Times of change strain a marriage. The change may be as basic as the addition of a child or a move to a new job or home, but it may be as individual as a diagnosed illness or a broken relationship. The fingers of change reach into every husband and wife’s relationship, never respecting age, season of life, economy, or capacity. God allows change, and He uses it for our good if we allow Him to.
Maybe your marriage is feeling the strain of a change right now, bracing for one you sense is coming, or recovering from one that threatened to crush you. Change can be good, even if it is hard. Has change made your marriage stronger or left it limping forward?
This past week we welcomed 5 different couples for our Global Conference. When it’s over each year, I always feel the need to stop for a while, to sort and savor our time together before things like monthly bills, events, and packing lunches takes over. This year’s group spanned all different life stages, two couples bringing babes in tow for the first time, and one pair free of kid-companions for the first time. As my global girlfriends shared their lives with me this week, a common theme echoed through our conversations: our lives are filled with changes that leave us asking God for wisdom.
If missionary marriages are reminded of their needs by life’s unstoppable changes, the rest of us should expect the same. Life changes can cause husbands and wives to feel distant, to struggle to understand each other, to wrestle for agreement, to work at finding common solutions, and to fight the urge to harbor hurt or count failure.
Being a follower of Christ doesn’t mean we’re insulated from the blows of change, and it doesn’t mean we get an automatic “pass” to victoriously navigating the pressure change brings. In listening to the 5 wives share about changes they’re facing around the world, I heard some truths that cross all cultures and all seasons of married life.
What change can do in marriage
- Change can give the Enemy an opportunity
- Change can expose our weaknesses
- Change can remind us of our need for wisdom
- Change can improve our communication
- Change can shake our confidence
- Change can strengthen couples who face it together
- Change can provide an opportunity to learn
- Change can develop humility in our attitudes
- Change can create a model for our kids
- Change can glorify God when we are faithful
So what change has a grip on your married life right now? Job change? Menopausal change? Family change? Empty nesting change? Schedule change? Extended family change? New child change? Or are you restless that “change” is looming in your 2013? It probably is.
Change will strain your marriage, but you can let God use the pressure to make you stronger.
“But he knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold. My foot has held fast to his steps; I have kept his way and have not turned aside.” (Job 23:10-11)