You Can’t Achieve Peace in Your Marriage - Crosswalk Couples Devotional - May 6

You Can’t Achieve Peace in Your Marriage
By Jen Ferguson

“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!” - Galatians 5: 22-23, NLT

I’ve spent a good portion of my life attempting to arrange my circumstances. In my mind, I fall prey to the lie that if everything is “just so” then I will have peace. If my husband is consistently taking care of his health, if my girls are living their best lives, if nothing in my house is breaking, my car is running, my work isn’t too overwhelming, nor too slow, if the financial picture looks cheery, and the general wheels of life keep churning as they should, peace is possible. Or so I believe. But when I operate my life as though this is the goal — to have every single aspect of my life in a good place so that I might achieve a peaceful state of living — I find myself stressed, tired, and continually unsatisfied. I am exactly the opposite in the moment of how I want to be in the next.

Why? Because God never intended us to manage all of our circumstances so that we might achieve peace. In fact, God never intended for us to manage all of our circumstances or achieve peace. A surrendered life means God’s in charge of the orchestration of our lives. And peace is not something for which we strive. It’s something we receive. A gift God has given us through his Holy Spirit.

What if there is a direct link between how much of our lives we’ve surrendered and how much peace permeates our lives? When I think back to major troubles Craig and I have experienced in our relationship, each one followed a similar pattern. After we identified the problem, I would launch into my plan to fix said problem. As a result of trying to make things better, I would often become controlling, anxious, and, at times, manipulative. My state of being was tense and closed-off because I was focused on what I believed needed changing and how that change would come about.

I know God wanted to offer his peace during this time, but I was in no posture to receive it. Hands fisted shut have a tough time receiving anything; to receive something our hands have to be open.

It wouldn’t be until I came to the end of myself that I was able to think of a new perspective or assume a different posture. All my striving, trying, and manipulating had to prove themselves unfruitful. It was in the literal throwing my hands up in the air that God would seize his opening to offer an alternative: surrender to his way.

And though there was little that was easy about giving up control, with it came an unexplainable peace and a rush of relief that I no longer had to be in charge. At my core, I knew that it’s what I should have done all along, because I knew who God is. I wasn’t surrendering to some willy-nilly being who left me wondering if I was forgiven, loved, and accepted. I wasn’t releasing my power to someone who wasn’t certain of his authority.

I get it — when things in our marriage are not as they should be, it is exceedingly difficult to feel at peace. It’s hard to surrender. But let’s remember to whom we are surrendering. God is all-knowing and ever-present. He sees us every day — all our pain, all our joy. He knows us from the inside out and loves us passionately with a love that can never run dry. He is a God who longs to scoop us up in the palm of his hand, who loves to look us square in the eyes and communicate his deep love for us. He is a God who promises his best for us. He is the God who created the world and everything in it and who has a plan to bring everything to perfection once again in his time.

We receive his peace when we remember who he is and who he created us to be, when we reach out our hands, releasing our circumstances and our wills to him. Taking his peace into our lives doesn’t mean everything is fixed or solved or perfect. But it does give us new perspective on our situation and ourselves. And when we see as God sees, it can change everything.

Jen Ferguson is a wife, author, and speaker who is passionate about helping couples thrive in their marriages. She and her husband, Craig, have shared their own hard story in their book, Pure Eyes, Clean Heart: A Couple’s Journey to Freedom from Pornography and are also creators of the Marriage Matters Prayer Cards. They continue to help couples along in their journeys to freedom and intimacy at The {K}not Project. Jen is also a mama to two girls and three high-maintenance dogs, which is probably why she runs. A lot. Even in the Texas heat.

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Originally published Monday, 06 May 2024.