Ever catch an ugly argument erupting between spouses? Unfortunately, my kids and sometimes even my friends were privy to ugly moments like these back in the early days of my marriage.
Thankfully, after one of these despicable debates with my husband, the Lord opened my eyes with an important passage that still echoes in my heart and mind today. It truly transformed me and my marriage from that point onward.
This ugly fight probably all started with one of us slinging an angry accusation at the other, while the other fired back a bitter rebuttal. Naturally, this left me with what I thought was my only other alternative—ratcheting up the volume!
What other way could I capture (more like enslave) my spouse into seeing my superior point of view?
After these kinds of debates, I almost always withdrew to a private spot to lift up my tear-soaked prayers to God. This might seem well and good on the surface, but my prayers typically consisted of a long list of complaints about my husband’s attitude, asking God to change him instead of me!
However, on this one rare occasion, I felt God leading me to turn to my Bible. Ironically, I had been studying Isaiah in my quiet times each day; so that’s where I headed, with Isaiah 54:5-7 catching my attention.
For your Maker is your husband—the Lord Almighty is his name—the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth. The Lord will call you back as if you were a wife deserted and distressed in spirit—a wife who married young, only to be rejected,” says your God. “For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with deep compassion I will bring you back.
At first, it felt like God was using this truth to blanket my heart with His comfort and peace. After all, I could really relate to this young wife who had been rejected and abandoned. That’s how it always felt for me post-argument. It was so reassuring to know God, my spiritual Husband, was bringing me back to His side with great compassion.
But then the Lord opened my eyes to a convicting and deeper truth about this passage. My argument and attempts to angrily force my husband to agree with my logic were steeped in idolatry. Essentially, I had made myself the idol, when I demanded that my husband do something my way, even if he didn’t agree. Then I made him the idol, when I looked to him as the primary source for my sense of approval and acceptance.
Allow me to clarify a bit here. My desire might have started out here as healthy and right. But it was as if I was trying to walk on a “broken leg,” when I allowed my desire to warp into a demand. Then I added insult to injury, when I made myself and my husband the priority over God. I desperately needed to follow the Great Physician’s orders and embrace Him as the authority and priority in my life.
What I had been missing in those many moments of conflict long ago was the right perspective. Still more profoundly, I was missing who Christ is and should be in my life. I had received Christ as my Savior, but failed to worship and prioritize Him as not only my Bridegroom but also as my Husband.
Once I realized this, I was able to shift the burden off of my earthly husband’s much-too-weak-shoulders and place it where it belongs—on the Lord’s strong shoulders.
And would you believe it? This also began to prevent the kinds of arguments that we fell victim to so often in the past.
Now, I’m not saying that we don’t ever argue anymore. But those moments happen less and less often. That’s because the Lord replaced my insecurities with a steadfast security in Christ as my Husband. Finally, as if that weren’t enough, my Husband and Maker sweetened my relationship with my earthly husband—all because I now look to Him first as my one true Love.
Beth is grateful to be a living, breathing example of how God redeems and refines “the messes and mess-makers” in this life. She now turns her messes into messages of hope and healing at her blog, messymarriage.com. Beth and her pastor husband, Gary, are finding their empty-nest to three young adult sons and one daughter-in-law to be fuller than ever before. That’s because their adorable grandson, who arrived last October, is filling their arms and hearts to the full!