God's Perfect Marriage Counseling
Driving through Bakersfield on our way home from Thanksgiving, I read billboards to stay awake. They came one after another, then another. Suddenly, on a plain black field with simple white letters, one read: "Need marriage counseling? I'm available. -God."
I laughed out loud.
Loyd, asleep in the passenger seat, roused. "What's so funny?" He rubbed his eyes.
I told him about the billboard and he chuckled too, then settled back down to sleep as I drove on.
Married 35 years, we both know we've stayed together because God has always been available with strong, straightforward marriage counsel. We were both tickled to see this truth stated so bluntly.
God Said, "I Hate Divorce."
From the beginning, Loyd and I committed to making our marriage work. We had read in Malachi 2:16, " 'I hate divorce!' says the LORD, the God of Israel." And we learned in John 14:23 that if we loved God, we would obey him. We believed divorce wasn't an option, but we still used the word to threaten and hurt each other until our seven-year-itch. In an argument that year, when Loyd dropped the "D" word, I looked him straight in the eye and asked, "Are you really ever going to leave me?"
"No." He scowled.
"Well, I'm not going to leave you either, so how about we start being nice to each other?"
From that moment on, we chose to never go there again. Our minds changed and the word quit passing our lips. Divorce truly was not an option for us, so we quit pretending it was. Now that even acting as if we were going to walk away wasn't an alternative, we knew we had to face our problems head-on, work out what we could, and exert ourselves to accept what we couldn't resolve.
At that point, God counseled us one-on-one as he worked to help each of us transform from the inside out.
God said, "If You Give up Your Life for Me, You Will Find It."
In Matthew 10:39, he taught me in clear terms that everything is not about me, my feelings, or my rights. He taught me humility. I learned that it doesn't hurt to be treated like a servant, once you realize you are one. I started to see that I was to serve rather than wonder why Loyd and the rest of the world wouldn't serve me.
Next, my Counselor directed me to Proverbs 31:10-31, where I read about a wife of noble character, a woman who was capable and wise. She served not only her family but also her community. I saw how hard she worked. She rose while it was still dark, and her lamp did not go out at night.
She didn't ask why she had to do everything. She didn't say, "What about me?" She didn't complain—she was too busy serving everyone else to think about herself. And she was happy. Even her children noticed. My Counselor told me that she was happy because when we give our lives away, we gain them. When we serve, we become the greatest of all.