My mother turned 70 years old this year. She is sharp as a tack still and has a quick wit. To celebrate her birthday, we took her to Disneyland, her request, along with my teen daughter and her friend. My Mom’s age didn’t slow her down, she jumped on the California Screamin' roller coaster without hesitation and we all shrieked in unison as our train launched from zero to 59 miles per hour in four seconds and sent us careening down the track with our hearts pounding.
My mother surprises me often. She hasn't let decrepitude (as I call it *grin*) crimp her style. In fact, she completely shocked my sister and I a few weeks back when she announced that she "Googled it" when she was searching for information about a medical term.
Mom has discovered the verb, google. Her broad smile of accomplishment was too cute and I hugged her with delight to know she is still living and growing and praying for God's Kingdom. Now I can't get overly excited because she still thinks Twitter is what birds do as they look for seeds in the backyard and Facebook is a photo album I am always working on and My Space is of course, a term you use when you need a break, "Give me my space."
As my mom told me her story about her first Google search it caused me to think about how many times I use a search engine. I am also fascinated by the words people use to search and how those searches land them on our web ministry, Spiritually Unequal Marriage.
The most common word search, which brings readers to our site, is unequally yoked. However, what astonishes me more is the second word search, which lands people on our site:
Loneliness in marriage.
There is an epidemic of loneliness in our world. And more staggering is the number of people who are married and feel alone. Does it strike you as a strange paradox, to be married and be lonely? How can that happen? How can we live under one roof, share the same bed, live together, and feel utterly alone?
For the spiritually mismatched marriage, this is our one common denominator. We have felt alone or feel alone and are married.
It does not matter how our marriage became mismatched, we all travel this strange path. We begin to grow in our faith and our spouse reacts. Let me give you a scenario:
She begins to learn more about Jesus and she stops using swear words. +He thinks she has gone temporarily insane. = They argue over this development.
She starts to attend church on Sunday morning. + He is mad she doesn't sleep in with him anymore. = They argue, pressing home their disappointment with one another.
She is upset he won't go to church with her. + He feels like he didn't sign up for this "religion" thing when he married. = They argue. Frustration mounts.
She is growing in her faith and her life is changing. She wants to share it with her best friend, her husband. + He feels threatened by this invisible "new man" in her life and is almost panicked at the implications. = They both hide their feelings in an attempt to avoid the fighting. Walls go up. Tears are shed in silence and loneliness sets in.
This is a dangerous time in a marriage but this is also a time where God calls us as the believer in the marriage to live out: commitment. Since the 1980's our societal values towards marriage commitment have vastly changed. Cohabitation along with sexual freedom and multiple lifestyle options eroded away determination to make marriage work more than previous generations. Marriages, which are supposed to be the source of stability and intimacy, often produce uncertainty and isolation.*
I want to share three truths from God's word to apply to this very real issue of living lonely and living married.
1. As a spouse living with an unbeliever, the first truth you need to bury deep in your soul is this:
God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." So we say with confidence, "The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?" Hebrews 13: 4-6 (NIV)
In the lonely years of my marriage, I clung to this promise when I felt abandoned by my spouse. I KNEW without doubt, Jesus would never leave me and He stood at my side through those years of conflict and loneliness. He will do the same for you.
That was my foundation.
2. Next I had to learn that my calling was to love my husband and not force Jesus upon him. In the early years of our marriage, I was the one in our marriage who placed tremendous pressure on my husband to attend church. I was always the instigator when we would argue over my faith views and I would condemn my spouse's behavior I once thought was okay.
Let's give our men a break. We can't be the Holy Spirit. Let Jesus take his time with our husbands. When we love our husbands like Jesus, it's irresistible. A man can ignore a nagging wife but he can't deny the truth of a transformed life.
When I let go of my need to win arguments about faith. When I surrendered my personal mission to deliver my husband to the foot of the cross. When I recognized and repented of my selfish desires for his salvation and began to pray in earnest for him to meet Christ, that is when the loneliness subsided and we both discovered peace.
Oh my friends, let Jesus be Jesus and you be a wife. This is the truth behind 1Peter 3: 1-6 (NIV)
Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their own husbands, like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.
3. And when we live this passage out in real life, look at our reward. Verse 7
Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.
This month, get off the roller coaster of emotions, of fear, of loneliness and heartache. Love your husband with the love of Christ and let Jesus handle his salvation. Pray every day for wisdom, discernment, protection, and a passion to love the man God has given you. Ask the Lord to help you see your husband through His eyes. Then wave goodbye to loneliness and say hello to a thriving and vibrant friendship with your husband.
Jesus Christ is honored when we thrive in married love.
* Provided by Probe Ministries