Do Not Fear the Hard Things of Marriage

The picture in my head was clear, the image of a sheep being guided along from the rear by its shepherd. The sheep stayed the course on the straight path by the taps of the staff to its hindquarters. I heard the Lord say: “Do not fear, I will guide you and protect you.”

God was speaking to my heart as I confronted my fears of marriage. I was dating my husband at the time and fear tethered me back from going forward in the relationship. I was afraid of putting myself in a vulnerable position, because it could possibly lead to hurt. I wanted a life devoid of personal pain and heartache. I wanted to take my own hands and shelter my heart, instead of placing it into the hands of my Father…

Read the rest at desiringGod.org >>

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12 thoughts on “Do Not Fear the Hard Things of Marriage”

  1. Many of your articles, including this one, are such an encouragement to me in the chapter of life I’m currently in; I always eagerly look forward to your next piece!

      1. I can’t remember exactly, but I think I probably did find the first article of yours I ever read on Desiring God, since that is a blog/site that I regularly follow.
        It seems like most of the advice articles for unmarried Christians I’ve read over the years focus so much on “not settling” and such that it leads one to think that when you do find the right person, everything is just going to fall perfectly into place. More recently, I have been finding articles that, like yours, talk about imperfection and struggle, and the blessings in the struggles.
        The way you speak of these realities of godly relationships is such a breath of fresh air as, at 31 years old, I look toward marriage to the man I am dating. Your articles especially speak to my heart since I tend toward over-thinking and perfectionistic thinking.
        God bless you, your family and your writing!

  2. For anyone who has suffered the pain of failure and disappointment in marriage (which is anyone who’s been married more than a short time), this is an encouraging and Godly alternative to cynicism and disengagement. I am convicted, encouraged, inspired.

  3. Two things that really resonated with me (1) you were honest about trying to protect yourself from hurt and (2) God reached out to comfort your fears.
    We need to have both eyes wide open before we get married and let the Spirit lead us, but problems will arise. Christian marriage is an intimate relationship between two sinners saved by grace. Both spouses still have a sin nature and live in a fallen world.
    Marriage is one of God’s best tools for sanctification in the life of His children. It makes us face our deficiencies and our continual need of grace. And those things that come up over and over—they’re the practice that makes perfect, as God works to conform us to the image of Christ.
    I believe God designed marriage to be a blessing and He’ll help us when it’s not 🙂

  4. I am having a hard time understanding why Submission for husbands is confused with leadership over the wife. It is a redefinition that takes the husband out of the actual practice of submission. Leadership is not submission. Leading is not the same as loving. Ephesians 5 never uses the word ‘authority’ or ‘lead’ in connection with the husband. Explain please. Thank you.

    1. Thanks for the comment! I honestly still wrestle with these concepts myself. I think it’s good to keep discussing them openly, because practically in marriage it all looks so different. I think the leadership comes in, because the passage talks about the husband being a head, like Christ. That word connotes some sort of leadership and authority. But the loving part comes in, because that is exactly how a husband should exercise that headship: through loving. That is exactly how Jesus exercised leadership and authority, by laying it down and being a servant, putting us first and loving us. Paul is showing us here that Jesus turns leadership and authority on its head, and it goes against what we wold normally associate with leadership and authority. That said, husbands submit too and wives exercise types of leadership in marriage too. Practically speaking that is. My husband has deferred to me many times and there are many times I’ve led the way on things in our marriage. Lets be honest, husbands have a hard time loving their wives in the way that Christ does. Exactly why Paul would target them here in this specific way. And lets face it, because of this very reason it is hard for us wives to submit in love and respect to our husbands when we need to. Exactly why Paul brings that aspect in too. Does any of that help?

  5. Thank you for your reply. It is refreshing to see that you are open to discussion on this issue.

    I looked up the word ‘head’ in my Strongs Complete Dictionary of Bible Words.

    #2776. Kephale, kef-al-ay; prob. From the primary kapto ( in the sense of seizing); the head ( as the part most readily taken hold of), lit. Or fig. —– head.

    That is the totality of the definition of the word in this resource. It would seem to me that people are taking the figurative or metaphorical meaning and going beyond what the definition allows. There is no reference to authority or leadership in the definition of the Greek word Kephale/Head.

    I noticed that Ephesians 5:23 does not use the word ‘over’ but uses the word ‘of’……Husband head of the wife. Christ head of church. Savior of the body. It is telling to me that the leadership/authority of the husband is never mentioned in any of these passages. Submission of believing spouses ‘one to another’ ( Ephesians 5:21) is always overlooked in a feverish effort to highlight verse 22. To accentuate verse 22 while ignoring verse 21 is indicative of the problem. In the ‘one to another’ passages such as verse 21…….are there exclusions? “One to another’, does not mean ” some to others’…….it is inclusive.

    The Churches highlight Ephesians 5:24 as well because it tells wives to be subject to thier husbands. Here again we ignore another ‘ one to another’ passage in favor of a wives only.

    1 Peter 5:5, Likewise ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder ( older). Yea, ALL OF YOU BE SUBJECT ONE TO ANOTHER, and be clothed with humility : for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.

    Who is excluded in subjection in this passage……..no one.

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