Romans 15:13 New Living Translation (NLT)
13 I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Doug and I have often been asked by couples seeking to rebuild their broken marriages to give them a 12-step program to fix it. Because, when you are in the depths of the valley, you just want a plan to get out—quickly. Most often though, God will lead us the long way home because there are life lessons that can only be learned along the road less traveled. Although we do not offer a 12-step program, we do offer them hope- IF they make their first step: Trust in Him.
As we’ve shared in our conferences, small groups and mentoring sessions, this is the step that changed our lives- and our marriage. In 2001, when all my hopes and dreams were shattered and Doug was desperate for help to be released from the bondage of sexual sin, we both had to make a choice. Were we going to walk away from our 5-year marriage with 2 kids or were we going to trust God- and learn how to once again trust each other?
The trusting God part was a tad bid easier for me, because I didn’t have any evidence of Him hurting or disappointing me. Doug, on the other hand, had repeatedly lied to me about his battle with pornography and consequently hidden much of his life from me due to the shame he was carrying.
Although I felt like it would be easier to run away, I decided to choose, as an act of my will, to give him one more chance. Hoping, beyond all hope that one day, I would be able to trust him again. I then gave him my list of demands:
-He had to go to counseling
-He had to get rid of all internet access
-He had to find a way to pay the bills (he was suspended for 30 days from his job, without pay because his company had been monitoring his internet usage, keeping record of all the sites he viewed).
After he agreed, I became a full-fledged control freak, forcing him to report every detail of his day to me. I convinced myself that is was for his own good because he needed to be accountable to someone, right!
I, however, was not acting as his accountability partner- at least not at first. Because I was the offended, I felt I had the “right” to be his warden, controlling everything he did…so I could ensure his perfection and rebuild the trust I had lost in him. What I didn’t realize, until God intervened, was that I had to trust God first. I had to trust that God loved me and would take care of me and that His plans for my life were for good. I also had to trust God with Doug. I had to trust that God loved him and would take care of him and that His plans for his life were for good. And so, I had to let go of trying to control my life- and Doug’s…and HOPE that God would heal our broken marriage, redeem what was stolen and use all of it for our good.
When I realized that I could not be Doug’s savior or break the power of sin in his life, I no longer had to hold on to his offenses against me and be angry all the time. I could have joy…and peace…even in the midst of my walk through the valley.
12 years later, as I look back over our journey together as man and wife, I am amazed at the awesome redemptive power of our Creator and I am honored to have a husband who is a man after God’s own heart- and a man of great integrity. I trust him, in all areas of our life together-completely.