My husband and I have both learned God can take a heart of stone and make it flesh
As any married person could have told me, that was an erroneous assumption. Marriage only magnified our differences. We fought regularly, and our life together hurt. Soon I found myself pondering my friend's advice. After all, I reasoned, Christians aren't perfect. What if I married the wrong person? Why stay married if it's all about fighting? Why be unhappy?
In my questioning, a small inner voice reminded me what I'd prayed shortly before I met Kevin: "Lord, instead of looking for a man who fits my list of wants, give me a man who needs me as his helper, as Adam needed Eve." Despite our differences, Kevin needed a helper, and the helper God had selected was me. I, too, needed Kevin to balance me, challenge me, and encourage me to trust God. Through the painful trials of marriage, especially our frequent, severe arguments over spending, in-laws, disciplining our children, and even trivialities such as how much and which TV programs to watch, God was purifying me, teaching me to obey his desires even when it wasn't comfortable. He was also rewarding me in quiet ways only I could see—a psalm that comforted me, a brilliant sunrise that reminded me of his greatness, a sermon that seemed tailored to my situation.
Difficulties make us better people.
We all hate suffering. But without it, who would we be? When Kevin and I married, I was a chronic people-pleaser. When my attempts to win Kevin's unceasing approval—by wearing my hair a certain way or apologizing every time I sensed he was angry—failed, my painful emotions turned me to God, who became my strength. I eventually learned to care more about God's opinion of me. I may not have learned that lesson otherwise. The more I sought God's approval during those dark days, the more Kevin softened toward me—and me toward him. We've both learned God can take a heart of stone and make it flesh (Ezekiel 36:26). Those years of suffering have made us more considerate parents, friends, and mates.
Adapted from TCW article When Marriage Gets Tough by Dawn Yrene.