It's Not About Satisfaction

Why marriage has a purpose even when it isn't working

On the verge of divorce, Stephanie entered counseling hoping to find some reason to stay in her marriage. "I just want to be in love with my husband. Is that too much to ask?" she exclaimed. After fourteen years of ups and downs, she was fed up with her self-absorbed, fickle husband. Although Todd was not abusive or unfaithful, he did not make an effort to meet Stephanie's emotional needs. His work, hobbies, and friends seemed more important to him than his wife.

Stephanie had attempted many suggestions to jump-start her marriage. She encouraged Todd and tried to understand his emotional needs. She pled with him to invest in their marriage. She examined her own attitudes and how they affected Todd. After about ten sessions, Stephanie despondently announced that her case was hopeless. "I don't think there is much you can do for me; I will just have to wait it out until I can't take any more from him."

Restoring a marriage is not always about trying harder, being enlightened, or waiting out the tough times. There are some cases that seem hopeless, regardless of good intentions. A wife's vows to her husband, and his to her, can be literally impossible to keep without a spiritual perspective.

Proverbs 14:1 says that "the wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish woman tears hers down." Wisdom and effort are essential ingredients to building a solid marriage. However, they alone are often insufficient. A wife can go a long way to provide an environment that allows for an intimate relationship. However, she cannot make it happen.

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May 25

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