I’ve recently heard or met several women who are struggling in their marriages. Women who have been hurt, painfully so, by their husbands — the very men they trusted enough to vow a lifetime to. These women are brokenhearted, confused, and wondering what’s to come. Are you one of these women?
What you might not know is that I was one of these women. I don’t talk about it openly here on this blog, or even in my personal life, because I’m still healing. Because it’s a private, personal, painful story. Maybe someday I’ll write a book about the struggles our marriage has had to overcome, but until then I do want to write this.
I was broken and hurt. I was in the deepest pain I’ve ever been in. I had been betrayed. But I stayed.
I stayed because I believe marriage is a sacred and holy covenant that is not meant to be broken. Yes, I believe there are times when it is appropriate, right, and even respectable to leave. Sometimes, divorce is the only way. But I also believe God is a god of miracles. He is the ultimate healer and forgiver. He redeems what is broken, He renews what is fading. And so, even though I had every right to walk away, I stayed.
I chose not to break my vows. I chose to stay true to the covenant I had made on the day I wore white. Was it easy? Not a chance. It was hard. In fact, it was the hardest thing I’ve done in my lifetime. It took a lot of work — prayer, scripture reading, listening to worship music constantly, going to counseling — and it took even more mental work — overcoming the lies I heard in my head, learning to forgive, letting go of hurts.
It took many months before our marriage began to heal. Maybe you’re past many months, maybe you are wondering how much longer you can take this. Will you stay? Oh, sister in Christ, I stayed and I hope you will too.
When I went through that period of darkness, I realized that there are very few stories out there of marriages who have been through the darkness and came out in the light — together and whole. Most people don’t talk about the deep struggles they have been through. Because it is painful and private. I don’t talk about it because I want to protect my marriage. But if no one talks about staying, about the healing God can and has done, then those of you going through the darkness may think there is no light at the end. How easily to be discouraged and think divorce is inevitable. Friends and family may even be encouraging you to walk away. But my friend, if you stay…
Oh, if you stay, what a miracle you could witness. You could see right in front of your eyes the work God can do, the healing and redemption He loves to perform. You could come out whole and healed and closer to Him than ever before. You could find the peace He is offering. You can have a deeper love than your marriage has ever experienced. Your story can become a witness to the power of prayer. The power of our Almighty God who loves us more than we could imagine.
I don’t know your story. I don’t know what he’s done. I don’t know what you’re thinking — if you are leaning toward leaving or leaning toward staying. But dear sweet sister, I stayed and how grateful I am that I did. If you are choosing to stay, I encourage you that God does redeem even the most broken of marriages. He does. And I know it for a fact because that’s what He did for my marriage.
I’m praying that He does the same for you. I’m praying that you’ll stay. That you’ll put in the work it will take to heal. And believe me, it takes work. I’m praying that God will heal and redeem your marriage. That you and your spouse will find a deeper love for one another, and a deeper more intimate relationship with our Creator.
Scriptures that Helped Me Through
God heard their groaning and He remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob. So God looked on the Israelites and was concerned about them. – Exodus 2:24-25
“I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.” – Genesis 22:16-18
“Do not be terrified; do not be afraid of them. The Lord your God, who is going before you, will fight for you, as he did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes, and in the wilderness. There you saw how the Lord your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place.” – Deuteronomy 1:29-31
When you go to war against your enemies and see horses and chariots and an army greater than yours, do not be afraid of them, because the Lord your God, who brought you up out of Egypt, will be with you. – Deuteronomy 20: 1
For He wounds, but He also binds up; He injures, but His hands also heal. From six calamities He will rescue you; in seven no harm will touch you. In famine He will deliver you from death, and in battle from the stroke of the sword. You will be protected from the lash of the tongue, and need not fear when destruction comes. – Job 5:18-21
You will surely forget your trouble, recalling it only as waters gone by. Life will be brighter than noonday, and darkness will become like morning. You will be secure, because there is hope. – Job 11:16-18
… in the face of the darkness light is near. – Job 17:12
The Lord restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before… The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the former part. – Job 42:10, 12
Have mercy on me, Lord, for I am faint; heal me, Lord, for my bones are in agony. My soul is in deep anguish. How long, Lord, how long? Turn, Lord, and deliver me; save me because of your unfailing love. – Psalm 6: 2-4
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. – Matthew 11: 28-29
Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate. – Matthew 18: 6
With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God. – Mark 10:27
Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. – Luke 6: 37
For I wrote you out of great distress and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to grieve you but to let you know the depth of my love for you. – 2 Corinthians 2:4
I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him. – 2 Corinthians 2:8
And this is my prayer; that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best. – Philippians 1:9-10
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. – Colossians 3:12-14
May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other … May He strengthen your hearts … – 1 Thessalonians 3: 11, 13
Perhaps the reason he was separated from you for a little while was that you might have him back forever … – Philemon 1:15
I know that’s a ton of scripture references, but one of the things that helped me the most through my times of darkness was spending time in God’s Word. I poured myself over those pages and let those words pour out over me. God spoke to me so much, and as dark as that time was — it was the closest I’ve ever been to my Heavenly Father. He held me every night. He helped me stand each morning. And He walked me through the darkness into the light. And you know what, He wants to do the same for you. Don’t hesitate to reach out to Him, my friend.
If you are a woman (or man) who has been through the darkness and gotten to the other side, if you have struggled in your marriage and you stayed, will you leave a comment below? Let’s encourage the women who are in the midst of it.
You may also want to read:
- Ways to Protect Your Marriage
- 8 Tips for Making Your Marriage Last
- Loving Your Husband When Your Own Love Tank is Low
- Books to Help You Grow as a Couple
- The Best Thing You Can Do for Your Spouse
You can also follow my Pinterest board Marriage: Loving My Hubby for lots of other marriage advice.