Stephanie was nineteen years old when she married her husband. Surprisingly, she doesn’t have the most positive attitude about it. In fact, she often says that it wasn’t the wisest move to make. She said that if she had to do it all over again, she doesn’t think she would ever have gotten married. Preparing to celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary this summer, she reminisced about how she and her husband met. “I can remember it like it was yesterday. I even remember the kind of car we were in when we shared our first kiss. It was a yellow Datsun with a red strip down the side…I was 17.”
Everett was her first love, and she said she fell for him hard. She had to wait until she graduated high school before they could even go out on a first date. Shortly after that, they went to the justice of the peace and got married. Two years later they had their first child.
Everett had grown up very poor. His mother struggled as a single parent and they lived in low-income housing. The working world was foreign to the way of life his mother had always known. Their rent was subsidized, and the additional $30 requirement each month was the only demand their mother placed on her grown children still living at home. Smart, handsome, and having greater opportunity than his mother, as a young man, Everett was never driven beyond the point of having just enough to get by. It would later turn into a lack of ambition that shaped much of his adult years.
At 17, Stephanie didn’t seem to mind his way of thinking. All she saw was his beautiful caramel-colored skin and hazel-green eyes. They were head-over-hills in love, but that love waned over time. They’ve struggled financially most of their marriage, and Stephanie feels robbed in many ways.
Ephesians 2:10 (NLT) says, “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” The more we know about God and trust His love, the more we will trust our own ability and strength through Him. Heavenly Father has made it possible through the Lord Jesus Christ for us to live the highest and most fulfilling life of which we’re capable, but we absolutely must be guided by Him to achieve it. This is one of the reasons it is so important to know the Will of God concerning your life, so that you will not depart from it. When we don’t know God’s Will for us, we make decisions that seem right, but in the end, they’re not the wisest choice.
God gives us those red flags. Stephanie’s biological dad believed the match between her and Everett to be a poor one, but she ignored her father’s advice. She has been determined to remain faithful to the marriage, and it has not been without its rewards. There have been many happy times, but she has a nagging suspicion that her life was not all it could have been. Her resentment has turned into deep sadness. Although Stephanie is thankful for her family and husband, she feels bad about herself and ashamed of what she feels to be a lack of personal fulfillment and accomplishment. Everett is not to blame. He had never been taught to believe and trust God beyond his own limited capability. The good news of Jesus Christ is that even when we make poor choices and decisions, even when we’ve spent many years feeling unfulfilled, there is still great hope. God can and does restore us.
We all make mistakes. We made them before we became saved, and we made them after. Some were doozies. And yes, quite a few of us did indeed marry a person whose faith was perhaps small to begin with and remained that way. This does not mean that our faith has to be small, nor does it mean our love for them has to diminish. 2Corinthians 12:9 tells us that God’s grace is exactly the remedy we need, because His power and strength works best in weakness.
1Corinthians 7:14 also tells us that the unbelieving husband can be made holy because of his wife, and vice versa. Yes, things are a bit more challenging when a believing spouse has tremendous faith and wants to do so much more, and the other spouse does not. The solution is the Holy Spirit. He’s the equalizer. We can’t navigate successfully without his leadership. It’s not about seeing another person—spouse, friend, mother, father, sister, brother—as someone that can rescue us from anything. God is our sufficiency. He’s our Rescuer. We should forever and always place our trust in Him. When we do, He’ll turn things around, not just externally and in our relationships, but in our hearts. We’ll find fulfillment and happiness in Christ! He’ll transform our regrets, and give us the spiritual eyes to see his light in our spouses.■
Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.
“Married and Unfulfilled”, written for findchristianman.wordpress.com. Copyright©2020. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!