When you find yourself in a difficult marital situation, the best advice we can give you is: pray, seek wisdom, and then APPLY the wisdom that is given to you. It sounds like simple advice, doesn’t it? Yes, it does. But it isn’t easy to apply it. (We know that personally.)
That’s especially true when you’ve done all of those steps and things still aren’t working well. Then what do you do? Once again, you: pray, seek wisdom, and then APPLY the wisdom that is given to you. If that doesn’t work, you go through all of the steps again, and again, and again.
Sometimes God gives us wisdom that is needed all at once. However, other times, it’s a step-by-step process. Sometimes it’s a long process. (Remember the children of Israel and their trek across the dessert?) But we want to caution you here. Please don’t miss ANY of those steps. Many disgruntled spouses will pray, and that’s great. Seek God first and foremost. But they don’t seek wisdom as if they’re seeking “jewels” (see: Proverbs 8:11) —something that is precious. They want the wisdom to be presented to them on their doorstep —for it to come easily, and handily. In reality, don’t we all? But that’s not usually the way God does things for us on this side of Heaven. God cares more about developing our character than our comfort.
Others pray and seek wisdom, but then they don’t APPLY the wisdom that is given. (See James, chapter 1.) Do you see how we’re emphasizing the “APPLY” step? That is because we hear from SO MANY people who tell us they’ve been praying and praying for their situation. Many even tell us they’ve been seeking everywhere they can for wisdom. And that is good. But then when we dig a bit further, we find out that they didn’t apply the wisdom given to them. Their excuses for this are too numerous for us to even mention. But we can tell you that most of their reasons are just that —excuses.
We liken it to those who are ill. They go to a physician for help. After careful examination, the doctor advises them to take a certain medicine. The patient is then given a prescription, goes to the pharmacy, and obtains the medicine. But then he or she brings it home and puts the pills on the table and that’s it. He or she never takes one of them (or just a few). Eventually, the cry is heard, “Why do I still feel pain?”
We’re not sure. The reasons could be many. For those who didn’t take the medicine, what did you expect? You did everything you should, but you didn’t follow through with the last step. For those who did, perhaps it will take longer to get better than you thought. Or perhaps you need an entirely different medication, or something else. What should you do? Repeat the first steps you went through, but then apply the different “medicines or therapies” prescribed, until you get better results. Don’t keep doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.
As It Applies to Marriage
This especially applies to marriage problems. Pray, seek wisdom, but then APPLY the wisdom you’ve been given. And if that doesn’t work (after truly applying and giving it time), then prayerfully seek wisdom again. This next time, apply the different advice that is given. Don’t give up. As we’re told in the Bible:
“Let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9)
Seeking God’s wisdom is something good that you can do for your marriage. (Even if you have to seek it again and again… God rewards perseverance.) But make sure you apply the wisdom you are given. The results may not be what you wanted. But go to God with this. Perhaps there are different variables in the works that aren’t aligned yet, or never will be. Perhaps God has a growth plan in mind that you need to work WITH Him to accomplish. We’re not sure.
But we can tell you that most marital situations are very complicated. There is no simple “one-size-fits-all” formula available. Sometimes it’s simpler; most often it isn’t. Marriage is a “mystery” according to the Bible. It’s also very complicated because there are so many variables involved. As it has been said:
“Getting married is the boldest and most idealistic thing that most of us will ever do” (Maggie Gallagher).
And that is oh, so true. We start out with one set of ideals and later find out that things are much more complicated. If you’ve been married more than a couple of days, you know this is true. And yet each of us, and our love can grow through our times of trials, if we go with God through them. But it isn’t a simple process.
But whatever marriage difficulties you go through, please seek God above all. Pray, and seek the wisdom He can bring your way. “Ask, seek, and knock.” And don’t quit asking, plus, make sure you apply the wisdom He gives to you. Do things HIS way and you will be SO MUCH farther ahead in the whole matter. God cares. Don’t let the enemy of our faith fool you into thinking otherwise. “The Lord is near…” as we’re told in the Bible. He may approach things differently than we would, but His approach brings the better good.
We pray this is helpful.
Cindy and Steve Wright
— ALSO —
To help you a bit further, here is a link to something put together by Focus on the Family: