Help For Crummy Marriages

Servants, be submissive to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are unreasonable. For this finds favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God a person bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly. For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God.

The epistle of 1 Peter contains an incredible amount of help and wise counsel for women who live under difficult or unjust authority. These 2 letters are the ones I most often recommend to women. 

While the above passage was written with servants and slaves in mind, we can transfer the principle to other relationships where there is a hierarchy.  There are certainly times a husband can be unreasonable and harsh, and in a difficult marriage this is often the case.  

Your marriage may bring you more pain than anything else. Perhaps your husband is distant emotionally. He might be acting as though he is depressed or uncaring.  You rarely speak or if there are words that pass between you, you would not call it “communication.” 

It is possible you do not sleep together in the same bed, or even the same room.  There may be no intimacy in your marriage and you are living as roommates and not lovers. This may be a new thing or maybe it has been going on for months or years already.  There is no oneness in your marriage.  

This is not what you signed up for.

If he is not a believer, you may be persecuted in your marriage.  Because you don’t want to do the things he wants to do you are called names like “Holy Roller” or “Miss High and Mighty” or “Jesus Freak.”  You object to his movies and music, some or all of his friends and social activities. 

You are lonely and rejected.  You wonder how all of this could have happened to you and the years ahead do not look promising for any positive change. 

My strong counsel to you is to maintain the side of righteousness when interacting with your husband, even if he is unkind or selfish. Instead of retaliating, use it as an opportunity to identify with your Savior.  Peter teaches us that we have been called to suffer as Christians and there may be times you will have to endure harsh and unrighteous treatment. 

How hard it is to not retaliate with hateful words when being verbally assaulted!  The Lord did not revile (pile up abusive and vile language) those who were reviling Him. He did not pitch a fit and threaten or scream and rant at those who were abusing Him.  He placed Himself in the hands of the Father, knowing that the Father is completely sovereign over the events that were taking place.  He placed Himself in the hands of God who is a righteous judge.  Jesus had no need to vindicate Himself and neither do you.

Your wonderful God is in the middle of your suffering and will be your defender.

The Lord Jesus left us an example of how to respond in a godly manner when being subjected to harsh treatment:

For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness.

There is no doubt this will not be easy, and you will not able to stand firm apart from the power of God.  With His help, you will be able to stand and do what is right. 

Memorizing the passages cited here today, or a verse such as 2 Timothy 1:7 will help you to remember that you have been given the ability to be self-controlled and withstand the temptation to retaliate against your husband. 

You want to be the picture of godliness to him and by God's grace, your loving actions and attitudes will cause him to desire what you have- a relationship with Jesus Christ. 

As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance,  but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

Keep these things in mind as you interact with him today! You might not see change right away, and honestly you may never see him change but that is not the point.  As a Christian, you are to glorify God with how you live your life.  That is your goal today and every day.