May the God of peace . . . make you complete in every good work to do His will. Hebrews 13:20-21
One couple we knew described the first seven years of their marriage as "the great tribulation." David and I knew well what they meant. The early years of our marriage were, to put it mildly, very difficult. We were attempting to mature into a loving couple, and we thought that loving each other would come naturally. When it didn't, we did our fair share of finger-pointing and blaming. Of course, finger-pointing seemed almost appropriate when we were sixteen. But when we were still doing it at thirty-six, the problem seemed more acute.
The early years of marriage can feel like military boot camp. The pain and stress can be intense. Some of our early training included facing the shocking reality that without Christ it's impossible to live marriage as intended.
David became a Christian at age twenty-one, and after that came training in what it meant to have the anointing of the Holy Spirit on our lives and to have God's Word as the foundation of truth for living. Next came dealing with the pervasive and subtle hold that selfishness had on our lives. Brokenness before the Lord and one another brought miraculous healing to our lives. Pain was everywhere, but a "completing" work was underway.
God uses our marital pains and hurts to train us to be truly loving people. Marriage is a training ground for the refinement of our character. God wants us to let the hardships increase our tolerance and strength.
Marriage doesn't bring happiness every day, but if we remain teachable, it will bring maturity.
What specific lessons have the trials in your marriage taught you? What positive changes in your character have come from these times of pain?
God, thank You for using marriage to train me to be more loving.
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