Giving Up in Marriage: What You Really Lose

“I quit.”

You’ve probably heard it, and you’ve likely even said it. So have I. None of us are alone in feeling frustrated and overwhelmed with life sometimes.

Recently I shared about how so many people tend to give up on their marriage. For some, it’s a quick choice – it’s not convenient anymore, so they’re gone. For others, it’s a choice that takes a little more time. The grass seems greener with someone else, or they can look at the faults and wrongdoings of their spouse and decide it’s time to move on.

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Please note: This post is *not* written for those who struggle through abusive relationships.
Sometimes there are situations where you need to get yourself to safety.
You need to find healing and wholeness outside of the home because it’s no longer safe there.
If you find yourself in that spot, please know that
I support you getting the help you need in a safe environment,
which may very well mean leaving your home and your marriage. 

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Where is our commitment to fighting for our marriage? Where is that resolve that we once had to stand strong, and keep standing, no matter what?

What do we really lose, or forfeit, if we give up?

Giving Up - what you really lose and why you should keep on fighting

I hadn’t thought about it this way until a friend shared thoughts on Facebook. I love that kind of interaction because collectively, we have a lot more wisdom than any one of us on our own.

In John 11, we read the story of Lazarus’ death:

Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. (This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.) So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.”

When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days….
John 11:1-6

The passage goes on to say that by the time Jesus arrived at their house, Lazarus had been in the tomb for four days. Martha talked to Jesus probably as any of us would, saying the things on her heart.

“Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”
John 11:21

She expressed what I read as her frustration. “If you’d been here….” She follows it up with her belief in Jesus.

But as the conversation continues, she really expresses her unbelief, her lack of understanding.

To summarize, so far:

Lazarus got sick. 
Mary and Martha sent word to Jesus in hopes that He would come heal Lazarus.
Jesus did not come to them right away. 
Lazarus died.
Martha expressed frustration (or maybe doubt, or even bewilderment) that Jesus didn’t respond like they thought He should. 
They expected he was dead until the second coming.

In the context of the recent post I shared, we talk about continuing to fight for our marriages.

Here’s what my friend shared, that really got me thinking: 

Mary and Martha gave up on Lazarus. 

Yes, they were siblings. Their relationship is not a marriage relationship.

But, let’s dig deeper.

Lazarus was sick, Mary and Martha sent for help, and when Jesus did not come, and did not respond in the way they thought He should, they gave up on the hope of having their brother with them again. 

And that’s where it all came together for me.

Here’s a man who was dead. Dead, dead. He wasn’t just asleep, he was dead.

They had wrapped him in linen.

Martha complained because Lazarus had died, and now she was complaining about the stench that would come if they rolled the stone away.

Jesus was preparing to raise her brother from the dead,
and she was complaining about that, too,
because she had given up! 

Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”
John 11:40

They rolled the stone away, Jesus prayed, and He called to Lazarus in a loud voice to come out of that tomb!

And out walked Lazarus, after 4 days of being buried according to the customs and rituals of the time, having been completely dead.

{Probably as dead as many marriages are these days.}

Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”
John 11:44b

Martha and Mary had given up on the hope of life.

Maybe you’ve given up on the hope of life in your marriage. 

Maybe your marriage is already dead. Dead dead. 

My God is a God of miracles. He raises the dead. 

He raised Lazarus, who was so dead that they were concerned about the odor from his death!

Perhaps your spouse has packed up, moved out, filed for divorce, maybe the divorce is even final. You may have reached the point of saying, “That’s it. It’s done. I quit.”

You’ve given up.

If God says to fight for your marriage, you’d better fight!

You’d better storm heaven’s doors on behalf of your spouse, your marriage, and whatever God lays on your heart.

If you give up on your marriage, what you are actually giving up, forfeiting, is the power of God to work in your marriage.

That’s not to say He won’t work anyway, but you are telling God, “No thank you. This is over. It’s finished. It’s dead. You can’t help.”

And along comes someone like my friend to say that Martha and Mary gave up on Lazarus. They stopped fighting on his behalf. They accused, rather than asked for help.

When Jesus finally arrived in town, they didn’t ask for help. Yes, Martha said that Jesus was the Son of God, and that God would give Him what He asked for, but then she complained about the stench that would come if they rolled the stone away.

Friends, we don’t get to decide HOW God works. 

If God has told you to fight, though, you’d better fight.

It might not make an ounce of sense to anyone but you. God sees your faithfulness, though. God knows what He has called you to. God is the only one who can work in death to bring life.

I don’t know where you are on your marriage journey. Maybe your marriage is healthy – praise the Lord! Maybe you have to work very hard at it, but your marriage is surviving. Praise the Lord! Keep working. Pursue God first, and then your spouse, with all your heart!

