God’s Work in Our Marriage

By Dawn Carson

Marriage offers us a close personal relationship and intimacy like no other experience in life. After all, it was designed by God as an earthly model of the relationship between Christ and the Church. Then why do we hear of so many failed marriages? You may be asking if there is hope for your failing marriage. We asked that question at one very low point in our marriage. And though we knew it wasn’t a Christian response, we thought we might be better off ending our marriage. Thankfully, God had a different plan. Here’s a bit of our story:

We don’t know when things changed in our marriage; it was more of a gradual erosion than a sudden collapse. After 20 years, we were at a crossroads. We were tired of the constant fighting; fights about anything and everything. As we fought, we both piled up our list of hurts and criticisms.

At the end of our rope, we reached out to the church for help. Through the love and support of others, we prayed and started working on our marriage, but this time with God‘s help. Vince joined a men’s accountability group and we both went to counseling. We also took “Living for the King” (a course offered by our church). God was faithful and spoke to each of us about our own sin. This awareness of our sin made us thankful for Jesus, who forgives us no matter what. We approached each other differently as God softened our hearts. Ezekiel 11:19-20 says: “I will put a new spirit within them, and take the stony heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in my statutes and keep my judgments and do them.” This is what God was doing for us. God enabled us to find forgiveness for each other. God is good and there is hope in Him.

I wish I could tell you we have not had any fights since then, but you know better. The evil one lurks about looking for those he might devour, and so we have learned that we must put on the armor of God. Our number one weapon for our marriage is prayer. If you are without hope, try just that one thing; PRAY.

Here are some other suggestions:

  1. Pray together often on a regular and scheduled basis. We like to keep a prayer journal and we record praises and our requests. When a prayer is answered, we highlight it. What a great visual reminder of all that God has done for us.
  2. Seek wise counsel and recruit prayer. The saddest things is to hear about a marriage that ultimately failed while the couple never sought help. ASK FOR HELP! Start with the pastors and elders; and of course, we would love to share more of our story with anyone who would find encouragement in it.
  3. Get the log out of your own eye and keep short lists. This should probably go at the top of the list because it is the one that is easily forgotten, especially when you are in the heat of an argument. Ask God to show you your part in the disagreement. He will be faithful in doing that as he was with us.
  4. Plan dates on a regular basis. Don’t talk about the kids when you go out; make it a rule.

We could add so many more things to this list, and there are so many great resources. We would recommend the book When Sinners Say I Do, which also has a study guide.