Tag Archive | relationships

The Beauty of One Flesh

And Adam said: “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh;

She shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.”

Therefore, a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife,

and they shall become one flesh.

And they were both naked the man and his wife,

and were not ashamed.

Genesis 2:23-25

 

Discovering Truth:

Today we will return to God’s creation of the man and the woman. You will recall that the man was created by the hand of God from the dust of the ground. You will also recall that God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and then God took a rib and formed the woman from the rib and brought her to the man.  We now see Adam’s delight as he exclaims that the woman is bone of his bones and flesh of his flesh.  He then names her, giving her an identification: She shall be called Woman because she was taken out of Man.

It is again important to note that God never intended the man and the woman to function as two separate individuals.  From their very creation to the naming of the woman, we can see they were intended to be one.  But let us continue in the Scriptures to further understand this truth.  Clear instruction is now given that a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.  Again, we see there was no intent in the creation of the man and the woman for them to function as two distinct individuals.  There were to be joined into one flesh.

There are two simultaneous steps taken as two people get married.  First, they must leave. The word leave means: to loosen, to relinquish, to depart from, to forsake. They must leave their individual families as their primary relationships.  Secondly, they must cleave – be joined one to another.  The word joined actually means: to stick to, to cling to, to adhere to, to stay close to.

And as Adam and his wife were joined into one flesh, we find that they were naked and were not ashamed.  There we find the beautiful culmination of God’s creation of the man and the woman.  Together they were one flesh, not ashamed, and in perfect harmony! What a beautiful picture! And remember, as God looked at His creation, He declared it to be very good.  His perfect design was complete! All designed according to His great wisdom!

But there is so much truth to be found in this passage that I wonder if we could ever reach the depths and heights of it all. In Matthew 19 and Mark 10, we find the Pharisees coming to Jesus to ask a controversial question, hoping to divide the followers of Jesus.  They ask Him about divorce.  Rather than answer their question directly, He brings them back to the truth found in the Creation.  He answers them by saying: Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning made them male and female? And He said: For this reason, a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.  So then, they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, let not man separate.

From Jesus’ words we can see several important truths.  First, the truths found in Genesis 2 regarding the man and the woman apply to every married couple.  Jesus makes that application here as He goes back and quotes God’s intentions from the Creation. He establishes that each of those truths are still true today.  Next, notice what He says: What God has joinedWhat God has joined! When a man and woman are joined in marriage, it is God that joins. That is why He can declare with authority: What God has joined, let not man separate! God intends a marriage to be permanent, for He is the One who has joined a husband and wife, and not we ourselves!

We will look at the one flesh union again in our next writing, but for now, let us continue to think upon the truths set before us – God designed a husband and wife to leave their individual families and be joined by Him into one flesh. No longer two, but one!

 

Personal Reflection:

As of this writing, my husband and I have been married almost 40 years. We had a church wedding, and these verses were read at our wedding, as they may have been at yours.  But I had absolutely no idea of the truth of these verses.  David and I entered our marriage as two individuals, and quite honestly, we continued in our marriage as two individuals.  Certainly, there was the physical, intimate oneness, and even a friendship, but our lives were still very independent of one another.  He had his ways; I had mine. He had his job; I had mine.  He had his schedule; I had mine.  I suppose you can understand why I said we were still two individuals. It actually never entered my mind that God intended us to function as one.  And I wouldn’t have even known where to begin. I’m sure my beginning would have been to get him to come over to my ways. But God had much higher, bigger, and better plans than I could ever have had.

He began to teach me about one flesh, bone of his bones, flesh of his flesh, and spiritual truth I had never known in my life.  The journey continues … 40 years of marriage … still learning to be one flesh with my husband … all to the glory of God!

There are no quick fixes, nor easy answers, but we will talk more about that next time!

