If It Can Happen to Al and Tipper Gore, It Can Happen to Anyone, that read the headline of a June 10th article written by Marco Lavanna on RINF.com. It expresses a sentiment that any and every marriage is subject to failing. While it is true that marriages continue to face trials and strains that lead them to divorce. However, for Christian marriages, there still remains a source of hope and wisdom for your marriage.
The recent separation of former Vice President Al and wife Tipper Gore after 40 years of marriage, is causing many to question the durability of marriage. After all, the Gore’s decades long marriage, had appeared to endure the inevitable pressures and strains any marriage faces, as well as the heightened strains of public life.
The Gore’s separation is bringing to light the disheartening “grey divorce” phenomena. Grey divorce refers to the swelling ranks of older couples, particularly in their 60’s, that are divorcing after decades of marriage. For what I call “actively married” couples - raising children, chasing dual incomes and responsibility laden - seeing older couples call it quits is proving to be particularly challenging. What are we to make of our parents generation dissolving their marriages, at a time when they should be looking forward to enjoying their golden years together? While there is not just one answer, the common threads tend to be: growing apart, a desire for independence and the cumulative effects of years of strain.
As I pondered this disturbing trend, God directed my attention to the biblical marriage of Job and his wife. If any couple can convey and provide insight to building a relationship that endures the ravages of marital hurt and pain, it is Job and his wife. Together they demonstrate positive and negative approaches to dealing with the painful circumstances straining their marriage.
Job and Mrs. Job - Trust in God Job’s story starts out pretty enviable. Job is called the greatest man of the east, a man of honor, dignity, great wealth and great faith. However, into this enviable life, God allows Satan to attack Job and he loses all of his material possessions - his money, 401k, job security, occupation, dignity, honor, status, and eventually his 10 children - all gone in a matter of a few hours! God then allows Satan to inflict Job’s health as sores and boils cover his body from head to toe.
This total loss of everything - wealth, financial security, children and his health brought great strain to their marriage as Job’s wife said, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die!” Not exactly the picture of spousal support that we are looking for in tough times. But rather than criticize Mrs. Job’s reaction we have to face the reality that we too encounter circumstances that cause us to say, like Job’s wife, I just can’t take it anymore, I want out of this marriage - I want a divorce!
Yet, at their most critical juncture, Job exercises a determined trust in God that provides us with hope, as he states, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I shall return there. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord”.
Job was not dissuaded by the overwhelming circumstance nor was he putting his trust in his wife. Rather, he exercised a trust in God independent of his wife’s actions. Just think for a minute where would Job have been if his trust was solely in his wife? Who Are You?
When tough times intrude the peace of your marriage, who are you? Are you Job that views life’s punches as God’s sovereign prerogative and remains confident in God (cf. Job 2:10b; 19:25), or are you Mrs. Job that became overwhelmed with the circumstance and therefore becomes of no help to her spouse?
Whoever you might be right now, look at the example of Job. Eventually, God restores Job’s trust during his ordeal by rewarding him with double the material assets he lost. Then in Job 42:13, God rewarded Job, and consequently his wife, with ten more children.
While we, like Job and his wife, cannot always control the tough situations we will encounter in our marriage, we can, like Job, determine to trust the Lord.
- Trust the “tough stuff” of your Marriage to God
- Trust God more than you trust yourself or your spouse
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