We are in the first week of Advent where we are encouraged to focus on the Hope of the Gospel. Jesus was born of a virgin bringing with Him the hope of the world. It is a lasting hope that will not disappoint.
But how does this hope inform our marriage today in 2020?
This year has been filled with temptations for hopelessness. Depression, anxiety and suicide have all increased making Advent season all the more important. If we hope only in hope–a better tomorrow–our hope is empty. Tomorrow has no power in itself to bring us what we crave. This year is proof.
God’s Word reminds us of where lasting hope is found…
“And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and this hope does not disappoint us, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”
Not what I expected to hear. Hope comes to us through tribulation and perseverance?
How many of you are experiencing tribulation requiring perseverance? Tom and I certainly are. Many of you have encouraged us with hope to continue as we wait and see what God will do in our newest grandson’s life. Elias Angel was born a micro-preemie at 24 weeks and 5 days on October 14th. We are in love with this little man and cling to hope for his well-being. Thank you for the way you have supported us through prayer, encouragements and donations.
There are many tribulations common to marriage and can happen to any one of us at any time. Tom often says we are only a phone call away from our life being completely different.
8 Tribulations Common in Marriage
- Relationships with others
- Lack of Communication
- Work Schedules
- Lack of Time
- Health Issues
Take time to consider how you’re doing in these eight areas. If any bring a sigh or concern, please don’t be surprised that this is happening to you. Knowing that such trouble is common helps us not make more of the conflict than it needs.
When sin is at the core of our biggest tribulations, as Christians we have a remedy for it; His name is Jesus. We have been forgiven of our sin and can not only receive the forgiveness for our selves, but extend it to our spouse when they have sinned against us. Of course, this only works in marriages where both of you are honestly evaluating the condition of your own heart. If one of you is unwilling to admit sin, or repent when confronted, you need help from a wise and trusted pastor, counselor or friend. Please don’t delay. Unrepentant sin leads to more unnecessary tribulation.
“God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”1 Peter 5:5b ESV
Perseverance through tribulation in marriage proves the character of our relationship.
We know of many couples who have struggled in the area of sexual intimacy in their marriage. Much of it was due to damage done before they were married. Maybe this is your story as well. Sexual abuse is more common than we realize. And the affects this has on the intimacy in the marriage bed can at times seems unsurmountable. But it is not! There is help available which leads to the ability to wait with hope. We can direct you to marriage blogs that began for this reason–to offer hope to marriages struggling to find the open and honest sexual intimacy God intended a husband and wife to experience.
Tom and I struggled in our early years with being honest and open in the areas of sin and temptation. It took years for us to realize what was behind all the heated arguments, silent treatments and distance it created. But God. He was and is faithful to lead us on the road to being fully known and fully loved.
Our proven character is not a reflection on how good our marriage is, as some would say. “Oh, you are lucky. You got a good spouse!” No. Our proven character is a reflection of the effect the Gospel (Jesus coming to earth, living as an example for us, and dying and being raised to new life to rescue us from the bondage to sin) has had on our personal life that influences our married life.
So if you are in a troubled place this Christmas, there is an answer. Pray and persevere as you wait for God to show you what to do or say. And as you faithfully apply this scripture to your marriage, watch and see the character God produces in you as a result.
This is how Advent informs in our marriage this Christmas with Hope.