Trust is easily broken… and very difficult to rebuild.
If you’ve been in a relationship for any length of time you know that to be true. It only takes a handful of hurts to cause a boat-load of doubt and mistrust.
Many couples struggle to rebuild or regain trust, which is important. In our marriage intensives we often have to spend a good deal of time addressing issues that have caused trust to be damaged, so that the couple can begin to rebuild it.
Even though rebuilding trust between husband and wife is vital, and needs to happen, the kind of trust in marriage that is most important isn’t THAT kind of trust.
The ability of each spouse to trust God with their marriage is most important.
It doesn’t matter what kind of issues you’re facing:
- poor communication
- past hurts
- childhood wounds
- physical disabilities or illnesses
… every one of them is best handled when each partner in the marriage is able to FIRST trust in the sovereign plan of God in their situation.
Let’s consider an example so you can see what I’m meaning…
But they’ve forgotten about the key issue: What God is doing in the situation is the most important thing about it.
Most couples who reach this point don’t go there in their thinking.
They often don’t want to go there because it will require them to endure the difficulties instead of seeking to run away from them. I know, marriage problems can be excruciating… which leads me to the main point of this post…
Jesus is our example
Do you know the origin of the word “excruciating?”
It’s from the Latin word excruciare, which means “to crucify.” So something that is excruciating is “a pain like the pain of crucifixion.”
Jesus knows that kind of pain, wouldn’t you say? In fact, Jesus willingly endured that kind of pain because He trusted that His Father’s plan to send Him to the cross, was the best plan. (John 10:18). Jesus trusted His Father even though His plan would entail pain and suffering for Him. Jesus trusted His Father even though His plan would mean that Jesus would be mocked, ridiculed, and falsely accused. Jesus trusted His Father… more than He desired to be free from pain or discomfort. There was more at stake than His own well-being. The Father had a perfect plan…
In the comfort-oriented culture in which we live, the kind of mindset Jesus had is unheard of.
We try to avoid pain. We try to stop it or get out of it once we are experiencing it. We run to divorce court to avoid pain in our marriages.
But Jesus shows us there is another way… a better way that is less about our suffering and more about the will of the Father. Marriage problems definitely CAN be excruciating… and like our LORD Jesus, we are to endure the pain for the greater good the Father has in mind, just like Jesus did when He suffered on the cross (Hebrews 12:2).
What does that mean practically?
- It means that our focus has to move away from how untrustworthy our spouse may be, and onto how trustworthy our God is (Psalm 93:5).
- It means that we need to remember that with God there are no mistakes (Proverbs 16:33), so the spouse we have is the spouse HE desires for us to have.
- It means that we need to submit our will to the will of the Father again and again as we endure the situation (Luke 22:42).
- It means that we need to look beyond the pain of the present, seeking the ultimate joy that the Father desires to bring out of it (Hebrews 12:2).
- It means that if our marriage includes injustice or mistreatment, we must learn to entrust ourselves and the situation to the Father, the righteous Judge (1 Peter 2:22-23).
- It means that we must trust that He knows what He is doing… because HE is God…
Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor? Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid? For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. – Romans chapter 11, verses 33 through 36
The trust in marriage that really matters is OUR TRUST IN GOD to be the Author of our marriage and the one who is at work to use it for His glorious purposes.
When is a time YOU have had to trust God with your marriage?
I struggle with this, because I think we look at trust differently sometimes. If my wife had a bow and arrow, would I turn my back and trust she wouldn’t kill me? Absolutely. Would I trust her to walk 50 yards away and shoot an apple off of my head? Nope. If I needed brain surgery, would I trust her to pray for me, support me, and care for me? Yes. Would I trust her to perform the surgery? No.
It’s one thing to trust your wife’s character and good will. It’s another thing to trust her capabilities. And this is where I get tripped up, because there’s a lot of gray area.
Loren Pinilis I understand… but my point is that trust in each other is not what matters – trust in God to care for, guide, and handle the other is what matters.
Thanks for this great post. I agree 100% and notice that the more I trust God and let him handle things, the better I function in our marriage regardless of what my husband is or isn’t doing – right or wrong.
I do have a question/comment, however. Coming from an abuse past marriage, I feel a check of caution in how a person in that situation may take this advice. From experience, I can tell you that sometimes God leads us out of a dangerous situation, but often that isn’t the advice we get. Well meaning leaders counseled submission, turning the other cheek, and being willing to suffer as Christ would. All very true and correct counsel, but not always helpful to a spouse in a dangerous situation or in which the partner has “left” the relationship to pursue others while still remaining married, expecting the spouse to live with such behavior in the name of being a Christian. I’ve seen a number of people trust God, suffer as Christ and become more violently abused (physically and emotionally) as a result. Apart from the fact that we all need to trust God first and foremost with our lives and listen to his direction, how would you advise a person in this situation?
Thanks for your great posts. My husband and I find them very helpful and encouraging!
LauraBennet That is a tough scenario Laura, and not one that’s easy to give counsel on from the “armchair” – if you get my meaning. I think I’d probably counsel differently in each scenario depending on the circumstances of it. In general, I think we cannot judge things solely on “outcome” (abuse or non abuse) but by what the Spirit of God is leading us to do. He may want us to endure abuse (martyrdom comes to mind) for the sake of a greater good that we cannot see. I can see an abusive situation falling into this category at times too. So… for what it’s worth, I’d have to hear the scenario fully before giving counsel on what to do.
Carey Green LauraBennet Thanks, Carey. I do agree that each situation is different and God will lead according to what he knows of the big picture which we don’t see! There are too many scenarios that I have encountered to talk about them here, but I appreciate your honest answer.