In the worst years of my marriage, I cried myself to sleep. Not once or twice, but too many times. Sometimes the conflict was so bad that we’d be in the same bed, turned in different directions, not touching in any way, and both feeling lonely, even though our mate was inches away.
Some of you know what I’m talking about.
My prayer life then was fairly active, because I desperately wanted something from God: I wanted Him to fix my marriage. But in the back of my mind, I had this question: Does God really care about my heartbreak?
Because if He cared, why wasn’t He repairing all of our broken places? Like, yesterday?
But when I read stories in the Bible of devoted believers, they often spend time “in the pit” where things are tough and faith is tested. I’m not sure we Christians really understand how to live through hardship and wait on God’s deliverance.Do we really understand how to live through hardship and wait on God's deliverance? Click To Tweet
Now that I’m on the other side, I can tell you three things for certain:
1. God cares about you and your marriage. He is attuned to your heartache, but He also has a point of view that you and I don’t have. He can see not only today, but tomorrow and the future. God’s willing to let us stew longer than we’re comfortable with, because He has an eternal perspective.
The Lord will allow us to endure emotional pain if it motivates spiritual growth.
“Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress, and he hears my voice” (Psalm 55:17).
“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” ( Psalm 34:18).
2. God is answering, but maybe not how and when you want.
I wanted God to fix my marriage, which — to me — mainly meant fixing my husband. Perhaps you can see how this approach would go awry. But it took me years to understand that God was patiently answering my prayer, by pushing me harder and harder to look in the mirror. It was when I realized how unloving I’d been to my husband that I began to put godly principles into practice in my marriage. And that changed everything: my attitude, my behavior, and my husband’s response.
What if God is trying to speak to you, trying to nudge you in the right direction, but you aren’t truly listening? What if you don’t hear His answer because it’s not how and when you expected? What if the answer means you have to change?
“For you, God, tested us; you refined us like silver” (Psalm 66:10).
“The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).
“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us” (1 John 5:4).
3. You’ll eventually be glad you remained faithful.
Of course, the problem with that statement is the word eventually. Are we talking next year, when our marriage begins an uphill climb to intimacy in the marriage bed and beyond? Or are we talking on our death-bed, feeling good about being faithful to the end but never really enjoying what God meant us to have? I really want to say that it will be next year or, better yet, next week. Especially since I fervently believe that living according to God’s plan produces positive results not just in the afterlife, but immediately in our lives right here.
But I’d be lying if I guaranteed something. I don’t know when it will happen, and you can only control your part of the equation. But I believe God’s promises that we will be rewarded for faithfulness.
“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him” (James 1:12).
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving” (Colossians 3:23-24).
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9).
He’s listening, He cares, He’s answering, and He’s preparing a reward for righteousness.
In the midst of tearful days, that may be hard to believe. But continue to pray for your sexual intimacy, and then listen for His voice. Take baby steps in the right direction, putting into practice what you have learned through prayer and study.
To help you focus on this task, pick up my book Intimacy Revealed: 52 Devotions to Enhance Sex in Marriage, which walks you through Bible study, questions to ask yourself, and prayer time to start making the changes you and your marriage bed need.