Revealing the Cracks: A Story of a Marriage in Crisis
By Gina Smith
“For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” - Philippians 2:13
It’s hard to believe that Brian and I have been married for 31 years. Our children are grown and married, and we have entered the “empty nest” season of life.
When we take the time to reflect back over 31 years of marriage, it is encouraging to see how far God has brought us. I am so thankful that we serve a gracious God who gently opens our eyes to the areas in our lives where we are in error and where we need to grow. He not only exposes those areas but He changes our hearts, teaches the right way to live, and heals the damage that has been done because of negligence or faulty thinking.
Two years after we were married, we had our first child. Three years later, we had our second. We became so consumed with the daily life of working, supporting a family, raising and caring for our children, that we neglected to carve out much time for the two of us to be alone.
We were walking through life side by side, but we were rarely taking the time to turn towards each other and look into each other’s eyes.
We thought we were okay, but we weren’t, and eventually it began to show.
Thankfully when the cracks were revealed and it was evident that we were beginning to fall apart, God provided a godly couple who began to help us pick up the pieces. They also took the time to help us reflect back over the years and identify what it was that caused the cracks to begin in the first place. We were able to see where we had neglected some very important areas in our relationship and began the rebuilding and strengthening process.
Even though I do not buy into all that our culture promotes as “romance,” I do believe that romance and deep love are vital in a marriage relationship. A marriage where two people merely co-exist because they have to is not what God intended. But a healthy relationship doesn’t just happen. It takes work. It takes commitment. Like any other relationship, the marriage relationship needs to be nurtured.
After members of the body of Christ helped us to get back on our feet, we were able to move forward. With their encouragement and continued prayer that God would knit our hearts together, God began to work in our marriage. He is continuing that work today and we will have to depend on Him to do that work until we die.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to grow old and stale in ANY area of my life, and especially in my marriage. I am not content to coast through life with a man I don’t know very well, and with whom love has not been nurtured.
I am so very thankful that God showed us the cracks in our marriage before it was too late. Working hard to keep love alive in a marriage does have its benefits for me. I am much happier with the way things are now. But you know what? It’s not all about me…
3 Reasons to Nurture Your Marriage Relationship:
God wants to use your marriage to point others to Himself. Marriage is one of the ways others can see God. God has set the standard for marriage. It is meant to be a life-long covenant in the same way that He is committed to His people. Becoming one flesh is a portrayal of the covenant between Christ and his church, and marriage is meant to display this kind of covenant-keeping love between Christ and his church.
When we strive to nurture our marriage relationship and glorify Him in that way, it is a picture of God’s relationship to us.
“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.” - Ephesians 5:31-32
When the marriage relationship is nurtured God is glorified. We must persevere and be intentional to nurture our relationship with our spouses. The enemy would love to see cracks form so that he can get in there and create division and steal glory from God. When we love each other in the way God has loved us, making the nurturing of our marriage relationship a high priority, we are sacrificially loving in the way God has loved us.
"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another." - John 13:34
Join me in the fight to glorify God by nurturing the relationship with your spouse. And remember, it’s now about you! It’s about God, pointing others to Him, and bringing Him the glory He deserves.
Gina Smith is a writer and author who has been married for 31 years to Brian, a college professor and athletic trainer. For the past 20+ years, Gina and her husband have served on a Christian college campus as the on-campus parents, and her husband has been a professor and dean of students. They have lived on the campus where they raised both of their now married children. In her spare time, she loves to write, writes for several websites, and recently authored her first book “Grace Gifts: Practical Ways To Help Your Children Understand God's Grace." She also writes at her personal blog: ginalsmith.com.
You want a happy family who’s growing closer to God and each other every day. But how do you break down the barriers to a loving marriage? How can you connect with your kids and help them in their struggles? How does your faith make a real difference in your family’s life?
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Originally published Thursday, 10 November 2022.