Several years ago, I went to a men’s retreat sponsored by the Church I attend. During one of the workshops on marriage, an older brother said emphatically, “Brothers, don’t leave your wives!” His pronouncement caught me off guard. I was a newlywed at the time. I had not yet had any real experience with the ups and downs of marriage, but I could tell that this brother knew something I didn’t know.
As I have gotten to know this brother more, I have learned that his marriage, like nearly all marriages, has had its share of problems. Based upon some of the stories he told, I actually believe that most of the turmoil he and his wife have endured were probably because of his actions or inaction. Even though he admitted to not being all he could be in his union with his wife, this brother made a decision that he would stay with her until death separated them. His advice to the younger men in the congregation was to do the same thing. He wanted us to honor the commitment we made to take care of the woman in our life. I could sense that he felt that our wives needed us and that it would be simply unfair and selfish to walk away and leave them. I will always remember the emotion and passion with which this brother challenged us.
As I talk with my friends and my brethren in Christ, we seem to all agree that marriage can be difficult. I think that anytime you put two people who love each other under the same roof that there is bound to be some trouble. Think about it. Siblings don’t always get along. Parents have issues with their children. It’s human nature. We can’t expect that we will always be at peace with our spouse. Learning how to handle conflict when it arises should be a priority for both husbands and wives. Effectively managed conflict can save a marriage.
Another threat to a happy home is the sin of adultery. We must realize that as men, we are bombarded by thoughts and situations that test our allegiance to our wives. It is important that we actively minimize these distractions, which if acted upon, have the potential to devastate our households. In an instant, a poor decision can have a negative impact on you and your family that will be difficult to recover from.
Many of us have good women in our lives. We have been blessed by God with a help-mate, a lover, an adviser, and a friend. Don’t give up on a relationship that was once so important to you that you said you wanted to be with that person for the rest of your life. In your journey through marriage, the excitement you once felt will fade, the responsibility of it all will overwhelm you, the bills will pile up, and the desire to try something different may attack you. Stand firm, my brothers. The grass that sometimes looks greener actually isn’t. Things will get better if you try. Don’t give up before the good in your marriage comes your way. Work on yourself. Work together with your wife. Honor the covenant and commitment you made to God.