Early in our marriage, Amy and I stumbled across a simple truth that’s made all the difference. In fact, because it’s so simple, it would be easy to underestimate just how powerful it can be in your life. Are you ready to hear our secret?
Here it is:
we decided that our marriage will be as good as we decide it will be.
The same is true for you: your marriage is as good as you’ve decided it will be. We’re not any better than anybody else. Don’t think for a minute that just because we’re in ministry we don’t have problems. We have problems just like everybody else. We live in the same sin-filled world that you do. (Do you have any idea what six kids can do to a bathroom?) But we decided we would seek God together, praying together and striving to put God first. We decided we’d fight fair, always fighting toward resolution instead of toward winning, which leaves plenty of space for forgiveness and love. We decided we’d make time regularly to have fun, enjoying the gifts of marriage and friendship.
We decided to keep our hearts out of trouble and to stay pure, rejecting any poison that could hurt our marriage. And of course we decided not to give up, fighting without end for the marriage God wants us to have. I hope you noticed the key words in all of those things. There are only two of them: We. Decided.
You can too!
It has taken both of us working together as one. But everybody has to start somewhere. I know it’s especially hard if only one of you is trying at first.
But you have to keep going. You’re in this relationship together.
Even when it doesn’t feel like it, if you’re married, God has already made you one. It doesn’t matter how it feels.
Even if you’re the only one committing right now, you decide. You decide what kind of marriage you’re going to have. Is it going to be a bad one? Or is it going to be a good one?
You decide. It can be just as good as you decide.
You may be in a marriage that doesn’t look like it will survive. If that’s the case, I’m sorry you’re there, and I want you to know that I hurt with you. You might feel like pushing back with every page you read. You might even have experienced betrayal in your marriage; you were faithful to your spouse, but your spouse wasn’t faithful to you. And you know that adultery is grounds for divorce. While that’s absolutely true — and most people wouldn’t blame you for giving up after being betrayed — I want to remind you of another truth that’s just as powerful: while adultery is grounds for divorce, it’s also grounds for forgiveness.
To have the marriage that God wants you to have, I can promise you that both of you will have to do your share of forgiving. Even when forgiving may seem impossible to do, I’m thankful that all things are possible with God. All things. Even forgiving what seems unforgivable.
Especially forgiving what seems unforgivable.
And you will never be more like God than when you forgive.
I know you can’t do anything to change your spouse. But I also know you can change you.
You can put yourself in the proper place, surrendering fully to God, seeking him daily, and believing for a miracle from him. You can decide to never give up. You’re in a covenant, and not just with your spouse. You made a promise to God. So you hang in there and stay united, even when the enemy wants you to become untied. Marriage means persevering. It means never giving up on each other. It means never letting your fears that your marriage might not make it turn into words or actions that you’ll forever regret. It means never giving up on God’s ability to do the impossible. No matter where you and your spouse find yourselves right now, I want you to consider what it means for you to run the good race together.
Watch the Video for From This Day Forward
Excerpted with permission from From This Day Forward by Craig and Amy Groeschel, copyright Zondervan.
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“Marriage means persevering.” What are some of the challenges you have faced while trying to stay united in your marriage? Share your stories and thoughts about what it means to “run the good race together” on our blog! We’d love to hear from you! ~ Devotionals Daily