 

So, Until Next Time:

Spend time thinking on these truths from the Word of God:

          Bone of my bones

          Flesh of my flesh

          The name Woman

          The importance of leaving father and mother

          The importance of cleaving to your spouse

          The necessity of becoming one flesh

          Naked and not ashamed

          What God has joined together

Lots of truth to meditate on and pray through!

Every wise woman – seeks God’s wisdom for her life!

 

So then, they are no longer two, but one flesh.

Matthew 19:6

 

A special note written with much love:  If you are struggling in your marriage or find yourself as a divorcee, please don’t leave truth.  We are just beginning this journey, and God has wonderful answers in His Word that only He can open up to you.  Don’t give up!  Keep seeking Him! He has a perfect plan for your life, and He is faithful to His children! 

 

 

 

Every Wise Woman – Introduction

The wise woman builds her house,

But the foolish tears it down with her own hands.

Proverbs 14:1

 

The year was 2017. The diagnosis was bilateral invasive breast cancer.  The events of the year were certainly unexpected and unpredictable, but the Lord, in His faithfulness, love, grace, and mercy, carried us through by His amazing strength.  As of today, following much prayer, many doctors’ appointments, and two surgeries, as far and we know medically, my body is cancer free.  But 2017 also brought some other things into my life.

We all know that the Scriptures teach that our life is but a vapor and will fade away.  We know that it is appointed to each of us a time to die, and we know that our days are numbered. But 2017 brought a time of examination into my life. With a clear view that my life could have ended here on earth, I had to ask the Lord what He would have me do with the future days that He has graciously placed before me. The Lord has so blessed my life through His Word over the last 33 years. He saved me, totally changed our marriage, helped me raise our son, taught me so many truths, and essentially gave me a new life. I cannot keep these blessings to myself.  I must share them and allow the Lord to bring them into the hands of those who need encouragement in truth. I also leave these writings, with great love, to the next generation.

So … for 2018, I have been led to write devotional posts entitled Every Wise Woman.  Simple devotional thoughts will be written to encourage women in their walk with the Lord, in their marriages, and in their homes with their families. We will build truth upon truth through these simple devotions. The posts are not already written.  I will write as the Lord leads. I do appreciate your prayers.

I invite you to join the journey and to invite others to join us, as well. You will be able to  find these posts on our blog at http://www.wisdomandkindness.com and can follow the blog there to have the posts sent to your email address, or you can have them show in your Facebook feed by liking our Facebook page entitled Wisdom and Kindness.

Looking forward to the journey. Praying that you will join us.  May the Lord bless!

 

The Unwise Woman

The Unwise Woman

Perhaps one of the biggest and most frequent mistakes that wives make in their marriages is looking at their husbands to judge their spirituality.  It has proven to be the place of stumbling for many.  Although this place of stumbling is not confined to the husband-wife relationship, as it may be observed among many Christian relationships, it occurs so frequently in marriages that, as wives, we must ever guard against this critical error.

To understand how to guard against this error, we must first understand its cause.  It is very common in Christian circles to find marriages where one spouse is a Christian and the other an unbeliever.  Sometimes it is the wife who has been saved and finds herself now married to an unsaved or unspiritual man.  However, sometimes the reverse is true.  It is the husband who is saved, and he now finds himself married to a wife who is uninterested in spiritual things.  It is rare to find both a husband and wife loving the Lord and seeking His will and ways for their lives.  For those of you who are in a marriage with a spiritual spouse, it is truly a blessing from the Lord which you should cherish and for which you should be deeply thankful.

But what of the Christian wife that feels that her husband is a weight that she seems to drag behind?  Perhaps he is an unbeliever.  Perhaps he is a believer, but is not a spiritually mature man.  This is where the problem arises.  The Christian wife often reads much about the Christian life and the Christian family.  She listens to sermons and tapes.  She attends Bible studies.  She has heartfelt desires to bring up her children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.  And as good as those Christian resources may be, the wife often builds within her mind an expectation of what her husband should be.  Then, in reality, when she looks at him, she sees that he falls short of this “model man” that she has built within her mind.

