You Can Trust God When Your Marriage Is in Trouble
By: Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth & Robert Wolgemuth
Every marriage starts out with hopes and dreams. But when those hopes are crushed and the dreams turn to dust through rejection, betrayal, or neglect, it can be painfully difficult to trust in God’s providential love and care. If that’s true for you – or someone you love – the following stories can serve as an encouragement and a reminder that God is faithful and loving, no matter what happens in your closest relationships.
“Carla and Michael” have been married for over forty years. When they started out, Carla was convinced that Michael, a man with plenty of financial means, was her ticket to happiness. But things didn’t quite work out that way. In fact, Carla and Michael have been separated three times. Two of those times were the result of his addiction and substance abuse. During their second separation, in the mid-1980s, Carla and Michael both came to faith in Christ. But Michael’s ongoing struggle with substance abuse continued to disrupt their marriage. And four months before their forty-first anniversary, they separated for the third time. Carla’s heart was broken.
“I’m nearly sixty-five,” she said. “I don’t know if I can go through this again!” Ten years earlier, Carla had begged Michael to stop drinking. And for ten years he had lied to her, drinking behind her back, partying in secret, missing key life and family events, and frequently falling ill because of too much alcohol. For all practical purposes, Michael had checked out of his life and marriage. Carla couldn’t trust anything he said or did. So she learned to do life on her own and make her own plans. There was no more “we” in the marriage.
In response to the dysfunction and hurt, Carla acknowledges, “I became a ‘control girl.’ It was a struggle to keep trusting God to work in our lives and marriage.” But she clung to the truth expressed by author Jerry Bridges: “Because His love cannot fail, He will allow into our lives only the pain and heartache that is for our ultimate good.” And as she pressed into God’s Word day after day, her heart was encouraged with His promises.
Carla asked the Lord to help her desire Him above all else, even more than she longed for her husband, who was still in rehab as the Christmas season began. They were apart for the holidays and for her sixty-fifth birthday. After Michael spent three months in rehab, she and Michael began counseling together with a godly professional. And she prayed constantly. In the process, her heart continued to soften toward her husband, and she learned to live one day at a time, trusting God for every tomorrow. Throughout the most difficult times, she experiences the nearness and goodness of the Lord.
During what turned into a nearly-year-long separation, there were some painfully hard days, but there were also some really sweet ones – the kind of days she had stopped hoping for. After a year of sobriety, Michael moved back home. Recently Carla texted me with an encouraging update:
“Tomorrow is our forty-second anniversary – and it’s a wow! We are only together by the grace of God. Brand new marriage. Better than ever. Honestly I didn’t think that it was possible to have this kind of relationship with Michael. I continue to be amazed by God and my brand-new husband. The Lord has led me into a rest and peace I’ve not experiences before. Ephesians 3:20!!!!”
Michael and Carla’s story is still being written – as is our story and as is yours. There will be more tests and challenges ahead, as their lives and marriage are being molded to be more like Jesus. But they have experienced the power of His covenant-keeping love to make all things new. They have witnessed His power to turn a mess into a miracle. And God is giving them a message of grace to share with others.
Taken from You Can Trust God to Write Your Story: Embracing the Mysteries of Providence by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth & Robert Wolgemuth (©2019). Published by Moody Publishers. Used by permission.
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Originally published Friday, 08 July 2022.