At last count, I had 3,567 books in my To Be Read pile. Okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but I have so many books I need or want to read that it feels at times I’ll never reach the end. This is my explanation, or excuse, for why Jennifer Smith’s The Unveiled Wife released in March 2015 and I only recently finished it. It was a priority, but I can only read so fast and several books were ahead on my list.
If you’re not familiar with Jennifer Smith, she is a marriage author who runs a site by the same name: Unveiled Wife. She has built an amazing Facebook community, encourages wives regularly with prayers for our husbands, and has spoken honestly and poignantly about her own struggles.
Among those struggles was sexual dysfunction that made her body unable to engage in intercourse for years of her marriage. She and her husband did engage in sexual intimacy, but intercourse itself was off-limits until she discovered the source of her physical problems.
She details this personal story and other marital challenges she and her husband faced in the beginning years of their marriage. Although aligned with God in many ways — being involved with church communities, engaging in mission work, praying together — she ultimately attributes her struggling marriage years to her flailing relationship with God.
The Unveiled Wife may be the most honest memoir I’ve ever read. Jennifer doesn’t hold back in describing what she got right, what she got very, very wrong, and how bad things got in her marriage. From what she described, many people would have placed her marriage in the Not Gonna Make It category. There was baggage in the relationship, concrete problems to resolve, and ongoing misunderstanding and conflict between her and her husband.
I can’t tell you how many times I read her story and thought, That’s my story. Baggage? Check. Concrete problems? Check. Ongoing conflict? Check. In particular, her crying out to God and feeling few answers in return was déjà vu for me. When my marriage was going through the pit, it seemed that no matter how much I told God that I was nearly done, things stayed the same — or got worse.
But I also relate to her unwillingness to let go of God and her husband altogether, because deep down they were who she loved. As John 6:68 says about Jesus, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” Through the study of Scripture, the wisdom of others, and the opening of her heart, Jennifer came to understand changes she needed to make to have what God intended for her and her husband.
Again, my life mirrors that discovery. It is simply the beauty of the Gospel, lived out day by day, that improved my marriage. By leaps and bounds. As it turns out, God had been answering my prayers. I was just too thick-headed to respond to his subtle nudging, instead expecting some kind of burning bush revelation. Thank goodness I finally listened.
Jennifer’s story relates so well to the marriage memory verse theme I’ve had this month — gaining victory over your past. Whether it’s past abuse, premarital promiscuity, or failures in your marriage, there is hope and redemption, healing and victory.
Thanks to Jennifer, this is the marriage memory verse I want to share today, from 2 Corinthians 3:18: “And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”
When Jennifer became transparent before God and sought His answers for her life, her marriage was transformed. I felt that too. And I believe you can feel it as well.
Taking off the “veil” — the barrier you have erected between you and God, your and your spouse, you and other Christians ready and willing to walk with you — is the first step. Then you contemplate His glory — His design, His will, and His healing for your life. God then works in us, through the Spirit, to transform us. Not once, not twice, but “ever-increasing.”
The Unveiled Wife is both real and inspiring. I encourage you to read Jennifer’s story and find hope for your own situation. There are answers, there is victory.