Additionally, she may look around at other Christian men that she knows.  Forgetting that she only knows them from a distance and rarely sees their shortcomings, she compares her husband to those men, and again, the husband comes up way short.  How unwise is this trap into which she falls!  The Apostle Paul spoke of those in Corinth who put together information in a wrong manner and looked upon the outward appearance as those who were not wise:  but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise (2 Corinthians 10:12).

The danger that arises when we measure others by ourselves or by others, or when we compare others to ourselves or to others, is that we can never arrive at God’s view.  Most often we will lift our hearts up in pride and criticize the other, or we will see good things in the other and become discouraged with ourselves.  With God there is no partiality.  All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.  All need His grace and mercy.  How important it is that we learn the importance of these truths:  Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant?  To his own master he standeth or falleth.  Yea, he shall be holden up:  for God is able to make him stand (Romans 14:4).  And:  Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God (Romans 15:7).  The Lord does call the spiritual person to seek to restore one overtaken in a fault, but even with that instruction, it is given to the spiritual-minded person.  And even then, it is accompanied by an admonition that it be done in meekness and only after considering oneself.  For if one thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he only deceives himself (Galatians 6:3).

How does this all apply to the Christian wife?  She is never to hold up her own expectations for her husband.  She is never to strive to have him minister in the church according to her desires and her plans.  He is the man that the Lord created, both physically and spiritually.  Is he is unsaved?  Salvation is a work of the Lord.  She can never accomplish that work in him.  She must wait for the Lord’s timing.  If her husband is a Christian, she must still allow the Lord to lead her husband.  Often the wife’s voice speaks so loudly and so frequently that because of the noise that she creates, her husband does not hear the Lord’s voice.  How we need to be reminded that the husband has a Head.  His Head is Christ (1 Corinthians 11:3), and what a perfect Head He is!

Whatever the plan is for a husband, only God knows, and only God can accomplish that plan!  What, then, is a wife to do if her husband is unsaved or unspiritual?  The Word of God answers that question so completely.  The wife is to subject herself to her husband, allowing the Lord in her life to shine through.  It will not be what she speaks, but it will be the life that she lives that will show forth the Lord.  With a meek and quiet spirit that remains calm and sure as she trusts in God, God will often do a mighty work in others (1 Peter 3:1-6).

The best encouragement for any wife in this position is to lay down her own expectations for her husband.  She must lay down her own plans and desires.  She must lay down her own will and ways and focus upon being the wife that God desires her to be, and remember that if someone were to line up her life with a “model woman,” she, too, would fall short.  She cannot allow her focus to dwell upon her husband’s shortcomings.  She must look for the areas in his life where she can offer up thanksgiving to the Lord.  When the complaint arises as to how lacking her husband is in submission to the Lord, always she must  ask herself the question of how submissive she is to her husband.  Most often when we are finding fault with them we have forgotten our own sin, weaknesses, and faults.  We have lifted our own hearts up in pride – and what a great sin that is!

Who is an unwise woman?  She measures her husband by others and compares her husband with others.  This critical error will never give her God’s view.  And it will always cause her to lose respect for her husband!

May the Lord Himself give us a heart to see as He sees and then to love as He loves!

Mom, Will You Play Legos With Me?

Will You Play Legos?I sat on the park bench, watching my eight-year old son playing with a friend. As I enjoyed the beauty of the day and the simple joy of the children laughing and playing, a Scripture came to my mind:  Love your children …  Oh no, there it is again, I thought!  That Scripture had been on my mind constantly, returning time and again.  Love your children … I had heard it over and over in my mind.  I knew the Lord was trying to speak to me, but I just didn’t understand.

What, Lord?  What are you trying to say?  Here we were at the park.  I had gotten his friend to play with him, picked up a pizza to bring along, and brought the boys to the park for the afternoon. Yet, I was hearing love your children again.  I was actually feeling a little frustrated and confused. I really didn’t know what The Lord was trying to get me to understand. What else did I need to do?

