I researched the top reason why people get a divorce. The main reasons I kept finding were infidelity, money, communication issues, and weight gain. Then it dawned on me. I have done all of them. Seriously all of them—so why am I not divorced? There is one reason, and it can save your marriage too.
You might think I’m over exaggerating how much I’ve screwed up my marriage, but I can assure you I am not. I even have the articles to prove it.
- Infidelity (I’m Ready to Talk About My Affair)
- Money (I’m In Debt and Redecorated Anyway)
- Communicating issues (How to Stay Married When You are Totally Different)
- Weight Gain (When You Hate Being Naked)
Reading that list, I should be embarrassed. OK, I am embarrassed, and honestly, Doug would have been justified in divorcing me (according to most people, at least). But he didn’t. We decided to fight for our marriage, and in a weird way, each one of these trials, as hard as they were to go through, made our marriage even stronger. How? God.
Romans 5:2-4 says, And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance, character; and character hope.
It sounds wrong to take pride in our sufferings, but God promises us that through the sufferings, there will be hope. And how that hope worked for Doug and I is by God taking us through our trials one step at a time.
When we first started coming to our church, Crossroads, we were broken and on the brink of divorce. Coming to church was a last-ditch effort. But every week we came, and every week God worked a little bit more on our hearts. I believe God’s first step for Doug and I was helping us work through our communications issues.
We communicated so differently from each other. He was a yeller and liked to deal with issues head-on. I was a runner who preferred to ignore the problems wishing they would just go away. We had to figure out how to communicate, especially when we fought because he would dominate the argument, and I would let him, leaving me with no voice.
More importantly, we had to learn how to bring God into our discussion. I know that sounds weird to bring God into your argument, and you’re probably wondering how to do that. The best way to explain is for me to describe a recent conflict. Yes, we will still have issues. We are just better at handling them now.
We were driving in the car, and he admitted that he was running on empty, especially when it came to our sex life. Not because he doesn’t want to have sex, but because he was tired of always having to be the person to initiate sex. He was even worried that I didn’t find him attractive.
It never occurred to me that I needed to tell my husband he is smoking hot. I just assumed he knew how I felt. I also didn’t realize he was the only one initiating sex. Doug didn’t come at me yelling or accusing me of being a horrible wife who refuses to have sex with him. He brought up a concern he had in our marriage and then gave me space to process, and even brought God into the discussion. We prayed, asking God to help us with our sex life (yes, you can ask God for that). I asked God to help show me ways to be attentive to my husband. The conversation helped elevate our sex life, and it reminded me that my husband is a words of affirmation person and needs to be told fairly regularly how much I love and appreciate him.
Once Doug and I figured out how to communicate better, God gave us our next step—dealing with my affair. I won’t go into details about that since you can read all about it, but I can tell you if God wasn’t in the picture, if we didn’t have Jesus as the center of our relationship, our marriage would have ended then. But God had been working on us one step at a time, for me to admit the affair instead of running away from it and ignoring it, and for Doug to forgive me instead of yelling and accusing me.
We made it through the affair, still married, now our next step was to get us through our debt. I would love to say that we are debt-free, but we aren’t, and that’s OK because we have made huge strides. Just last week, we sold our condo that we have been trying to sell for 17 years. This condo has been a source of contempt in our marriage and has caused more fights than anything else. Doug and I have prayed for years for God to help us sell it, and in the midst of a pandemic, we finally did. Holy crap. Suffering brings perseverance, and perseverance leads to character and character hope. We are still suffering, trying to get out of debt, but God gave us hope and reminded us we are not in this alone.
I can guarantee you will have sufferings in your marriage, and the world might even tell you to get a divorce, but I beg of you don’t give in to the world. Keep fighting for your marriage.
But you can’t fight alone. Your marriage needs God.
God has to be the center of it. I should be divorced, but God showed us that on the other side of our suffering is hope. Despite the affair, lack of communication skills, and money problems, we have a freaking strong marriage. Let me qualify that—we have an amazing marriage because God has been fighting right alongside us too.