I have seen marriages in flames as if given up as burnt offering—some in which the embers were barely warm. These relationships have been in need of divine marriage help.
Marriage Help: Can This Marriage Be Saved?
A mentor of mine once said to me, “Marriage can be the closest anyone can get to heaven in this life.” Of course, it could also be said that it can also rival that other place. I have been single, married, a widower, and have had a second blessing in marriage. I have also become convinced that this world is designed to tear apart what God has joined together.
My wife, Cheryl, said to me before we wed, “Let’s make sure the trouble out there never gets between us.” This world will try its best to drive a wedge between a couple and convince them that the problem is the “other.” As a result, the one flesh begins to sever. Part of marriage therapy is to push back against the forces of evil and preserve the WE posture.
Bone of our Bone, Flesh of our Flesh
God created mankind, male and female. He looked at the man and said, “This is not good, the man being alone.” So, God took a side out of Adam and built, or elaborated Eve/Havvah. Because it was not good for the man to be alone, he will leave his mother and father and cleave to his wife and the two shall become one flesh. (Genesis 2:24) As Christians, we also become one in Christ. What God has joined together, let no man tear apart. (Mark 10:9)
I wonder if we might better say: Let no weapon, power, or principality tear down what God has put together.
For God said, it is not good for man to be alone or separated. (Genesis 2:18) Some theologians argue that the male and female God created shared a body until the Great Surgeon took a side from Adam and built Eve/Havvah. We can say, when Adam got his first glimpse of Eve, he found himself in her. She was to be a “help-meet.” This kind of help is often found in examples of God as Israel’s help.
I wonder if we might better say that God gave divine help to Adam.
Here is what is fascinating to me. In this context, we associate the word “help” with divine help, and then the word “meet,” which is a preposition. This is fun to watch:
Divine help – behind
Divine help – beside
Divine help – in front
Divine help – opposite
Is the help pushing from behind? Is the help walking alongside? Is the help pulling from in front? Is the help opposing? This is the position and role of the divinely sent helper. My wife!
When I was courting my wife, I wrote to her: To pursue you is to pursue me. Her heart was so lost in God, I had to pursue Him to find her. A man cleaves to what was inside him and is now manifested externally. He finds himself in another. A man who would listen to his divine help has found a good thing. He would then easily dedicate himself to her and give his life for her, as Christ did for the Church.
Blessed be the couple whose husband listens to his wife as divine help.
Cheryl recently reminded me of a poem I had written about her. In part, here is how it reads:
One day the neighbors called and said their cat was in labor,
so we all went down to watch.
One baby came breach.
I thought, mom and baby are going to die.
Cheryl simple reached in
and turned baby.
Momma purred and licked her baby clean.
When I was trying to birth my Master’s Thesis
My Private Practice
My teaching seminars
and needed help
you know what she did –
she reached in and turned them.
When I feel stuck, a project I am working on is a breach, I know Cheryl can find a way when I think, “There is no way, momma and baby are going to die.” It took some time for me to recognize her gifts. It took some time for me to grow ears to hear.
Here is a proverb often quoted regarding children: “Train up a child in the way they should go and when they are old they will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)
A closer look reveals this piece of wisdom aims at finding the unique “way” of your child. Parents can see into their children in a way no other can – and discern the “way” and even the gifts she may have. As I wrote that piece about Cheryl, I was feeling grateful for what she did with the mother birthing the baby. Then I discovered “her way.”
Remember my mentor? He said the marriage relationship can be the closest thing to heaven we can experience in this life. Well, he also said, we must recognize the gifts and abilities our mates have. We were talking about the roles of husband and wife.
Here’s an example of my wife’s gifting and ability. Cheryl and I agreed that we would always present a united front to our children. Our daughter, Krishell, had eczema as a preschooler. It was my job when I came home from work to goop her up with lotion. I was having a tough time of it because Krishell would wriggle and dance and I couldn’t get the job done.
One evening, Cheryl walked by as I performed our evening ritual, and said, “She doesn’t do that with me.” Cheryl is a first-grade teacher and knows how to get the job done. I wanted the time with Krishell to be special and fun. Cheryl and I talked about how to apply a little “discipline” upfront and father and daughter could have fun and get the job done.
Here’s an example of my gifting and ability. When Krishell was a teen, she was a great negotiator. She could drive her mom to distraction with yet another good reason why she should be allowed to do or go in some way that made Cheryl uncomfortable. One evening, I walked by and said, “She doesn’t do that to me.” Privately, Cheryl and I had a good laugh and talked about the “discipline” she might apply in her negotiations with Krishell.
We have talked, in this article, about divine marriage help and how it may present as a push or a pull, or a walk alongside, or in opposition in front. And now we have touched on the unique “way” of your spouse, the divine help, and how to recognize it and apply it as an ally in a world bent on destroying that union.
In my next article, Second Thoughts on Marriage, we’ll address couples in crisis, pain, and discouragement. Listening and respect might be huge miracles at that stage. I tell couples we serve a mighty God, and I have witnessed the raising of dead marriages.
It is good medicine to keep your marriage strong and to get marriage help and enrichment. Sometimes the first sign for needed marriage therapy is when one or both of you is thinking of quitting and getting out. God calls dead things into life. My joy in life is to be a servant in this call to life. Feel free to give me a call or schedule an appointment online in our online counselor directory. I look forward to hearing from you!
“View”, Courtesy of Justin Groep, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Holding Hands”, Courtesy of Shelby Deeter, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Love and Laughter”, Courtesy of Renate Vanaga, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “The Word of God”, Courtesy of Aaron Burden, Unsplash.com, CC0 License