My Spouse is Driving Me Crazy
Can Marriage Work? - No. 8
by Ernest O'Neill
As you left the house this morning, how were things between you and your loved one? How were things between you and your wife? I think all of us who are either driving our cars at this moment, or are at work or on our way to work, think back to how things are in our marriage. Often we come up with the unsatisfying conclusion that things are not as good as they could be.
Many of us pass great portions of our lives with that feeling about our marriages. So many of us, of course, have settled down to a quiet desperation in our marriage. Most marriages, if they are not already on the rocks, are feeling the strains of what seems to us, as we talk, to be a terrible misconception of marriage itself.
A wrong view of what marriage is
You remember we've been saying during the past days of this month that much of our problem in marriage is that we are trying to get from marriage something it was never meant to give. In other words, we have a total misconception of what marriage was meant to be. So often we have looked upon it as something that will provide pleasure for us, or some sense of security, satisfaction or happiness.
But really marriage is instituted by the Creator, who made us. The Creator who so many great intellects like Einstein and Darwin believed in without any question. That Creator instituted marriage. He made us man and woman, "male and female created he them," for one reason. He wanted to make us in His image.
What marriage is meant to be
We have been sharing this past week how many of us have misunderstood the purpose of marriage as being for our benefit and our satisfaction, instead of seeing that the nature of marriage is that we would reflect the image of our Creator. That's why God made us male and female.
Many of us, of course, say "Well, when I married, I didn't know anything about God! I didn't know anything about that stuff. I married because she was a good-looking girl. I married because he was a hunk of a football player that I just thought would be wonderful to be with in bed. That's why I married. This talk about God, God's will and God's image is just meaningless to me. Here I am, stuck with this guy or this girl that I married for probably the wrong reason according to you. But what am I to do? Surely I have simply to get out of the mess and to start over again, and maybe to start searching for what you say I should look for in a marriage partner.”
Well, God knew we would get ourselves into these mistakes and errors. He cannot overrule our wills, but He certainly is working every minute of our lives to try to bring things back into the plan that He had for us. If you have half an ounce of a desire to make your marriage go right, God who created you and who loves you will be working with all His might to help you in that.
What does God think of my present difficult marriage?
Of course, He has given us some clear directions about what we should do if we find we are in a marriage that we wonder whether it was God's original will for us or not. God has shown us clearly that we're to stay. The only way to work out His original plan for our lives is to stay for what He has allowed us to come into because, of course, God will not allow anything to happen to us that He cannot redeem.
He said through Paul in 1 Corinthians 7:27, "Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be free. Are you free from a wife? Do not seek marriage." Now, He was talking about the particular distress of that time, the persecution that was going to come. Of course, he was therefore urging that it was no situation for family life, but his words certainly are reasonable for us to apply to our own situation when he says "Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be free." It seems that that fits in perfectly with his previous statement in 1 Corinthians 7:10, where he says, “To the married I give charge, not I, but the Lord, that the wife would not separate from her husband."
He makes it pretty plain that even if you do find yourself married to someone whom you suspect was not originally God's best for you, yet you should not separate from her. That's clear.
You should not decide, "Well, let’s leave this one down, and let's look for a better one." God will, in fact, work all things according to the counsel of His will, if we obey His will at this present time. Two wrongs don't make a right.
God’s guidance on your marriage
So, if you find yourself married to someone whom you wonder whether that person was God's will for you or not, then the first thing is: Don't separate! God's word says plainly, the wife should not separate from her husband. That's 1 Corinthians 7:10 if you ever want to look it up. In verse 27 in that same 1 Corinthians 7, God says, "Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be free."
The first thing is you stay where you are. Then you are able to find out what God is after in that marriage of yours. Of course, what God is after is to repeat His own image in you.
How He does this is hinted at in the marriage vows, where you say, "I take her for better, for worse." The truth is that often that person whom you married has a lot of you yourself in her. That's right! Have you ever thought how like your wife you are, or how like your husband you are?
I know in many ways you're unlike each other. That's what adds interest and makes the thing interesting, and makes it bearable to live with each other. You couldn't live with another person who was exactly like you. It would drive you crazy. But there is something of you in that other person. There is something of you in her. There is something of you in him.
Yet, the beauty of the miracle is that God is not only trying to enable you to see that, as many of us, of course, see ourselves in our children for the first time and are horrified at the sight. God is not only interested in giving you a mirror into which you can look and see the reflection of your own character, so that you can begin to see the things that need to be changed and the things that need to be improved if you are going to live forever with God in heaven.
But the fact is God not only puts similarities like that in your partner. He puts differences in your partner that drive you beyond your own present character and nature. In other words, God often allows us to marry a person who by their own shortcomings and weaknesses, and their very irritating attributes and qualities, drive us beyond the strength, the patience, the understanding, the courage, and the endurance that we ourselves possess.
Our marriage and our attitude towards God
Of course, when you're driven beyond that, when you're driven beyond the point of desperation where you think, "I haven't the strength. I haven't the emotional endurance to put up with this person any longer," there's only one place that you can go. That is, to the person whose strength is made perfect in your weakness.
That's what God said, "My strength is made perfect in your weakness." He said, "Come unto me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."
In other words, believe it or not, the very problems and difficulties of your marriage partner's character can be God's ideal and certainly His permissive will to drive you into His own arms to seek the strength and the beauty of character that will enable you to live with that person for the rest of your life.
So, maybe it’s good to reflect for a moment that the purpose of your marriage is to reproduce God's image in you both.
TO BE CONTINUED