Dear No Happily Ever After in Sight,
Dear Word Washed Wife,
I recently married the man of my dreams in a fairy book wedding at my home church in front of family and friends. The wedding was picture perfect. The honeymoon was amazing. We went to a beautiful romantic tropical getaway, and spent every moment blissfully together. I expected happily ever after, but that is not what is happening. It is as if my husband changed the minute we returned from the honeymoon. We fight all the time. Nothing I do pleases him and he is not who I thought he was. We’ve been married 11 months and I can’t imagine 11 more years like this. I’m not sure I love him anymore. We are both Christians and don’t want to divorce, but I don’t see any other way out. Help, please.
No Happily Ever After in Sight
Dear No Happily Ever After in Sight,
I am so sorry you are unhappy in your marriage. I suspect that much of this situation is not your fault. You and your husband probably were not well prepared for living as a married couple. Most couples state that they spent countless hours planning the perfect wedding day and only a couple of hours in preparation of actually living together as husband and wife. So, be comforted by the fact that many great marriages started out rocky and that you are not alone in your experience. Do not fret, help is on the way!
First, we can all agree that marriage is tough, but as you and your husband are Christians, you are not alone. I am confident that in your fairy book wedding the minister invited God into your marriage covenant between you and your hubby. Probably, there were a set of vows that you both made to God – vows that you made while facing the minister and then vows you made to each other when you exchanged rings. Those vows invited God to be the very fabric that would hold your marriage together. And because you and your hubby are Christians, it is the Spirit of God that lives inside each believer that will give you two the ability to live out those vows – in sickness, in health, richer, poorer, etc. Do not believe that you are on your own! God is ready, willing and able to equip you to love your husband well. If we jump ship every time there is a problem in our marriage, we cheapen the marriage covenant to a simple commercial contract.
If you think that your needs are not being met and opt out to look for a better version of a husband, you then accept the world’s view of marriage. The world says, “If you aren’t happy, leave … because you deserve happiness.” To the Believer, God responds, “Trust me and allow my Spirit to fill your marriage with peace, love and joy (Galatians 5:22-23).” He tells us to seek Him first and enjoy the holy marriage that will follow. Holy is our goal, not happy. Happy is the bonus that comes because we serve a gracious Father! Sorry for my small sermon, but I am a passionate advocate for marriage – your marriage! And while you are hurting, I will help carry the torch for you and continue to remind you of God’s truth (Matthew 6:33). Keep reading.
Now, if my husband and I had conducted your premarital counselling, we would have stressed that “love” is neither a noun nor an emotion. Love is a verb. I state this because in your letter you question if you still love your husband. That tells me you may have accidently adopted the world’s view of love. The world thinks that love is something slippery that is hard to hold on to. “Falling out of love” is sometimes a convenient cover for the real issues: “I’m tired of loving my husband,” or “he is undeserving of my love, so I will withhold from him the actions of love.” God commands us to love our enemy; sometimes that enemy is the one with whom we share a bed. But, God’s design of the marriage covenant is still true – there is no “out clause.” But relax, God never commands us to do something without first equipping us! Lean on Jesus, rely on the Holy spirit, stay washed in the Word, and get busy doing the actions of love. This can include hugging your hubby before he leaves for work, making him dinner, asking him how his day was, and seeking how you can help him and then cheerfully doing so. After doing these actions of love for a while, the feelings of love will quickly follow. God will honor your actions, and your husband will notice! Even if only one person in the marriage is ready to start loving, His commands remain the same – “Love your neighbor (Galatians 5:14);” “Love your enemy (Matthew 5:44).” And after doing this faithfully for a while, you will wake up one morning and realize that you are in “your happily ever after marriage” after all!
Please talk to your husband about your concerns for your marriage. Then, the two of you go talk to someone whom you trust who can give you Godly advice and point you to Jesus in every situation in your marriage (Titus 2:3-5). This may be your parents, your pastor and his wife or a Godly couple in your church or community that you see enjoying the fruits of a Gospel-saturated marriage.
Keep reading the blog too! Each week I promise to address real topics that impact today’s marriages. And don’t hesitate to e-mail me. I always have time for a Gospel conversation about marriage!
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
1 Corinthians 13: 4-5
Suggested Reading List:
Bad -isms Click Here to Read: https://wordwashedwife.com/blog/2017/10/22/bad-isms
Love is a Verb Click Here to Read: https://wordwashedwife.com/blog/2017/6/18/love-is-verb-part-1
DISCLAIMER: In the interest of all reading, and with an intent to simplify some questions, I have taken the liberty to edit some letters. Because every marriage situation is unique and multi-faceted, I have personally reached out to each person who wrote me an e-mail to offer more specific details that address their needs.