The arrival of spring and (soon) summer often brings with it the advent of wedding bells. My pastor-husband and I have had the privilege of interacting with many young couples in pre-marital counseling sessions and eventually their wedding ceremonies. These are fun times in ministry life!
On the other hand, my pastor-husband and I have also counselled many married couples whose relationships have fallen on hard times. Often my role involves talking one-on-one with emotionally wounded wives. A wife full of wounded emotions is a very fragile thing. She is holding herself together by a thread. Her heart is pierced with pain, her mind is numb from the sheer exhaustion of coping with deep disappointment in her marriage. (I am specifically referring here to emotional distress only. Any wife who finds herself in a physically harmful or abusive marriage needs to seek help to safely leave the relationship.)
Over my years of counseling emotionally wounded wives, I have seen some marriages saved, some not. One condition, however, has never produced a successful result. In fact, women in this state of mind rarely stay in the marriage. This state of mind is defined by two beliefs:
#1: I cannot be happy in this marriage unless my husband changes.
#2: My husband will never change.
A wife who believes only one of these statements can often be helped. Statement #1: If a wife believes she can be content even if her husband never changes, she will make the necessary adjustments and succeed. Statement #2: If a wife is unhappy in her marriage but has faith that God can work in her husband’s life to bring change, she will find the strength to remain committed to her husband. But a wife who believes both of these statements to be true – she cannot be happy unless her husband changes, and he will never change – will not be able to experience a healed marriage relationship or a God-given contentment in a less-than-satisfying marriage.
So, dear wife with a wounded heart, you may feel these two statements describe your marriage right now – and perhaps they do. But I plead with you, do not choose to believe this. You may not have faith in your husband, but have faith in God. Faith that God will enable you to live contentedly with your husband as he is. Faith that God can bring about the change in your husband’s life that He desires, in His time, while enabling you to live with him graciously in the present. For “without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone that comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him” (Heb. 11:6). Seek hard after God, wounded wife, and He will reward you. You can trust Him!