Does having God in a marriage make a difference?
Every Friday I like to write a 400-word inspirational marriage moment–just something short, with one quick thought, that you can take with you on the weekend.
Okay, scratch that. Not EVERY Friday. Because this Friday my mind is a jumble of thoughts, and I’ve decided I’m just going to write them all down and let you all do with them what you will. So I’m going to break the mold a little bit and give you my stream-of-consciousness thinking. Here goes:
Sheila’s Marriage Musings: What Impact Does God Have?
Exhibit A: Can we really ever know someone? Like, know them fundamentally?
I wrote a post on Monday on how to tell if you’re marrying the wrong guy. I actually liked that post, but I said something flippantly that perhaps I shouldn’t have. I said that I knew, before we got married, that my husband would never have an affair or leave me or abuse me or anything like that.
And I had a lot of pushback. Many people said, “my husband did and there were absolutely no warning signs. He covered it all up.”
So I asked on Facebook–do you believe that you can ever fundamentally know someone? And many people said no.
What Does It Mean to Know Someone?
Here’s the thing, though. I do understand that everyone can make a mistake. David, after all, was a man after God’s own heart, but even he messed up big time by having an affair and then committing murder to cover it up. We can do something that is out of character, and I’ve written about that before–how seasons of distance can endanger even good marriages, often without us even realizing it.
So I think knowing someone doesn’t mean knowing that they’ll never mess up. Maybe it’s knowing that they are committed to not messing up, and that if they do mess up, they’ll make it right. I also know many people with secret sins–porn addictions for instance–who honestly want to quit and who are quite broken up about the fact that they can’t seem to kick the habit. The porn is out of character (now, for some, it isn’t out of character, and they’ve progressed to chatting with women or they justify themselves. But I know many guys who, once they are caught, are relieved. That’s the difference.)
I guess I still stand by my original statement. I know that my husband won’t have an affair in the same way that I know I won’t. I just KNOW him, at a very fundamental level. But perhaps it’s not just that. Perhaps it’s also this:
I Know His Faith Is Real
It isn’t just knowing my husband. It’s knowing that the Holy Spirit is active in his life and that he is totally sold out to God–as I am. I trust his faith as I trust my own. And I do believe that when you both follow God, there’s a joining that is totally unique and extremely strong. Francis Chan once said something really controversial, but I think it’s true: He’s never known a marriage with two Holy Spirit-filled individuals to break up. I’ve known many marriages break up, but in all cases one person had silenced the Holy Spirit in their life by slowly drifting away, and then making definite choices to do things wrong. But when two people follow God? That marriage is strong.
So I Made This Graphic and Put it Up on Facebook
This summarized what I was trying to say: It’s not just about knowing Keith. It’s that God makes a difference, and He’s making the difference in our marriage.
As of right now, Friday morning, that graphic has been seen by 3,000,000 people. I think it’s my third most viral one of all time. Kinda cool. (You can share it on Facebook here, too! Or just pin it by clicking the “Pin It” button above).
I Know People Have Been Hurt, and I Know People Have a Hard Time Trusting
I really do get that. But I also know that there is something so sweet about being in a spirit-filled marriage. And I don’t think it makes me naive to say that I don’t believe he would ever have an affair. I think it just signifies that I am blessed. If he were to have an affair, or I were to have an affair, it would only be because we turned our backs on God first. And I just can’t see that happening. Not now, not after so many years.
That doesn’t mean that I don’t believe it does happen. I guess I just don’t want us all to get cynical. I don’t want everyone to live thinking, “I always have to be a little guarded, because fundamentally you can never really trust anyone.”
What kind of life is that? Yes, we need to be wise, especially when choosing who to marry, as I said on Monday. Yes, we need to listen to the Holy Spirit and not be carried away by emotions. But at some point, we have to believe that God makes a difference. Because if we don’t think that God makes a difference in our marriages, then what’s the point?
I’ve written about that before, and if you’ve enjoyed this rambling, you may enjoy these as well:
Okay, enough rambling. I’ll return next week like usual. I just have so much in my brain right now–can we trust? Can we know? what does that mean?–that I’m not thinking clearly. But I’d love to know what you think, so tell me in the comments! Can you really trust someone?
It’s all about the Top 10 Lists this week and there’s plenty of tips to take away from them!
#1 of the NEW Post on the Blog: 10 Things I Learned While Living In An RV With My Husband
#1 on the Blog Overall: Top 10 Tips To Initiating Sex With Your Husband
#2 from Facebook: I Never Told On My Abuser
#3 from Pinterest: Top 10 Sex and Marriage Red Flags You Shouldn’t Ignore
I’m About to Start the Busiest 1 1/2 weeks of my life!
Okay, tonight I’m leaving for Toronto where Keith and I are speaking at a Building a Lifelong Love marriage day tomorrow with Gary Thomas (yay!). Then on Sunday my assistant Tammy and I fly out to Calgary for two events, then one in Lethbridge on Wednesday, then we fly to Manitoba for one in Winkler on Friday, and then we’re home. And then I have to prepare for a marriage weekend that Keith and I are doing the following weekend in Peterborough.
Whew. I’m tired already!
I’m excited for all the opportunities, but a little overwhelmed. So pray for me if you think of it!
I’m Disturbed By Some Things on Twitter About Abuse
I’ve been following some threads on Twitter this week (#T4G2016) that have been really disturbing to me. Apparently there’s a big pastor’s conference in Louisville this week, and one of the speakers is now disgraced pastor C.J. Mahaney. At least, he should be disgraced, since he was removed from his large church because it came out that they had been covering up child sexual abuse. They had predators in the church and they had told the families to work it out within the church, rather than report it to the police. Some of those predators moved to other churches and they did not inform the other churches.
Mahaney left his church, but is starting another. And he was asked to speak at this conference.
Many of the victims are now protesting, and have issued press releases about it. And when introducing Mahaney, Albert Mohler, the president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, made a joke about it.
Mohler referred obliquely to the pushback in his introduction of Mahaney, getting laughs with the line: “I told C.J. that in getting ready to introduce him I decided I would Google to see if there was anything on the Internet about him.”
Child sexual abuse is not funny. Covering up child sexual abuse is not funny. I don’t care how gifted a guy is at preaching, his judgment is fundamentally flawed. We need to stand up for victims, and Mahaney is NOT a victim (as much as they are trying to portray him as such, and as much as he’s preaching about what it’s like to live as a Job). The children were the victims.
Protestants (and Catholics) were rightly incensed at the stories of how the Catholic church handled sex abuse in their ranks in the 70s and 80s.
But if Protestants continue to be so cavalier about it in our own ranks, then we are acting worse, because we’ve had the benefit of seeing the effects of the Catholic clergy sex abuse scandal, and quite frankly, we should know better. We know the effects of child sexual abuse much better in 2016 than they did in 1985.
So let’s stop defending people who cover it up. Let’s say that was not acceptable, and it’s not a laughing matter. And I hope that some of the other conference speakers, who were very big names, will apologize for not protesting and for sharing the stage with him. If you follow the story, the only remorse he seems to have shown is remorse that he got caught. Abuse is rampant and real, and we will not defeat it by excusing those who excuse it.
(Maybe this bit contradicts the above bit on whether you can truly trust someone? I don’t know. I’m still really wrestling. Sigh).
And On a Lighter Note…
Katie made a new kind of video this week. I’ll end with it:
Have a great weekend, everyone!