The Brendtros have a strong stance on wholehearted family life, particularly in marriage. Owing to that, hurting husbands and wives frequently reach out to LOTF in the middle of a crisis. When we wrap wedding presents for our friends, none of us is predicting this heartbreak like some inevitability. We celebrate with you, our friends, and expect that faithfulness will be the hallmark of your new life together.

Marriage in Crisis

But that’s not always the case, is it? So here we are, Wife. My husband is on the phone with another husband, this time yours. He’s talking him through the scariest season of his life. Your husband is terrified. He is keenly reminded right now that you, dear Wife, are his world. All his hopes and dreams, bound up with yours, hang by a thread. You are completely exhausted, Wife. The home you’ve shared together is a battleground when it is meant to be a refuge. This isn’t what you signed up for and you deserve better. Wife, my heart truly goes out to you both. 

Marriage is God’s Idea

Marriage relationships are a bond meant to balance the stress of life, a joyful partnership that makes life brilliant and bearable. But our husbands are faulted men, and we’re imperfect women. Throw us into close proximity for a lifetime commitment and it can feel like barreling through white rapids in a flimsy box. Whose idea was this marriage thing, anyway?

Well, marriage is God’s idea, to be a picture of the unbreakable bond of love between Christ and the church. Wife, you and your husband are powerful partners who make plain to the world the unceasing love of God. Your home is a source of blessing to your families and community. Your light unmasks the enemy as it illuminates God’s unfathomable goodness. The devotion in your home is the beauty of holiness.

3 Lies the Enemy Sells

But oh, how the devil conspires to turn us against one another! He uses every tool available to drown us, until the power we wield as a family is neutralized. This process is often slow and steady. He’s a ruthless opponent who wants the antithesis of God’s good design for your life. Our enemy uses the same playbook over and over.

His first play is to distract our family, either with stacked-up stressors or with distractions disguised as opportunities, Either way, the busyness causes us to coast. The lie is that we’re invincible and self-sufficient– we can make time later. We’re tempted to live for right now, at the cost of our future. Meanwhile, the family ship veers off course and priorities become helter-skelter.

The devil’s second scheme is to cause us to disregard the overwhelming value of the legacy which our family is constructing.  We forget that our children are watching, internalizing the values we project. We disremember that God has called us to leave an inheritance to our children’s children. The lie is that our legacy isn’t powerful. But listen up Family: the truth is that we are capable of leaving a deposit in future generations just as our heroes of faith left for us– Noah, Abraham, Ruth, etc. This legacy is established brick by brick: bravely keep true to your vow when it’s downright painful, hold unswervingly to the Word of God even in crisis, stay positioned for the grace and power of a faithful God.

Finally, the enemy of our souls attempts to capitalize on our passivity.  He bypassed our priorities and legacy, so now the family reaches a point of ultimate crisis.  We suddenly assess the mess of our marriage, our internal misery, the battleground in our home, and conclude that it would be too hard to fix. We repeat aloud the lie whispered in our ear, “Our marriage is too far gone. It will be too hard and take too much effort to fix. It will be easier to just let it dissolve.”

This is such an absolute farce! Steve and I found ourselves at this exact point 10 years ago. However, at our lowest and most brokenhearted juncture, Jesus recaptured our attention. In a matter of hours, we moved from catastrophe to a brand new beginning. I experienced Psalm 34, “Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces. In my desperation, I prayed, and the Lord listened; he saved me from all my troubles.”

The Word on Divorce 

The Lord hates divorce because it quashes his intervention. Divorce spoils your family legacy. It rips apart two people the Creator values immensely, invested in and nurtured as his own children. The majority of the time, divorce creates more problems than it solves. Truthfully, when you’re the one who chooses divorce, it is counted as adultery. I say this just like Jesus did, not to shame anyone but to address the weight the decision carries in the eyes of the Lord. (That said, all unfaithfulness and spousal abuse is intolerable. The Lord hates these as much.)

What now?

It’s time to blacklist every lie the enemy sells to weak and wounded spouses. Shun the counsel of divorced friends, stop running everywhere but to the Word, spurn this faithless and fickle culture. Realize that you are, this very minute, engaged in a battle over your legacy. Reject passivity and adopt ferociousness. Two good-hearted people who love God, by His transformative power, can absolutely resume a thriving, joyful connection. You have a Great Defender who, this very minute, is fiercely fighting for your marriage. All you have to do is join him!

Written by Melissa Brendtro