why now?

As my husband and I look back on our marriage and realize how many years (more than a dozen) of them were spent in an unfulfilling, unhappy existence, I’ve found myself wondering “Why now, God? Why not before? Why wait for such a length of time before You showed us what is real, what is true, and what You want our marriage to be?”

I think I found my answer. Another participant (Gemma) on the TMB boards (see the link in the left-hand column) said this:

God doesn’t force His way into our marriage, nor does He restore it when one spouse (or both) continues living in sin towards the other spouse. God is holy and cannot live in an unholy vessel.

Yowza. That hit me like a ton of bricks and immediately I recognized the why and the when of my queries.

God could have given me my awakening many years ago. He could have led me down a path of restoration in my marriage, mind, and heart many years ago. He didn’t because He didn’t force Himself in to our relationship. He is a Gentleman and waited until we were ready to invite Him and His work in. Keeping in mind that this is more than just saying words in a marriage ceremony, it’s the creating and embracing of the “a cord of three strands” that is spoken of in Ecclesiastes 4:12. If God had given me healing and an awakening in the midst of our troubled-relational years, it would have been the equivalent of giving us an “unequal yoking,” or setting our relationship up for ultimate failure.

God understands more than we do how a marriage where one spouse is walking intimately with Him and the other spouse isn’t can fall apart at the seams. It’s a strain and a struggle — and oftentimes, the gulch between the spouses is too much to overcome. One spouse tends to feel “unworthy” and as though s/he cannot measure up to the perceived “holiness” in the other spouse, and the gulch becomes a chasm. I know it would have in our relationship, despite the fact that we were both Christ-followers. To have me walking in freedom and emotional health without my husband’s participation would have sent him spiraling down in to guilt and further addictive behaviour in an attempt to numb the pain, silence the guilt, and the find the missing piece to his puzzle. God was not going to do that in our relationship; He waited until my husband was serious about stepping out of his addiction and walking away from it before He moved and began the miraculous restoration and healing.

Could God have begun my awakening without my husband’s healing? Yes, but it probably would have involved him being removed from the equation (by either death or divorce). And then the awakening wouldn’t have been what it is now — a combination of healing and freedom. It probably would have been healing only, as I wouldn’t have had an outlet (a God-ordained outlet) for sexual freedom if I was widowed or divorced.

It wasn’t a matter of not wanting healing badly enough, either. Wanting it wouldn’t have helped me — I didn’t know there was anything wrong with me or anything that needed healing. And it’s not that I didn’t realize our relationship was broken — it’s that I had no clue that it could be any different. Sure, we struggled (individually, not corporately) with the porn addiction and my husband struggled with his SGA and the demons that tormented him, but I figured that all couples have that a struggle of some kind. And when I gathered up enough courage to ask a friend of mine about the frequency of lovemaking in their marriage, she was shockingly embarrassed that I even asked the question (because she thought of it as a breach of Christian protocol, I guess) and then said, “Maybe once a month….” so okay, our frequency was less than that, but geez … what was I going to DO about it?

I lived with it. I wanted it to be different but somehow accepted that this was my “lot in life” and was just the way it was going to be. After all, it was my own father who put ideas in to my head that whatever bad happened was brought on by me (and whatever I had done wrong to deserve it) and that no man would want to marry me (underlying text: be intimate with me) because I didn’t look like Calista Flockhart. I didn’t think I deserved anything more out of life than what I had — as though I had to “settle” for whatever I got and deserved whatever amount of discomfort was in my life. As though I was not worthy of more.

And the lies defined me, but all the while, God was waiting to be invited in to our marriage in a new and abiding way. He wanted to replace the lies in my head with His love and His Truth, but waited. He waited for my husband to be serious about giving up his addiction and wanting to be free from it, and then He moved.

This is such a lightbulb in my head and heart right now. There are other aspects and considerations to take in to account, but wow! This one is huge and explains so much of God’s timing and movement in our marriage.

If you’re holding out for an awakening (either yours or your spouse’s), keep holding on and waiting on God. Pray, love, and seek Him. I think Gemma’s words are incredibly true and provide hope — this isn’t to blame one spouse or another for a lack of awakening, but it is food for thought. Ask God for wisdom and enlightenment — He will provide them. And then keep holding on to Hope and Him — wait expectantly for what you know is possible and wait to see how God blows your hopes and expectations out of the water. He will, because this is what He created marriage to be.

His and his,

~Cori.

This entry was posted on 131118H Oct 2008 and is filed under Awakening, Forgiveness, Marriage Building, Path to Healing. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

  • Neko-chan

    I love you… Your words are always just what I need to refresh me when I feel like no one out there understands…

    As an engaged-but-previously-intimate-couple, my fiance and I have had many discussions about our past sexual relationship and what we want to be different when we are married and begin that relationship again, this time blessed and santified by God… That in turn lead to discussion on the aspects of addiction and denial that plagued us for so long and etc… I would question often the “whys and why nots” of freedom and healing and wonder why God didn’t intervene before, before it got *that bad*.

    So your revelation that God won’t force Himself into our relationship is a very key answer. “God is holy and cannot live in an unholy vessel.” There ya go. We weren’t by any means being holy. And He could not live in and work in our relationship as it was.

    Thank you for being so open about your healing and struggles. Your thoughts are of imeasurable value to me… And I thank God that He is always faithful to work in our hearts and prepare us for what lies ahead, even when it is something that we think we could have done without. :)