It was an overcast April morning. I stood in the fellowship hall of our family’s church. My heart was racing as I peered through the stained-glass window into the sanctuary. The stained glass blurred my view, but it appeared to be a full house.
I wasn’t sure why I was anxious, but I couldn’t mistake the butterflies in my stomach.. I had no doubt that Liz and I were supposed to be married, but with a sanctuary full of the most treasured people in my life, I was nervous.
In that moment, some of my groomsmen grabbed me on the shoulder and we huddled into an intimate circle. And there, minutes before I walked toward the altar, we prayed together. Their prayer gave me a sense of calm confidence that I was ready to take this next step.
During the ceremony, Liz and I stood with our backs to those in attendance. However, in an uncharacteristic move, the pastor stopped in the middle of the service. His intentional pause was followed by these words:
“I don’t usually do this, but I’m going to ask you to turn around. I want you to see all of the people who are in the stands, in the balcony, watching, cheering for you. And remember, there are many who have gone before us who stand in the balcony as well. They cheering too.”
My soon-to-be wife and I slowly rotated to see a church full of some of the most beloved people in our life. This was our family, these were our mentors, these were our friends. Our eyes welled up in deep appreciation, and we gripped each other’s hand tightly. What a beautiful picture of those we love coming alongside us, cheering us on as we began our lives together.
Then, marriage happened.
Marriage is Under Attack
Since our wedding day, we have experienced seven address changes, financial turmoil, infertility struggles, infidelity, marriage counseling, four (soon-to-be five) kids, illness, death, and cancer—just to name a few.
These circumstances have threatened the vows that were spoken that day and have given us numerous opportunities to throw in the towel. Curiously enough, the circumstances attack us at the root. But that’s not surprising. If you want to destroy a tree, you must dig up its roots.
That’s precisely why marriage is the most attacked establishment in our culture today.
Ten Years Later
Ten years after our vows, my wife and I haven’t thrown in the towel. I don’t write that to boast or pass judgement on couples whose stories have taken a different path. I write it for the husband or wife who is wondering if their marriage is worth fighting for.
It hasn’t been easy, but our marriage has been a beautiful picture of grace. Trust broken. Trust restored. Love abused, yet given still. In that way, the Gospel has been intimately revealed through our marriage.
That’s why it’s worth fighting for and that’s exactly why it’s under attack.
Because the enemy believe that if he can corrupt the institution, it will cause us to question our Creator. If he can disrupt the most glorious promise of God’s love, maybe we’ll forget that He loves us at all.
Doubt vs. Faith
We have been fooled to believe that doubt cannot coexist with faith—that doubt is a big, ugly sin. Therefore, if we doubt our marriage, if we doubt our ability to persist, or if we doubt what God is doing in our life, then we’ve already lost.
Friends doubt is not a sin. It simply gives us the opportunity to choose what we are going to believe.
That means that doubt provides us with the opportunity to grow.
Instead of letting doubt contradict our faith, allow it to become fuel.
If you can’t stomach the thought of ending up like your own parents…
If the pain from your childhood is being relived within the walls of your own home…
If your job and the demands of your schedule have taken priority over your family…
If your desire to provide for your family has stripped you of your identity within your family…
If you’ve chosen addiction or infidelity to escape the unhappiness…
If you’re standing on a crumbling foundation….
If your marriage feels broken…
I still believe there’s hope.
Let Go of Your Understanding
When two individuals are willing to release their own understanding and serve each other out of love, it paints a beautiful picture of the One who would humble Himself to show us this same type of love.
If you find yourself in the storm today, be encouraged. There is a moment, when you persevere through the trial, that you’ll look back and see a testimony of His grace and His presence in the midst of it.
And if you’re thinking that time has already passed, think again. God often delivers His people at the darkest point. Just at the point when everyone is patting down the dirt on the grave, God brings the dead thing back to life. He promises that He will orchestrate your story for good, brokenness and all, if you submit it to Him.
As a guy who wondered if it was worth the fight, I’m here to tell you that it is. And that’s why I’m willing to fight for you.
I’m writing this to cheer you on because I believe that your marriage can reflect the power and glory of God—if you let it.