Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.
- 1 Peter 5:6-7
Marriage isn’t easy, is it?
That’s why so many of them don’t work out. Choosing to spend your life with someone, for better or worse, is not something for the faint of heart. If you have been married for any length of time, then you know that no matter what anyone told you when you were first starting out, there was no way to anticipate the challenges you would face.
No marriage is immune from life’s storms. Either you’ve been through something, are going through something now, or you’re getting ready to go through something.
The things that creep up on us and blindside our marriages when we least expect them can take their toll. That includes simple things like dishwashers that don’t work and bills we forget to pay. And not-so-simple things like a gravely ill child, or a spouse with a pornography addiction.
What do we do with these obstacles that come our way?
Through it all, there is an approach that can help you stay the course as a couple. It’s offered by the Apostle Peter. In four simple (not easy) steps he makes available a way of life that’s not common. However, it’s the only real way to go.
Here is what’s included and completely free for the taking, but these four things will cost you greatly. They’ll cost you pride, position, control, and trust.
Can you exchange those for gems of great value? Here’s how:
The Choice. As hard as it is, you have to come to the place where as a couple you learn to be humble. C.S. Lewis said, “Humility isn’t thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less. Particularly in your marriage you need to put two things in front of yourself in the thought department. First, your spouse – you probably could have guessed that (how’s that going, by the way?). More important, though, is trying to discern the heart of God in every situation. That leads us to the next step.
The Place. God won’t demand that you and your spouse choose to place your life under his care. He certainly won’t force you to do it. But he won’t take you to the place you need to be if you aren’t putting yourselves in his hands. I really like the illustration of God wanting to pour lavish gifts and riches into our hands but being unable because our fists are often clutching the things we hold tightly – like fear, worry, resentments, even dreams for the future. Let God do his work. Are you committed to that as a couple?
The Whole. This is all or nothing. You can’t just give God part of your life, or part of your marriage. What worry are you holding tightly to that God would love to take away if you would simply give it to him? Why do we want to hold on to them? The late Erma Bombeck, an American author and humorist said, “Worrying is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but never gets you anywhere.” Wouldn’t you rather go where God’s taking you? Peter tells us God will lift us up. I want to go high on His mountain, don’t you?
The Reason. God cares for you. He cares for your marriage. He really does. This doesn’t mean you won’t deal with hard things as a couple, or even that you’ll be spared from great suffering. Let’s face it, we live in a fallen world. And that is not God’s fault. But it’s so sad to think about the implications of choosing not to humble ourselves, not to place our lives and marriage under his strong hand, and not to cast all of our worries on him. Because this implies we don’t really trust Him.
Do you trust God? Do you believe He is big enough to take you through any storm your marriage is facing right now?
Trust Him. Humble yourself. Let Him lift you up.