As the boys played, I ran many thoughts through my mind.  I truly did hundreds of things for my son.  I left a career to be a stay-at-home mom.  I cared for his physical needs impeccably.  He was very well-dressed at all times.  He was well-fed, with his nutrition as a priority of mine.  I homeschooled him, spending hours pouring into his heart the Word of God, as well as being certain that academically he functioned at the top of his age group.  But still the prompting persisted: Love your children.  I really didn’t know what more I could do.  I had given my life to raising him, and I reminded myself  once again of the multitude of things that I did for him.

Well, the play date was over. We took his friend home, and we happily returned to our home.  Happily for him, but I was still troubled within.  I knew there was something that I needed to learn.  I grabbed my Bible and withdrew to my room.  I bowed my heart before The Lord and asked Him to show me what He was trying to say.  I knew there was something that I just didn’t understand.

I opened my Bible to Titus 2 to the passage where older women are instructed to teach the younger women, and there it was … Love your children … Love your children … Love your children.  I knew that I had to understand that phrase.  I pulled out a Bible dictionary and searched for the definition.  What I found opened my eyes, spoke to my heart, and answered my question.  The word used here for love was not agape, the self-sacrificing love to which the Bible so frequently refers. This word for love was phileo, the kind of love that focuses on relationship. It actually describes a friendship love.  It was then that I saw the truth that I had missed. It was then that I understood.  I had spent years doing things “for” my son.  I had actually given my life to that.  But what The Lord was calling me to was to do things “with” my son.  I could see that I needed to focus, not only on the tasks at hand, but on the relationship.

I began to run so many things through my mind.  Yes,  I did that “for” him.   And I did that “for” him.  And I did that “for” him.  But there were not too many “with” things.  Even the afternoon outing to the park had been “for” him.  Then came the flood of questions that I heard replayed in my mind.  Mom, will you play Legos “with” me?  No, Mom has to fix dinner…  Mom, will you ride bikes “with” me?  No, Mom needs to do the laundry…   Mom, will you play a game “with” me?  No, Mom is busy right now.  The tears began to flow.  Now I saw.  Now I understood.  I had been so focused on all of the things that I did “for” my son that I was missing the most important thing of all – the relationship “with” him!

God did something major in my heart that day.  He gave me a new priority.  The truth love your children became very special to me.  Now, when my son would say: Mom, will you play Legos with me, I could hear the “with me” loud and clear.  And I would do my best to say: We sure can!  Even if I could not do it right at that moment, I was sure to let him know that we sure can!  Days turned into weeks.  Weeks turned into years.  Although I still made mistakes, I am thankful that The Lord persisted to teach me that truth.  Love your children – a truth I desperately needed to learn.

My son is grown now, with a family of his own.  Do I have any regrets in raising him?  Do I regret giving up a career to be a stay-at-home mom?  Not for a moment!  Do I regret giving all of those years to homeschooling him?  Not for a moment!  Do I regret painstakingly caring for his needs? Not for a moment!  Do I have any regrets at all? Only one comes to mind – that I would have taken every opportunity to do things “with” him.

The childhood years pass way too quickly.  Love your children. It is a decision that you will never regret!  Mom, will you play Legos with me?  We sure can!  We sure can!

Qualities of A Good Wife

Whoso Finds a WifeWhoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing,

and obtaineth favor of the Lord

Proverbs 18:22

 Suppose we took a surveyThe question that we would ask is:  What makes a good wife?  I can just imagine all of the answers that we would  hear!  Some would probably make us smile.  Others would, perhaps, make us very sad. But, from the beginning, God intended the wife to be a “good thing.”

