The other day I was talking with a close friend about his marriage. I’ll call him Dave. I knew he and his wife had been experiencing some rough sailing this summer. When I asked how things were going now, Dave reflected, “Honestly, Jim, there are days when I pray, ‘Lord, take me or take her–but one of us has to go.”
He added, “I even told God that I’m driving around without my seatbelt to make it easier for You if You want to take me!” Anyone who has been married longer than five minutes knows marriage is hard work. There are seasons when financial pressure, struggles with the kids, illness, or just plain old selfishness strains a relationship to the breaking point. Maybe you’re in a similar place. You feel as if moving forward with your spouse just seems pointless. Before you give up completely on your mate, see if this letter from our mailbag doesn’t offer a ray of hope. Like my friend, Dave, “Linda” was hanging onto her marriage by a thread. She wrote us at Focus, saying:
“Last weekend I told my husband of almost fifteen years that I was DONE with our marriage. I felt that there was not enough left of our relationship to continue. Thankfully, he was not so eager to end it and asked if I would go to counseling. I agreed, and we made tentative arrangements with our pastor. Last night, still filled with frustration, I went to the Focus on the Family web site and found some recent broadcasts on marriage. I listened–and cried a lot. I realized that I was missing some key things about how my husband operates as a man.”
Pause there for a moment. Isn’t that so often the way it is? For whatever reason, God wired men and women to view the world differently. Very differently–as my wife Jean can attest. We’ve learned that we can either let those differences divide us, or strengthen us. When we ignore that reality, we invite conflict. When we work through the conflict, we grow closer. Linda continues:
“When my husband returned from work, I asked him to listen to the programs, too. Then we talked for a very long time. I learned so much about his childhood and parents that he had never told me. It was like a light bulb being turned on. Now I understand why he has made certain decisions in our marriage and as a parent. We still need to work on a lot of things, but this really helped us both realize what we can do to make our marriage better. Thank you so much. I hope you help many more couples the way you’ve helped us.”
If you haven’t visited our website at www.family.org, let me encourage you to do so. Look for the link on the home page called “Relationships and Marriage.” We’ve gathered a host of stories and resources to help you with your marriage. Three excellent books well worth reading include Healing the Hurt in Your Marriage by Dr. Gary and Barbara Rosberg, What Wives Wish Their Husbands Knew About Women by Dr. Dobson, and For Women Only by Shaunti Feldahn.
A final thought. If you’re tempted to throw in the towel on your marriage because you believe there’s no way that even God could save it, consider these words: “I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?” (Jeremiah 2:27).