My husband and I are facing a new era in our marriage. We are headed for an empty nest. Our son is moving out in a few short weeks, and my daughter is soon to follow. The Lord has been laying on my heart the importance of rebuilding the areas of my marriage that I have allowed to wax cold because of the responsibilities of children, and basic day to day life. This is not something that has been foremost on my mind, but the Lord is showing me the importance of it. Too many marriages fall apart after the children leave home because we no longer have the excuses we use to hide behind our children.
This past weekend I went to the retreat, knowing that the Lord was going to meet me there and I was so excited to see Him and to spend some time with Him. What I got was a whole bunch of much needed discipline in regards to my marriage. I thought we were okay, things were going well, we never fight- we might disagree, but we don’t fight. I have learned the hard word of submission, or so I thought. (The more I think the more trouble I get into!)
The Lord used one of the Pastor’s Wives at the retreat to show me the areas of my marriage that the Lord wanted to restore, that He wants to rebuild, and I am eager to get started. I have come back as a changed woman in regards to my marriage! I pray that whoever is reading this blog today will be as blessed as I am by the words He gave me then, and today as well.
As I looked up the words marriage, wives and wife in the Bible, a few scriptures stuck out at me. The first one was Luke 17:32. “Remember Lot’s wife.” Do you remember Lot’s wife? She turned around and looked at what was and the Lord turned her into a pillar of salt. The Lord showed me how we as wives sometimes look back on all the things our husbands have done, said or not done and we hold onto them. She turned back and looked upon the old habits and attitudes of what once was. This caused her to die. So many times I focus in on what my husband used to say, how he used to react or what his attitudes used to be, instead of focusing in on what they are now. It’s like all we see is the negative in our husbands, and we forget that the past is the past and we are to turn around and look to Jesus who is remaking our husbands, just as we are being remade. Who my husband was yesterday is not who he is today. Every day the Lord gives us with our husbands is a new day, and the past is gone. Letting go of the past is the first step in rebuilding the rubble in our marriages.
Then the Lord had me go to 1 Peter 3:1-12. I know these scriptures pretty well, because I prayed them over my husband the first five years after I became a Christian. Every day I would pray that my words, actions, deeds, all that I was in Christ would be made evident to him and that he would come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. (vs. 1-7) Praise be to God he did. But, the Lord wants us to keep reading.
“Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing. For ‘He who would love life and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking deceit. Let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it, for the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers; but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” 1 Peter 3:8-12
As I read these scriptures the Lord spoke to my heart and said, “Apply this to your marriage.” If we would begin to be of one mind with our husbands, we would begin to see the Lord’s blessings and power in the lives of our husbands. We would stop focusing on the past and begin to see the goodness of God dwelling in them. If we would begin to have compassion for one another, forgiving one another’s faults, then the love that we have for each other would begin to grow and blossom so much more. A very wise sister in the Lord told me, that marriage is a commitment of two forgivers. Forgive the past, and have mercy upon your husband. Besides, you are not all that either! Sometimes it seems like we treat our brothers and sisters in the Lord with more compassion and mercy than we do our own husbands. Even in our thought life, we can disrespect our husbands.
My thoughts lead my actions. If I allow my thoughts to start complaining about his dirty socks all over the floor again, the irritation that I have in my mind becomes a part of my heart. I begin to focus in on all the other wrongs he does. This leads me to start looking back upon the past, which the Lord tells us will kill us if we continue. Even our thoughts should be focused on the good of our husbands and not the faults. Imagine if the Lord dwelt on your faults throughout the day- what kind of relationship do you think you and He would have? The same goes for our marriages.
Not only are we to be forgiving and compassionate toward one another, but we are to loving, polite and not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling. He may say something that raises the hackles on your neck and your first instinct is to retaliate. This will always lead to a fight or as one of my pastor’s used to say, “Loud Fellowship”! Instead of retaliating, let us go and do what Peter tells us to do- bless. This blessing can be in the form of a prayer or a simple, “I love you, and I forgive you.” Because, according to Peter, we were called to this. (vs. 9) Sometimes, we have to walk away and go and pray to the Lord. But instead of praying for the Lord to show our husbands the errors of their ways, let’s begin to pray for forgiveness.
I want to encourage you all today to take the scriptures from 1 Peter 3:8-12 and begin to apply them to your marriage. Your ministry is your home, you marriage first, then to the children. When your children are gone, your husband will still be living in the same house, sleeping beside you and you will still be picking up his dirty socks. So many times we get caught up in the day to day business of life that we forget to appreciate and love the one who will be by our side until the Lord takes us home. We show disrespect to our husbands not only in what we say, but in our thoughts as well. Paul tells us in Philippians 4:8 that we are to think on things that are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, as well as virtue and that which is praiseworthy. Imagine what your marriage would look like if we applied these simple truths to our thoughts about our husbands.
Take the words of 1 Peter 3:8-12 and the words of Philippians 4:8 and begin to apply them to your marriage, to the one the Lord has created you for. Let us not be like Lot’s wife and look back at the things that were, but let us take today and start anew. Just as we have been given new mercy again today because of the Lord’s faithfulness toward us, let us take that same mercy and apply it the man of our lives. I pray the Lord would bless your marriage and that you and I would begin to love our husbands and our marriages would become the picture of Christ and His church to all those among us. In Jesus Name, Amen and Amen.