Before we address our answer to the question, let’s recall the Creation for just a moment.  Day by day, as God created, He viewed His Creation, and in each case, the Scriptures tell us that God saw that it was good (Genesis 1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25).  However, as details are given in chapter 2 of the creation of the man and the woman, we find, for the first time in the Scriptures, that God says that something is “not good”:  And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone.  Then immediately following that declaration, He announces His solution: I will make him a help meet for him.  In contrast to that which was not good, the wife, being a help and companion to the man, was to be a good thing.

And, when God finished His Creation, we find this truth:  And God saw everything that He had made, and, behold, it was very good (Genesis 1:31).  Being a wife according to God’s intent and design truly is a good thing.

Listen to the truth of Proverbs 18:22:  Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favor of the Lord.  Here we find the same truth again – a wife is to be a good thing.

Listen now to the question of Proverbs 31:10-12: Who can find a virtuous woman?  And then hear the answer to that question as it relates to her husband:  The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her … She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.

So we can see that God not only created and designed the wife to be a “good” thing, but He commends the wife who gives all the days of her life to doing good, and not evil, to her husband.

A “good” wife – do you have a heart that desires to be a good wife to your husband?  Perhaps you are wondering in what ways you could be a better wife. Well, if God created the marriage, and He did, then let’s look at the three instructions that He gives to wives.  We will find that these three truths describe qualities that  truly do make a good wife.

1. RESPECT

… and the wife see that she reverence her husband (Ephesians 5:33).

Reverence – respect!  This reverence and respect – or the lack of it – reflects a wife’s heart attitude –  how she truly feels about her husband, from the heart.  It is from the heart that all of a wife’s words and actions will flow.  Respectful words and loving actions come from a respectful heart.  Let the wife see to it that she reverence her husband!

Also, did you notice that this is a command?  God does not make this optional.  Neither does He say that a husband must earn the wife’s respect.  Actually, the Lord requires this of us.  Listen again to the wording:  … and the wife see that she reverence her husband.

Be careful that you do not fall into the error of negating the Word of God by saying “I know that this is true, BUT …”

God’s truth is always true.  We all have faults and failures.  A wife can respect her husband, in spite of his faults and weaknesses.  She can respect him just because he is her husband.  And, if a wife will make a list of his good qualities, she will be surprised how many ways that she can find to respect him.  As her heart toward him becomes more respectful, their marriage will begin to change.  See to it that you reverence your husband.

2. COMPANIONSHIP

The book of Titus instructs the older women to encourage the younger women to love their husbands (Titus 2:3-5).  There are misunderstandings as to what love really is.  The particular Greek word used in this passage is a friendship, companionship love.  It is the kind of love that focuses on the relationship between husband and wife.  This kind of love can only be fostered as a wife spends time together with her husband, sharing common interests, walking through life as friends and companions. A wife may feel as though she has nothing in common with her husband.  There is a sure way to build common interests.  Be interested in what he is interested in!  Yes, a wife can be interested in what he is interested in – if she is truly interested in him!  She can lay aside her desires, her schedules, etc., and love her husband.  She can be a friend and companion to him as she shares his life with him.  Through the ability which God supplies, love your husband.  It will be a blessing to you both!

3. SUBMISSION

Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord (Ephesians 5:22).

Did you know that this is the most frequent command in the Bible given to wives?  Yes, it really is.  No other instruction is given to wives as often as this one.  It must be the one that we need to hear the most often – Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands.

What does submit yourselves actually mean?  It means being arranged under the authority of another.  This is not the teaching of the twenty-first century, but it is most definitely Biblical teaching.  Additionally, it is an outflow of a Spirit-filled life (see Ephesians 5:17-22).

Once a wife acknowledge, from her heart, that the  husband is the head of the wife (Ephesians 5:23), she will find submission an easier thing.

No matter what the world says or how a wife may feel personally, the Word of God is true – even submit yourselves!

There is a key to learning to be arranged under a husband’s authority – simply learning to really listen.  Husbands say what they like and what they do not like.  They say what they would like for the wife to do or not do.  It really is that easy – learning to listen and, without arguing, walking in agreement with him.

