Do you remember what your marriage was like in the beginning? For most of us, the first year or so after saying I Do is filled with happiness, romance, sex, laughter, and everything else we dream of in life. Our marriage is strong, healthy, and vibrant.
Then something terrible happens.
You wake up one day and realize you're in debt up to your eyeballs, you've neglected to save enough money for a rainy day, and your man's employer just laid off thousands of good, honest, hard working people. Your husband included.
Your response, whether you claim to believe in God or not, is probably something like this…
"No God! Why us? We're good people! Why are you punishing us? What are we going to do now?"
And then you fall into a ball of tears. Anger is knocking at your heart.
As the weeks progress with no job opportunities in sight for your husband, he begins to get depressed. His self-esteem starts to drop dramatically. He feels like such a failure for not being able to take care of his family. So he withdraws. His behavior changes. He becomes unusually quiet and appears to not care about anything, not even looking for work.
Confused by this sudden change in your relationship and now lacking the patience to communicate with him as his lover or confidant, you withdraw and become depressed as well. The anger that was knocking at your heart earlier, you let inside. Once inside your heart, it begins to fester and grow. It becomes more and more ugly every day that passes.
Before you know it, there's an enormous wall of strife separating you and your husband. The passionate love, the respect for one another, the best friend you once had in your lover, it's all buried in resentment.
From this point on, nothing your husband does is good enough. Nothing he suggests is smart or worthy of consideration. He's lazy. No good. A total loser. His lack of employment is embarrassing to you. He deserves to be treated like a child, because he's acting like one.
And so your husband responds by becoming even more depressed. He feels even more like a failure. He's no longer sure if he wants to be married because clearly your actions don't indicate love, friendship, understanding, or support. He already has one mother. He really doesn't need a second one. Instead, he needs an escape of some sort. So he starts drinking or finds some other unhealthy, unproductive vice to get him through the day.
Your attitude and his attitude have fed off of one another and now you have a marriage that is nearly falling apart.
Life is falling apart.
Dear friend, do you understand that this season of unemployment will not last forever?
Today, it may feel like it's gone on too long and you may feel no hope for the future. But I promise you, this too shall pass…
God has a plan and a purpose in all of this. I know it doesn't feel like it. But He does. And it's much greater than any plan you or your husband could dream up on your own. You simply need to trust God and His timing.
I have a question for you. And I'd really like you to be honest with yourself when you answer.
When this financial crisis in your life is over, what do you want your marriage to be like? Do you think it will magically return to a blissful state just because you have money flowing in again?
Remember, our words and our actions are powerful. Putting gloom out there whenever you speak or do something is so unproductive and unhealthy.
Consider this painful truth. If you aren't effectively communicating with and loving your husband through this, which really is a minor inconvenience compared to some of the life storms other people are challenged with, then how on earth will your marriage survive the next and potentially more devastating trial?
You can change your attitude.
You can say No to the anger and the resentment and Yes to love, grace, and patience.
It's a choice.
And it's not easy. You won't always be good at having a loving attitude.
When you feel weak, turn to God in prayer. Ask Him to cover you with His peace. Pray for God to reveal what He wants you to do or how He wants you to grow during this difficult time. Listen. Respond in obedience. Trust Him.
Sometime in the next few hours try one or all of these ideas:
- When he least expects it, approach your husband and kiss him passionately.
- Think of two of your husband's strengths (one as a man, the other as a husband) and tell him how much and why you love those particular things about him.
- Apologize. You know what you should say you're sorry for. Do it and be sincere.
- Pray for your husband, for your marriage, and for your own brokenness. You can't change the path you're on without the hand of God working with you and for you.
When you treat your husband with sincere love, he will respond positively. Over time, you will see a transformation take place. Keep at it. Your husband is a gift from God. Don't throw that precious gift away. Instead, fight to keep it.
I opened for my lover, but my lover had left; he was gone. My heart sank at his departure. I looked for him but did not find him. I called him but he did not answer. The watchmen found me as they made their rounds in the city. They beat me, they bruised me; they took away my cloak, those watchmen of the walls! O daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you - if you find my lover, what will you tell him? Tell him I am faint with love. ~Song of Songs 5:6-8
How quickly a marriage can fail when our attitude is only about ourselves. How awful and lost we would feel if it indeed fell apart and our lover left.
Today is the day to tell him, "I am faint with love."
May Christ's love inspire your heart to change for the better!