31 days: restore

Marriage is hard. Marriage is work.
Marriage is a gift from God, but it requires conscious effort on the part of both members of the union.

Falling in love is the easy part of the relationship. Staying in love is much harder. After a period of time, the novelty wears off and the reality sinks in, and that’s also where the rubber hits the road. God never said that our lives would be easy, but Jesus did promise to allow us to take on his yoke and burden, for they are easy and light. When we take the time to keep Christ at the center of our marriage, even when the times get hard, families are able to rest in the knowledge that “this too shall pass” as long as faith remains.

(**I do want to say that I don’t believe that God wants for us to be involved in relationships where persons are harmed or put down, nor do I think that it’s healthy for a person to remain in a relationship where harm is possible toward themselves or other members of the family. That said, this is based upon healthy, non-harmful relationships.**)

I’ve always felt working through and keeping a faith-centered marriage is the only way to survive the hard times in the relationship, but recently I’ve become more convinced of the power of Christ where two individuals and two hearts are concerned. Through couple counseling, pre-marital counseling, conversations with friends, rehearsing and officiating a wedding, and also conversations with my own spouse, I’ve been convinced of the work required in a relationship, but also God’s ability to heal and restore were needed.

Our personal motto, “divorce is not an option,” keeps us focused on who brought us together and who will, hopefully, keep us together for the rest of our lives. I feel blessed with my life partner, but I will also admit that it is very hard at times. We are so much alike, but also so very different that when two people are brought together to merge lives and living spaces, we have learned that we have to be intentional in our relationship and what we bring to it for the other. How well do we communicate? How are we doing at listening to the other? Are we showing love and not just saying three words? Do we try to make life enjoyable and desirable for our spouse? Do we pray for them and with them?

by Chris August

Nobody’s growing old together, we’ve made it easy just to quit
Love has become a negative percentage, why do we bother to commit
We’ve got a long list of excuses, ways we try to justify
Well, I propose to you the truth is, marriage does not have to die

I know you’re feeling like its falling apart and it can’t go on anymore
But God is a God who knows how to heal so just give it up to the Lord
And He will restore

He said with this ring I promise, and with I do she said forever
But right now if they’re being honest they don’t know if they’ll stay together
Let’s fast forward to the future after struggling on their own
They finally figured out they needed Jesus in the middle
Now I’m watching God rebuild their home

I know you’re feeling like its falling apart and it can’t go on anymore
But God is a God who knows how to heal so just give it up to the Lord
And He will restore

The enemy tries to come and divide
Trying to get us to give up the fight
But darkness will always lose out to light
‘Cause we’ve got the power of Christ on our side

I see you growing old together
I pray I find a love like yours

So if you’re feeling like its falling apart and it can’t go on anymore
God is a God who knows how to heal so just give it up to the Lord
And He will restore

Like it was before
You may have strayed off course
But He will restore

God of Love,
For marriages seeming empty, pour your Spirit into the partners so that voids may be filled.
For new marriages, be the strong foundation on which couples can build a life and home.
For marriages years in the making, keep eyes opened so that each may see Christ’s love reflected in their spouse.
For those considering marriage, guide their choices and desires in order that decisions may not be hastily made, but thoughtful.
In all, be the center. Heal hurts that we may be open to receiving and giving grace. Order our lives so that we can rely upon none other than you.
Break our hearts enough that we may empathize with our mates. Heal our hurts that we won’t hurt our families through our pain.
Help us recognize and share our gratitude for the blessing of love and partnership you’ve given us.
Restore, renew and refresh our hearts and fill us with a new measure of love, daily.

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