From my experience, I have found that my struggle will always be that I prefer my own way, that I think I know a better way, or that I think I am more spiritual.  But not so!  The Lord always knows the best way, and He is the most “spiritual” of all – and it is He who says submit yourselves.  And, for those wives who have husbands who are not obedient to the Word, the words found in 1 Peter 2:21-3:6 will be an anchor for you!

The timeless truth of submission will take the tug-of-war out of a marriage.  When a wife ceases from pulling against her husband, the struggle will stop.  When, by faith, she arranges herself under her husband’s God-given authority, she will be pleasing to the Lord.

What makes a good wife?  I guess we really did not need a survey. Respect, companionship, submission – three qualities of a good wife —  three truths that will transform a marriage – three truths that bring glory to God.

Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing,

and obtaineth favor of the Lord

Proverbs 18:22

 


 

Some of the Better Things

imageI was wondering what we consider to be the better things in life? For most, the list would contain material things – lots of money and lots of things that money can buy!

Prompted by a Scripture that came to mind, I took a brief stroll through the Proverbs.  Here is what I found:

For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it. Proverbs 8:11

Better is little with the fear of The Lord than great treasure and trouble therewith.  Proverbs 15:16

Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith. Proverbs 15:17

Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues without right.  Proverbs 16:8

How much better is it to get wisdom than gold! And to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver!  Proverbs 16:16

Better it is to be of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud.  Proverbs 16:19

He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.  Proverbs 16:32

Better is a dry morsel, and quietness therewith, than a house full of sacrifices with strife.  Proverbs 17:1

It is better to dwell in a corner of a housetop, than with a brawling woman in a wide house.  Proverbs 21:9

It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman.  Proverbs 21:19

So, what are the better things?

A life with God … walking in wisdom and understanding … living in righteousness and integrity … having love and humility … in a home with peace and harmony.

Yes, Lord, I am persuaded that these are the better things.

Anabelle’s Story: No Respect for Him

Reverence Her Husband“Just one verse, God, just one. That’s all I need.”

Here I was, weeping, alternately pacing the aisles and lying on the altar, all alone in the church after everyone else had gone home. I begged God to show me just one verse in His Word that I could use to justify leaving my husband. I was done.

How had we come to this?

I hadn’t always felt this way. I met my husband when I was fourteen years old, and I knew when I saw him I would marry him. We married once I graduated high school and began life together with a baby and a move to another state, away from all I had ever known. He found it hard to keep a job, and something happened that I didn’t expect. I began to not like this man very much.

I disliked his job-hopping. I disliked that fact that he had made us move away. I disliked his spending. I disliked how he spoke to our daughter.

This marriage business was hard. Why couldn’t he just stand up and be a man and take care of us like he was supposed to?

After several years, we moved back home, and my mother began to invite me to a church she was attending. At first, I dismissed her. After weeks of asking, though, I finally gave in and found myself in a little church. Something was different here. These people actually tried to live what they heard on Sundays. They talked about their failures, and there was no shame, only forgiveness. No grudges, only reconciliation. To an unsaved young woman, educated and bitter, this all seemed too weird.

For two years, I attended ladies’ classes and ladies’ retreats, sat in on prayer meetings, and learned to trust the elder women in this church. Through their example, God turned my heart to Him and I was wonderfully saved. One area still bothered me though. The women talked of how they loved their husbands, what great men they were, how thankful they were for them. Each comment made me ache. How could they have such perfect marriages and mine be such a disaster?

And then the darkness came. My husband had suffered a debilitating injury and was required to have a dangerous surgery. The risks were high, the doctors said, and recovery would take months. Even if the surgery were a success, there could be side effects that would affect my husband permanently.

The doctors were right.

Then only three months after his surgery, Hurricane Katrina came. Our home flooded, and there was no money to repair it. My husband fell into depression and stayed on the computer constantly. I would get up in the morning and see him in front of the screen; come home from work, there he was; and go to bed, with him never coming out of the office. There was no intimacy between us, either emotional or physical. We were roommates, not husband and wife.

