When Marriage is Hard

Pursuing Spouse

Marriage can be hard. This is part 2 of a 7 part series. If Jesus’ words to the seven churches in the book of Revelation were used as an evaluation of your marriage, what challenges would he have for you? What words of encouragement might you hear?

The church in Smyrna was one of only two churches addressed by Jesus in the book of Revelation that received only praise. The Christians there faced hardship and persecution because of their decision to follow Jesus. Words used to describe them were “tribulation,” and “poverty.” Jesus said that their near future would include suffering, testing, and even death. Sounds hard, doesn’t it? The easy way for them would be to simply deny Jesus, walk away, and live like everyone else.

Perhaps your marriage is like that. It’s hard. It’s work. You see other couples that are happy, thriving, connected—and you ache because your marriage is far from what they have. What would Jesus say to you?

In the Bible, Christians—the Church—are called the “Bride” of Christ. Let the words of Jesus to his Bride in Smyrna be words of hope and encouragement to you as well.

“I know”

Jesus doesn’t candy-coat the pain the people in Smyrna are facing. He doesn’t tell them, “It’s not that bad!”

Instead, he says, “I know your tribulation and your poverty….” He validates their pain and position.

Jesus knows what you are going through in your marriage as well. He says, “I know it’s hard. I know you hurt. I know you’re misunderstood, under appreciated, lonely and sad. I see the injustice and hard work you are doing for your marriage.”

It would be nice to think that all marriages are easy, but if that were the case, there would be no need for ministries like Build Your Marriage. The truth is, each marriage requires effort—and many marriage require a lot of effort. The easy way is to simply deny our commitment to our spouse, walk away, and live like everyone else.

“Do not fear”

A hard marriage is fraught with fear.

  • “What’s going to happen to me next?”
  • “Where will this marriage end up?”
  • “What’s happening to me in this marriage?”
  • “What about our children—how is this affecting them?”
  • “Is there any hope and help?”

While we hope and pray for healing, joy, and change in our marriages—and certainly some couples experience this!—there is no certainty of change because our spouse has free will in their choice to submit to the Spirit. The promise to Smyrna—and to us—isn’t that there will be a deliverance, but that there is a Presence.

Jesus says to you, “You are not alone. I am with you. I will strengthen you. I will guide you. I will give you what you need moment by moment and day by day. Have courage. Trust in me.” As you stay strong in Jesus you will see his blessing and favor spread through your life.

“Be faithful”

The church in Smyrna was urged by Jesus to be faithful through hard times. He wanted them to know that there is favor and hope for those who hold on.

Jesus says, “In a world where choosing divorce and living like everyone else is the choice of many, be faithful to your covenant of marriage as you are faithful to me.” In your faithfulness, you are honoring Jesus. Your faith and trust in God will grow deeper as you depend on him when things are hard.

We know that there are extreme cases of abuse or serial adultery where other options may eventually have to be considered. But as you work on your marriage, remember Jesus’ words to Smyrna—and to you—as you Build Your Marriage.

What do you think? How do you feel about this? Join the conversation below…

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