Now What? I Just Found Out My Date Isn’t Perfect
John and Rachel’s marriage had trouble from the very start.
Both of them carried unresolved pain from traumatic childhood experiences, Rachel in particular. She was molested as a child and consequently could not emotionally engage with her first husband.
“I had a locked heart and, as a result, withheld intimacy from those around me,” she said. “No one was going to protect me. I was going to do it myself out of a fear of rejection.”
But she was sensitive enough to understand she needed love. So after her first marriage ended, she pushed through the pain and married John, her second husband.
John, however, had control issues and a porn addiction he thought was a private matter; he didn’t realize how it was affecting his marriage.
For a while they were able to blend their lives together. They attended church regularly and led Bible studies.
From the outside looking in, it seemed like everything was going well.
But Rachel couldn’t trust John. She wouldn’t connect with him emotionally and started pulling away physically. Things grew worse and worse until Rachel ended up having a nervous breakdown and found herself in a mental institution.
John slipped further and further into despair and the stranglehold of addiction, and he eventually served Rachel with divorce papers. At the time, she was still struggling to recover from her breakdown and trying to get over her intense fear of rejection, and the divorce papers just devastated her.
It looked like everything was over. Two broken people just couldn’t make it together.
But that wasn’t the end of the story.
God loves to heal our hearts.
Dr. Henry Cloud says:
Every relationship has problems. The key is whether or not we can hear from others where we are wrong, and accept their feedback without getting defensive.
It isn’t possible to find a marriage partner who is 100 percent perfect and completely free of sin. That’s just not how it works. All of us deal with pain and trauma to one degree or another.
Though our stories may not be as severe as John and Rachel’s, we all suffer loss. We believe things about ourselves that aren’t true. We go through seasons when we mistakenly believe our fears are more trustworthy than the gentle, quiet voice of the Holy Spirit.
It’s good to be aware that real-life marriage often doesn’t look the way it does in books and movies or on social media—but that’s okay, because we have Jesus and we’re growing.
God is with us even in our pain. He is not afraid of our trauma, our mistakes, the way we fly off the handle at the smallest things, or the way we try to control our problems and keep our lives together by sheer force of will.
Our heavenly Father loves us more than we could possibly understand. When we’re dealing with pain and the results of fear and hurts in our lives, it can be hard to see His heart for what it is. But the healthier we become, the more we will be able to discern the truth and rest in it.
The Lord gives life in place of death and beauty for ashes.
God began to heal Rachel’s heart through a Scripture verse—one that’s a little unexpected.
This land that was laid waste has become like the garden of Eden; the cities that were lying in ruins, desolate and destroyed, are now fortified and inhabited. (Ezek. 36:35)
The Lord used this verse to expose the lies Rachel believed about herself. Not only that, but with that same verse, He showed her the way to stop condemning herself.
“I surrendered and cried out,” Rachel said. “The Lord used divorce papers to get my attention.”
John and Rachel tried one more marriage seminar, and the Lord rescued their marriage. They realized they weren’t the only ones struggling.
“The Lord rescued us from the cliff of divorce and repaired the hole in each of our hearts,” John said.
“When we saw that other people struggled and that it wasn’t just us, we felt relief. Coupled with that, we realized that we could get help with our marriage and the emotional healing we both needed.”
Everyone goes through pain and comes with baggage. But that’s never the end with God. He knows what we need deep in our hearts, and He is ready and waiting for us to come to Him for help.
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