I was so lonely, and it wasn’t long before the tempter began to whisper, “He shouldn’t treat you like this. He’s so selfish. Doesn’t he know that you need him? Doesn’t he know that you need to feel loved and wanted?”

And it wasn’t long after that that the tempter came in the form of a man, a man who smiled at me and told me I was beautiful and how much better he would treat me if he had me.

It was only by the grace of God that I didn’t fall completely. It was my Father Who protected me, not my vows or my fear of what others would say if they found out. I was long past caring about any of that. I was wrapped up in my own longings and disillusionment.

And now here I was, depressed, broken, alone at the altar in that little church. I picked up my Bible, barely able to see through my tears. I opened it up randomly and began flipping the pages, going to the places that I knew taught on divorce, hoping I would find a verse that would justify my leaving. The first place I found myself was Matthew 5—divorce allowed only in the case of fornication (v.32). He hadn’t cheated on me, so that was out.

Matthew 19—“What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” (v. 6)

Next, I Peter 3: “Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;” (v. 1)

WHAT??!! I’m supposed to love and submit to my husband even if he’s not saved?? God, I know You know how this man is, and this can’t apply to me. I’ll try again.

And then, I Corinthians 7.

“And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband…” (v. 10)

Not exactly what I was looking for, but I read on anyway. Perhaps there were exceptions.

“And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him.”(v. 13)

My tears were beginning to dry, not because I found peace, but because I was angry. Why can’t I leave him? Does God expect me to live in this despair, this heartache forever? I slammed the Bible shut, then re-opened it.

Proverbs 31—“The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.” (v. 11-12)

I was struck by these words. “The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her…She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life…”

The Holy Spirit brought to my mind the times I had screamed at him like a banshee to “be a man!” The times I had loudly disrespected him in Wal-Mart when he wanted to buy something unnecessary. The times I had complained about him to my mother, my sister, my best friend, to anyone who would listen. The times I refused his attention, choosing instead to work because “it was what I had to do.”

I was so ashamed, and I am ashamed again as I write this. He had just had to walk through the darkest months of his life, and while I had done what was necessary to help him physically, I had abandoned him emotionally. I had committed adultery in my heart and justified it. I, his wife, the one he had chosen to walk through life with, had already left him.

So now I had a decision to make. Would I obey the words that my Father had so gently, but firmly, brought to my attention? Or would I forever damage my daughter and my testimony for my selfishness?

I am glad to say that my Lord gave me the courage to walk in His truth. This was not an overnight change in my heart, but a day-to-day commitment that I would be a daughter my Father would be proud of. I resolved that I would no longer speak negatively about my husband to anyone. When discussions began to turn ugly, I would close my mouth and refuse to rise to the bait. I would make myself available to help him and listen to him and love him.

Over time, I saw my Lord bless His Word. My husband was saved, and our marriage was renewed gloriously. The defining point in our renewal was the night God pressed upon my heart to tell my husband about the other man. Oh, how worried and afraid I was! But I knew that in order for us to truly be one, there could be no more secrets.

What happened that night cemented my love for my husband and for my Jesus. I saw my husband’s heart break as I told him of my betrayal, and I saw the battle he fought within his mind. Then, I heard the sweetest words I’ve ever heard: “I already knew. I love you, and I always will. I forgive you.” And he really did. He never brought the subject up again, and his actions toward me afterward never held any bitterness.

I cannot express to you what the Lord worked in my heart that night, but what I do know is that the man I was so determined to leave became the man who showed me the love of Jesus like I had never known. The Lord has shaped my husband into a leader, an innovator, a man with talent, compassion, strength, and grace, and I have seen through him the clearest picture of Christ’s forgiveness and love.

Just one verse.  That’s all I thought I needed.  But God had given me so much more.  He gave me truth.  He gave me love.  And by His grace and mercy alone, He gave me a true marriage.