A few weeks ago, I started following two blogs and the stories these women have shared about their marriages. I’ve been encouraged by their authenticity because I am reminded that God is a God of grace who can redeem every marriage and bring every person back to Himself. (You can find Shannon Geurin’s story here and Rachel Rowell’s story here. I encourage you to read their stories in full, as each story is recounted in several parts. Only they can do justice to their stories.) In a way, their stories have helped prepare me to hear similar news from others. I think these women are brave for sharing their testimonies. It’s never easy exposing our dirty laundry to the world, but I believe that God will be glorified through their transparency. There are a lot of people out there who have experienced similar marital grief, and I think these testimonies will provide encouragement, conviction, and hope for those that need it.
I’ve never personally been involved with this kind of difficulty, but these stories and other recent events have reminded me of one lesson – never say never.
Marriage is two sinful people making a commitment to be faithful to one another in a sinful world. If it weren’t for God’s grace, the odds would be stacked against us. I think, especially as Christians, it’s easy to tell ourselves, “I would NEVER do ____.” Of course, no one aspires to cause problems in their marriage. No one wants their marriage to be unhappy. At the alter, we all make a commitment to our spouse with the best intentions. But the reality is, anything can happen. No one is above reproach. If you think you are, you should take a look at the self-righteous person in the mirror and ask yourself, if Jesus was in front of you drawing a line in the sand, would you really be able to throw the first stone?
Sin is sin. No sin is better or worse than another, and no one is immune. It doesn’t matter how good or Christian you think you are, never put yourself in situations that will compromise the health of your marriage. Don’t spend alone time with someone of the opposite gender. Don’t privately communicate with someone of the opposite gender. Don’t spend time with friends who speak negatively of your spouse. Don’t compare your spouse to other people. Don’t constantly complain about your spouse. Don’t constantly bring up your spouse’s shortcomings. Don’t try to turn your spouse into someone else. The list goes on. There are a myriad of areas that, if you’re not careful, can drive a wedge into your marriage. This is a harsh and sinful world. It is our responsibility to do whatever we can to fight for and protect our marriages. Don’t assume that you will never fall subject to a particular sin. Anything is possible. If you assume you are above a sin, you won’t guard yourself from that sin, and inevitably, that’s probably the sin you will commit.
The reality is, we are all sinners. We will all bring hurt into our marriages, and some of us will commit the sins we thought we would never do. But it doesn’t have to end there.
The good news is, God is a gracious God. He is a God of redemption, transformation, and reconciliation. Even when we sin and cause unrest in our marriage, God is there. When we are unfaithful, unkind, uncaring, arrogant, or bitter, God is there. He already paid for our sin – the sins we have committed and the sins we have yet to commit. He already paid for the sins of our spouse. Christ died, and spilled His blood for us. The perfect and spotless Son died, in our place, for all the sins that are rampant in ourselves and our marriage. If you don’t think Christ’s blood is good enough to cover your sin, than you probably don’t truly know the miracle, love, goodness, and grace of the Gospel. God can redeem all sin and all marriages. Even in the darkest hour, even when we have never felt so unworthy, even when we are broken, even when we are hurt to our core, there is hope. There is ALWAYS hope, because of Him. Christ died in our place, and that is always and forever enough. It is through Him and because of Him that two sinful people are able to maintain a healthy marriage in a sinful world.
Don’t give up on your marriage. Even when you’ve committed a sin that seems unforgivable or you spouse has betrayed your trust, don’t give up. Never think you are above reproach. Never say never, because any sin can destroy anyone. God already fought the battle for the sanctity of your marriage on the day Christ died on the cross. It is because of Christ and through Christ that redemption, forgiveness, and freedom are always possible.