Devotional: Marriage in Crisis

wife turned away from husband who is looking from background

"'Yet even now,' declares the Lord, 'return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments.' Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents over disaster." Joel 2:12-13

Whether the elements that batter your heart come from someone else suddenly ripping apart your roof of protection, or from your own tearing off of those tiles, there is a helplessness that comes from exposure. That same helplessness often renders us unable to see how to even navigate the storm, let alone cause it to subside.

It is rare that a marriage hits a crisis point as the result of one move of one person. The dance of a marriage is not a dance of one. Intentional or unintentional, malicious or thoughtless, planned or impulsive, both partners are continually making moves and taking steps that either add to the beauty of the dance or choreograph chaos.

When we are at the point of crisis — analysis of moves, assigning blame or demanding change are generally without effect. When the roof has been removed, there is one place to go for covering, to the Lord.

While returning to the Lord rather than facing into the circumstances may feel counterintuitive, it is the covering of His grace, compassion, patience and love that steadies us and gives us wisdom and hope.

In Joel we see the call to come to Him "with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning." If the storm within us, the brokenness and repentance, is not commensurate to the storm without, we are unlikely to know or to seek the shelter we need.

Father, sometimes I want to fight, sometimes I want to fix everything, sometimes I just want to run away. Give me the wisdom and the strength to run to You, You who stand in the midst of the storm with me. Give me a heart that is willing to repent and be instructed, and give me the grace to trust Your heart.

For devotions to help make your faith — and your marriage — stronger each week of the year, see Jim and Jean Daly’s book  The Best Year of Your Marriage: 52 devotions to bring you closer.

Copyright © 2008, Focus on the Family. All rights reserved. International copyright secured.

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