joy-filled marriage. Matthew 6:33 “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” I needed to move my eyes off my wants and off my husband’s lack of fulfilling those wants and look to God’s kingdom.
Don’t get me wrong, this is not easy. I stumble daily. But daily I also return my eyes to God’s will. Seeking God for my life, and seeking peace between my husband and I is a daily walk with God through whatever deep valley full of shadows I find myself.
Cathryn Judkins is the Director of Depression Awareness for Sacred Selah Ministries, a Depression and Marriage Coach and the creator of The Reluctant Warrior. You can follow her on Facebook here.