It grieves me when I hear the words “If I am going to obey God, I have no choice”. I hear them from wives, newly married, young marrieds or even veterans of marriage. It is even something I said to myself many times. The truth of the matter is women, we do have a choice, even if that choice is not pleasing to the Lord or even in disobedience to the Lord. We always have a choice.
I hear this statement in regard to many reasons in a marriage. Satan is after our marriages, like a roaring lion. The reason I most hear is in submitting to a husband who is not loving toward his wife. I use toward because toward connotates movement, intentionality, purpose…

In reality, we are ALWAYS choosing in our marriages. We choose everyday how to love/submit, when to love/submit, if we’ll love/submit and we choose our level of love and submission on a mental level, emotional level, physical level and sexual level. Does our spouse impact our willingness to love or submit? ABSOLUTELY, but the choice to do so, always lies within ourselves.

Lies we tell ourselves as women is, “If I… and we makes lists of do’s and don’ts… then our husbands will and won’t… the truth is: wives are never responsible for the choices our husbands make and don’t make. We are only responsible for ourselves. Submission is the act of preferring another (our husbands) above yourself. In the marital context, it means I yield myself in deference to my husband. Respect is the attitude that enables such submission.

Was it hard, is it hard? Yes. I had and still do not have any guarantees for anything. Eccl. 7:14 reads, "when times are good, rejoice. But when times are bad, consider this: God has made the one as well as the other, so that, no one can discover anything about their future." I need the Lord, let me state that again, I need the Lord – everyday. Romans 8:5-9 reads, "Those, who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit.  So, letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace."  For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will.  That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God.  But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.)

Our husbands may not be pleasing God in many ways. They may not be obeying God either. They may have patterns of sin that control them, some of them may even be unwanted patterns of sin that are strongholds they bow down to, often. You will feel the effects of that sin for sure. God did not heal my marriage in my timing or my way. For some things I have had to wait most of my marriage.  I had and have to remember;  God is a redeeming God – and He is still at the work of redeeming my marriage. I had no guarantees for my marriage. I only had God. He was my help in time of need,  Ps. 121.  He heals the brokenhearted, Ps. 147:3. He was reminding me of the eternal Glory that awaits me, Rom. 8:18. He wants to be my hope, Rom. 15:13. He was my comforter, Ps. 46:1-3. He is my shield, Ps. 3:3.

I had to learn to want God more than I want a better marriage. I have been blessed with a better marriage through time, seasons (years), trials, pain and suffering… I chose to do a lot of work and I worked on me. I sought counseling for myself. I sought counsel from older, wiser women of God. I chose to stay. I cannot say my marriage changed because of me. My marriage changed because God changed both me and in time, my husband and therefore my marriage. It pains me that I cannot guarantee that if you stay, if you continue to choose, that you’ll have the better marriage. In the natural order of things, change begets change - but we also live in a fallen, broken world, and we are marred by sin. Some spouses will not change, not because they cannot, but because they choose that they do not want to change.

If you want God more, you WILL have more of God. I would never want the road I’ve walked for anyone. But I also would never trade how I’ve learned to know God and know how very much He loves me.

If you are struggling in your marriage women, get help for YOUR OWN SELF. Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time 1 Pet. 5:6. Learn what it looks like to be a daughter of the Most High God. Learn how very much  and how very uniquely GOD LOVES YOU, Ps. 139. Seek the Lord, He will counsel you with His eye upon you, Ps. 32.8.

by Patti Calderon

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