Is this where your hope is today? In Christ?
When my husband, Keith, first came into the U.S. Navy Chaplain Corps, we were given Pearl Harbor, HI for our first duty station. Yes, we got to live in that beautiful place for two years!
On one of our first Sundays in Hawaii, I met a Senior Chaplain’s wife who gave me some wise counsel that I will never forget.
She introduced herself to me and looked me lovingly in the eyes and said, “Oh! Your husband is with a cruiser (a Navy ship with about a 350 crew)? I am so sorry! I will pray for you because this will be a horrible tour for you as he will be gone ALL the time. This tour will be awful but it will be the tour that you will come to know Christ as your husband! Just remember that it is all about Christ and come to know, really know Him as the One who meets ALL of your needs. It is the opportunity to really experience Jesus and realize that your hope and help is in Him!”
I remember smiling politely and thinking, “thanks for such encouraging words — NOT!” I also remember being scared silly.
Strangely enough, though, my dear friend’s words WERE encouraging. I was excited at the prospect of experiencing Jesus more deeply than I ever had. You see, I needed to learn that it is in Christ that I find completion. [The sentiment echoed in the movie, “Jerry McGuire” that “You complete me.” is a lie from Hollywood and the world (and the Devil) that wives have bought into.]
The weeks and months that followed were indeed life changing and rough. I realized the need to firm up my identity in Christ and that in my 13 years of marriage (at this point and time in Hawaii) I had put the needs I had squarely on Keith’s shoulders to fulfill. My unfair expectations were just that — unfair.
Our good marriage began to change into a better marriage. The time in Hawaii spurred us to nurture and tend our marriage and all that nurturing was done while he was absent! (Ask Rebecca, as this was where our friendship/sisterhood was forged — Keith was never home! In fact, out of our two years there, he was around for about 4-5 months — and that time was broken up into bite size pieces!) Our marriage grew by intentionally studying the Word and various marriage books together, over email. Now, 10 years later at year 23 of our marriage journey we still intentionally grow our marriage to be MORE!
Something changed for us. I realized that it is in Christ that I have my identity. Keith was freed to be the husband that he was called to be without unrealistic expectations from me weighing him down.
The Apostle Paul says in Romans 6:6-11,
We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. 7 For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin. 8 And since we died with Christ, we know we will also live with him. 9 We are sure of this because Christ was raised from the dead, and he will never die again. Death no longer has any power over him. 10 When he died, he died once to break the power of sin. But now that he lives, he lives for the glory of God. 11 So you also should consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus.(NLT)
Dying to self is not easy in our marriages. In fact it takes great faith in who God is and who we are in Christ. But the same power that raised Christ from that grave is at work in you! Romans 8:11 says,
And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you. (NIV)
Now that is hope in Jesus that has power for your life and your marriage!
Hallelujah and Amen!