Twenty years ago, I (Jessica Van Roekel) brought heavy baggage and high expectations into my marriage. Since then, I’ve discovered that God uses everything to build a marriage that glorifies him. Our strengths, weaknesses, expectations, and disappointments all work together to show His Greatness in this marriage puzzle.
Does Marriage Feel like a puzzle?
We had differing expectations and ways to solve problems. We were determined to build our marriage following different “puzzle box tops.” Once we surrendered control to God, we learned that God was creating a new puzzle.
- God threw out the pieces that didn’t fit.
- He refitted things
- Tossed new pieces into the puzzle
And waited until we relinquished a cherished puzzle piece to create a beautiful masterpiece.
The Mystery Puzzle Piece
There are things you can’t understand until you live them. When God introduced this Marriage puzzle piece I didn’t grasp the concept at first. I equated it with a sourpuss old schoolteacher growling at her students. Waiting to smack them with a ruler at the slightest infraction.
I was utterly mistaken! He showed me how developing this concept would bless our marriage.
God gives us good gifts
He gives us good gifts in the form of jobs, health, homes, and belongings and each other. As God refines us we become the best possible version of ourselves. This creates the best possible benefit of each other. We truly become a gift from God to each other.
Have you ever struggled to honor your husband when he makes a decision that you utterly disagree with? Have you been angry, hurt, disappointed? Several years ago I heard God whisper, “Honor your husband and I will take care of you.” I retorted, “How can I honor him when he doesn’t listen to my advice?”
The answer to that question is found in prudence.
A prudent wife is discerning, knows when to act, when to speak, is a crown of knowledge, and is perceptive.
It’s a wise verse and one we should heed. God wants to develop prudence in our lives because it’s far too easy for a woman to railroad her husband. That can tear down his ego, and stand in the way of what the Lord wants to do in her husband’s life.
At times, there’s a tendency to take on the spiritually superior role in our marriages. Partly because, as women, we are naturally more intuitive to relationships. I am my husband’s equal, helpmate, partner, and friend in our relationship before Christ,
BUT if I’m not careful, I can stand in the way of the Holy Spirit doing a work in our lives by being prideful in my spiritual walk.
Prudence has taught me to keep my emotions from controlling my responses. It has taught me to think before I speak (mostly). It has taught me the damage of a rash comment. Just because I may discern a situation does not mean I need to talk about it.
Prudence gives God time to move in our hearts. As we wait, He develops the quality of prudence in our life. We become strategically placed to be used by God in our marriage in His time and for His purpose.
Every marriage has its own set of issues and tensions.
- It could be two opposites fighting for dominance
- Clashing hobbies needing time and money
- Differing histories that lead to different perspectives on what’s important in relationships.
Each partner brings puzzle pieces of their individual lives into a marriage. Both think they know the best way to put the puzzle together. Conflicts ensue, words become weapons, and silence kills. But when two people zero in on God and make him their full-time commitment, the finished puzzle picture reflects God to the world around them.
Biblical Marriage is hard.
It takes unshakable determination. Mutual surrender of our personal agendas to God is required. It takes work and sacrifices every step of the way. We are continually growing and passing through seasons. God leads us and guides us and calls us to new character qualities.
Prudence is one of those qualities. Prudence is not dependent on your spouse or your situation. It is something you can work on in the midst of a marital trial, marital bliss or marital mundaneness.
Prudence doesn’t feel glamorous or shiny and amazing. It’s not a razzle-dazzle part of the puzzle. It is the background that a viewer glances over, but don’t really notice.
But God does say that a prudent wife is a gift from Him, and I like the idea of being a gift.
Let God develop you as an individual and see the mighty things He can do through a surrendered prudent heart. It’s one of the hardest things to live out, but it produces the most fruit in an individual and in a marriage.
- In Him, you will gain a discerning heart
- Know when to act
- When to speak
- And when to use your perception for his glory and benefit
Do you need some encouragement to keep pressing into that Daily Commitment?
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Jessica Van Roekel leads worship in her local church and writes at www.welcomegrace.com. She believes that through Christ our personal histories don’t have to define our present or determine our future and that the abundant life in Christ happens in the middle of the mess. Jessica lives in a rural setting surrounded by farmland and her husband and children. You can connect with her on Instagram and Facebook.