“Will anyone support my decision to try to save my marriage?” That was the thought that run through my head time after time as family and friends continued to discourage the position I had taken to save my marriage. I was believing for a miracle turnaround, but most of my loved ones thought I was being a fool.
I understood that they were only concerned for my well-being and they did not want to see me hurt more than I already had been. And the truth is if I had been wanting to end my marriage I would have appreciated their support for that.
But, I did not want to give up on my marriage and by the grace of God I found the one person who would stand with me and encourage me to believe for my marriage to be restored when no one else would. He was the pastor of my dad’s church and he soon became my new pastor. He had seen his own marriage restored and he was a firm believer in what God can do to turn lives and marriages around.
I will never forget how valuable Pastor Jerry was in our lives. Though many times I felt like giving up because my situation seemed so grim, it was his voice that kept me believing in what God could do. He helped me get beyond the pain of betrayal and rejection and see my wife as a victim of sin’s destructive bondage. He helped me understand that she was trapped by something that was stronger than she was, something that was so strong that it took a Savior dying on a cross to conquer it.
From that time own I learned a great lesson about who I let speak into my life. I learned that I could find support for whatever I wanted to hear. If I wanted to be encouraged with faith in God, I could find someone for that. If I wanted someone to jump on the bandwagon of my own self pity, I knew who I could turn to. If I wanted someone to take up my cause and be as offended as I was, I knew who would do that too.
One voice matters
I sometimes wonder, what if? What if I had not had that one voice in my life, where would I be? Where would my marriage be? Well there is really no doubt in my mind about that. I don’t believe we would have made it through that third season of marriage trouble and certainly don’t believe we would have made it through our fourth and final season of trouble.
Because, although Pastor Jerry was not that involved with me during that fourth season, it was the impact he had made on me eight years earlier that still made a huge impact on the way I handled our marriage crisis.
So now, fast forward many years later and Pastor Jerry’s voice still has a huge influence on our lives. Because it is now our voice that stands with a hurting spouse and says, “don’t give up, with God nothing is impossible.” Regardless of the situation and how bleak it may appear, we refuse to believe and we refuse to say someone’s marriage cannot be saved.
Sometimes it puts us on opposing sides of other people who would prefer that one spouse give up on a marriage where they have been hurt. And there are times we can certainly understand why everyone else would say that a marriage is over and a hurting spouse should move on.
But because of that one voice that was in our life and our determination to be that one voice for anyone else, we find it impossible to say when someone should give up on their marriage. Even when the situation does require separation we still hold out hope that the marriage can be saved.
Are we overly optimistic? Maybe. But again it is not about a spouse’s behavior we are believing in, it’s about the redemptive power of the cross that we are firmly standing for. We know that without Christ people are destined to repeat their old behavior patterns over and over again. But through Christ we know that “all things become new and old things pass away.”
We will make no apologies for believing this way. Because it is ultimately God that we are believing in and not man’s abilities. After all we have seen Him do in our lives, what else are we suppose to believe?
And we do not mean to be judgmental toward anyone who has decided to give up on a marriage. We know those decisions are hard and very traumatic. And we know that the same grace that is there to save a marriage is the same grace that will carry a spouse through their decision of giving up.
But this one thing you can be sure of, if you are the spouse who wants to save your marriage and you’re looking for someone to stand with you regardless of what the circumstances look like, then you have come to the right place.
The only thing is, if this is you, you will have to put a stop to the voices that want to discourage you. You will have to say no to the naysayers.
Question: Would you hang on to your marriage if you had the right voices giving you encouragement?