New Marriage, Same Spouse

“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word.” – Ephesians 5:25-26

When talking about marriage, you’ve probably heard me say that when a man and a woman marry, they’re not joining each other’s families; they’re starting a new family. That doesn’t just mean you set your own agenda and values for your family. It also means that you have the first responsibility to love and care for your spouse when they’re struggling. 

Some men and/or their wives are mentally, emotionally, and/or spiritually unwell. If this is you, you need professional Christian help. If this is your wife, you need to get her professional Christian help. You’ve tried to cover for her and protect your kids or others, but you know you can’t.

If your wife is unwell, I’m truly sorry, but you have to deal with it, because the goal of a husband is to lovingly lead his wife as Christ lovingly leads the Church. She may have an addiction, have had trauma in her past, or have toxic, unhealthy relationships with others. Part of your trouble is that you’ve tolerated this for so long that you wonder if it’s too late to get her help. Some of you may be waiting for the day your kids grow up so you can just move on. Others of you may have tried to carve out completely parallel lives just to get a break from her because she wears you out. This is where we get hobbies, overworking, and man caves. It’s not that you like solitude that much and you’re getting time with the Lord; you need a break from her, and you are not running to the Lord as much as you are running from her. 

Here’s what I know about Jesus: He loves me so much that He takes me exactly as I am, but He loves me too much to let me stay exactly as I am. You may love your wife and feel loyal and devoted to her, and I hope you do. But love doesn’t tolerate; it transforms. God’s love doesn’t tolerate us; it transforms us. If you really love your wife, you need to help her get the help she needs whether it’s addiction, trauma, or she’s causing a lot of pain for others around her. 

You may be exhausted, frustrated, and want a new marriage. But you can get a new marriage with the same spouse. I want you and your wife to be happy and healthy and a source of joy and not pain to others. Some men come to church to get a break and, while I’d like you to enjoy God’s house, I’d also like you to enjoy your house. The same advice regarding your wife also applies to you. If you are unwell, getting godly professional help should be a high priority. 

Tomorrow we will discuss healthy jealousy and priorities. 

If you or your spouse is struggling, what is one practical step you can take to help yourself or your spouse?

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