January 2013 | Page 4
How I Stopped Hating My Husband (and got with God’s program instead) by Isabella Yosuico
Ours was not a fairytale romance. I was in my 30s and Ray in his 40s when we met, and there was a lot of water under the bridge, most of which had rushed by long before Jesus came along. The impact was far-reaching: an unmatched set of mighty beat-up baggage. Yet I knew, maybe the moment I saw Ray, that he was God’s choice for me, however unlikely. Two years after we met, we got married. It wasn’t long before I wondered if I’d made some terrible mistake and was now stuck. Yet I knew from prior experience that being squarely in God’s will doesn’t necessarily feel good; my comfort and pleasure is not God’s aim. Moreover, circumstances made it nearly impossible to bail—my favorite M.O. In retrospect, I see God kept me still while he worked.
Major surgery—starting with a self-ectomy. “…So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” Matthew 19:6NIV I love the imagery of husband and wife becoming one flesh, but only months into married life, a more Frankensteinian image emerged: body parts being lopped off and mended. Ouch! Yet, I think this is helpful, because it helps me see, even now, that the process of fusing two separate, self-centered people into one strong strand (Ecc 4:12) is indeed messy and painful. Even so, we’re compelled to defer to God as our surgeon (Heb 4:12-13) and he is merciful. The surgery is performed over a period of a lifetime together and there’s recovery time between procedures. Many long-married couples report they endure through the inevitable difficult seasons to have their marriage emerge stronger. In fact, challenging times are very fruitful if we willingly submit to the self-ectomy God will inevitably recommend. Contrary to the world’s noisy refrain, it’s not all about me! It’s about God and his purposes.
The mirror of marriage. “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? Matthew 7:3NIV Sigh. Do I have to always come back to this? In seeking God desperately those early, troubled years of our marriage, the Holy Spirit revealed that my complaints about Ray say more about me than they do him. Whatever is “wrong” with Ray, I have a logging truck full of planks myself that the poor fella has to deal with. Am I willing to let God deal with that truth and joust me off my high horse? Marriage is God’s workshop for spiritual transformation in conforming us to his image (Rom 8:29). One of the two most important commandments—to love one another—happens here first. And we can only do that if we love God first, just exactly as he said (Mt 22:37-40). Nine years ago, I could have walked and sought out some other guy who better fit my woefully misguided image of the perfect mate, only to be tormented by a truly grievous mistake. Instead, by some miracle of grace and the super-glue of Divinely-ordained circumstances, I stayed and trusted God to work this, too, out for my good (Prov 3:5-6). So, whether you’re a newlywed and the honeymoon is truly over, or you’re 20 years in and can’t stand the sight of your man…
January 2013 | Page 4 Seek God to fill your ‘love tank.’ Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. John 6:35NIV The answer remains Jesus. Marriage, it turns out, is not the cure for all that ails me. And Ray, it turns out, is not responsible for meeting my every emotional need, satisfying my every want, and solving my problems, though he is God’s chosen partner for me on this journey (Ecc 4:9). No, God is the only wellspring from which agape love and contentment flow. In seeking God first, we find our restlessness, discontent, errant longing, and sense of entitlement quieted (Ph:11- 13). Today, I marvel at how God made what seemed an unlikely pairing, answering my prayer for his perfect match, even while I lamented my choice. When discomfort comes, we can start looking to the world’s solutions to alleviate it, and just short-circuit and prolong God’s process. Better to enter into God’s work, with faithful cooperation and a willing heart, trusting him to work it out for our good (Prov 3:5-6).
God is able. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33NIV It’s admittedly easy to embrace this perspective from the mountaintop; far less so from the valley. But God tells us to give thanks for all things (1Th 5:18) and rest confidently in his peace (Ph 4:7). He knows this suffering—even through the worst marital challenges—is fleeting. It’s helped me to know—in marriage and in life—that there will be tough times…and something beyond them. The upshot is that if it seems that the death knoll has tolled for your marriage, you can trust God can turn it around if you give it to him (Ph 4:6). And if you’re on the mountaintop today, know the hard times may come, but that by staying the course, you will fulfill God’s perfect will for you. We can’t underestimate what God can do in us and in our marriages (Eph 3:20)! If God can do it for a hard case like me, he can do it for you!
Proverbs 12:4, Proverbs 21:19, Mark 10:11-12, 1 Corinthians 7:1-16, 2 Corinthians 6:14, Hebrews 13:4-7, Malachi 2:16, etc… Confess and repent as needed, and bring your broken pieces to God, the Almighty Master Repairman who loves you and longs to heal you and your marriage.
Thank You, Father, for my husband. Help me to see him and our marriage through Your eyes, and to allow You to use our union for Your glory. In Christ’s name, Amen.
Not feeling the love? Here's what I got.