Fight for your families
by Laura-Lyn Tyler Thomson
If you need marriage advice, just ask me; I’ve been married a lot. Not proud of that fact, but it is my reality. The church is facing this actuality more and more. Families are broken. Both husbands and wives are abandoning vows, children and responsibilities to find a new life. Communication, sex, money and career stresses all add to the maze of confusion about how we are supposed to make this family thing work. Sitcoms either make it look easy or absolutely impossible. For me, I found out the hard way that the choice to embark on this ‘walk down the aisle’ was easy to get into and not that difficult to get out of…. initially.
My first failed marriage resulted in the subject of my book Relentless Redemption, where I painstakingly recounted my failure, shame and the shattering recovery from both. Woefully unprepared for the serious undertaking of marriage, I crushed my entire world within four short years. Divorce wrecked my life for over a decade. My parents, son and friends stood devastated in the wake of my decisions. My second marriage ended with a police incident that left me no choice. I concluded I was an absolute tragedy where relationships were concerned. What went wrong?
Marriage is set up to work perfectly if we simply follow the Biblical rules of engagement found in I Corinthians 13:4-8. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” Perfect! Done! My job here is finished.
Easier said than lived out. If I had executed all of these beautiful actions flawlessly and if the others I was with had as well, I would not have a dreadfully painful testimony of matrimonial catastrophe. However, I regret to report that my heart is desperately wicked and vile in all its ways. I missed the mark and so did they. I’ve been through heartbreak, abuse, betrayal, boredom, confusion, perplexity and of course, ecstasy as well! Marriage is an expedition of breathtaking heights and soul destroying lows. If it’s done right, it should be heaven; if done wrong, it’s hell.
So what will make you stay when ‘you’ve lost that lovin’ feeling’ or are overwhelmed by frustration at your spouse’s inability to clean the clogged gutters with a storm coming? What will compel you to make the covenant last when you know others are just walking away? A fresh start with a new person might sound good when the svelte body you adored on the wedding day now has a muffin top. How do we stay married for the rest of our lives?
Well, I actually know first-hand that leaving doesn’t solve anything. A new person will one day be the old person … again. I found out that marriage doesn’t make me fulfilled, Jesus does. A good marriage is icing sprinkled on a strategically baked cake. What has changed me so profoundly, you ask, that you would have to rip my beating heart from my chest cavity rather than leave or give up on the man I am married to now? Finding out that life is not about being endlessly in love and in a fairytale romance. It just isn’t that way – ever! True joy comes from working through a difficult issue till 1:30 am, eye to eye, knee to knee, soul to soul until your hearts touch and your actions have said, “Love never fails.” Nehemiah was building a wall to protect Jerusalem when he asked the families to come together for a greater good. Harsh enemies were gathering on every side to destroy them, just like the attack on our families today.
Nehemiah 4:14 says, “After I looked things over, I stood up and said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, ‘Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your families, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.” Fight for your families…it is the greatest path to profound joy.