Maybe you’re considering giving up. Maybe your spouse is. Your marriage isn’t dead but it’s really quite sick.

Perhaps your marriage is already dead by earthly standards. You hold those divorce papers and you have to abide by a ruling that says it’s finished.

Friend, if God says to wait, if He is telling you to hold on, if He is not freeing you from that relationship, these words are for you.

Fight. Keep fighting. Pray. Keep praying.
Don’t listen to everyone who says, “Just let it go.”
Find people who are going to understand.
Find people who will pray with you.
Surround yourself with people who understand
your commitment to marriage for the long haul,
even when it seems to be already dead. 

Don’t forfeit God’s power by giving up. Don’t quit before you have a chance to see what God will do in your heart and your spouse’s.

Recent news has been full of negativity with regards to marriage. The example of Christian marriage has been severely tarnished and dragged through the mud.

The enemy would love nothing more than to see people give up, en masse, on the idea of marriage.

And here I am, trying to stick it out. God hasn’t freed me from my marriage.

In fact, God has been saying just one word to me this year: Redemption.

God is the author of life. He is also the only one who has the final say on death. Hebrews 12:2 refers to Him as “the author and perfecter of our faith.”

Marriage is a covenant relationship, whether or not our society chooses to view it that way. It is a covenant with our spouse, and also with God. He is at the beginning of that covenant, and He will be at the end of it.

Therefore, if God is not letting you out of that covenant, you keep on fighting. Keep on listening to Him, no matter what.

If you need resources, let me know, I can try to find things that will help you.

Don’t give up. Keep fighting. Keep praying.

We serve a God who can raise the dead! I believe it, do you? 

Giving Up - What You Really Lose

photo source 

sharing at Grace & Truth

Comments

  1. So, so true. I love your heart to fight for marriages, even when it’s hard and feels overwhelming at times. Thanks for this encouragement!
    Lauren English recently posted…Five on Friday: First Week Of School DONE!My Profile

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    Rebekah Reply:

    Thank you, Lauren! Yes, I’m so frustrated with how the enemy is so at work in our marriage, in marriages of our friends and it’s time to say, “No more. These marriages belong to Jesus!

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  2. Beautiful, Becky! The enemy wants to take out our covenants – destroy what is good. We need to be diligent in keeping the door closed to him, but wide open for the healing work of Christ! Thank you for your heart!
    Hugs,
    Lori
    Lori Schumaker recently posted…Taking Time to Nurture Our MarriagesMy Profile

    [Reply]

    Rebekah Reply:

    Thank you, Lori! I appreciate your wise and kind input on this, to help take the encouragement even farther! thank you, friend!

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  3. Thank you so much for this. I had been fighting for so long and I gave up physically, but still hoped for reconciliation. I stopped seeing him and we were living separately. I came across this article and it really pricked my heart. Praise God some improvement has been made. We have a long way to go, but I can just remind myself of what you have said: God is the author of life. He is also the only one who has the final say on death.
    Jenna recently posted…A Small Prayer {Grace & Truth}My Profile

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    Rebekah Reply:

    Amen! I needed reminded of those words today – thank you for sharing them back to me!

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  4. Wow! This came at the perfect time! My husband filed for divorce just before Christms and I have felt to keep fighting even though he insists its absolutely over. I am standing in the gap for my husband and marriage! I’ve been reminded since the separation began about the story of Lazarus. Thank you for this article! Thank you for your ministry! I will keep fighting and keep standing even though my situation seems dead! There is life for my marriage!! I claim victory for it in the name of Jesus!

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    Rebekah Reply:

    You know, I’m watching miracles in my life on a daily basis. But I’ll tell you that the best part of all of it is that no matter how our marriages end up, no matter our circumstances, God WILL protect us. He WILL teach us something through it all, and HE will continue to love us! Praying with you!

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  5. I think God is speaking to me through you….I’ve spent 2 days in bed sobbing after I finally decided to give up on my marriage. My husband moved out (again) after telling me he loves me but isn’t in love with me after almost 25 years. I would welcome any resources you could send me, and also all the prayers you can lift up on our behalf. This man is my soulmate and heart, and I’m not done fighting yet, even if he is.

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  6. I am going exactly through this, the situation I am going through right now is what brought me to our powerful god. When our problems started I thought I could change my husbands mind. I started to pray, throughout my entire day I would just stop and talk to god and I know feel soooo much better, I feel so much more peace in my heart. my husband tells me we’re done, and theirs no point of return for us, but even if he files for divorce or leaves me with our two daughters I will continue to fight the enemy for my home and my husband. I will also never stop looking for a better relationship with God.
    Thank You! I needed to hear this!!!!

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  7. Darleen Gonzalez says:

    Hi, I have been reading all your post and they have given me hope. My husband no longer loves me and I am here fighting everyday to save my marriage. If there’s any books or anything else I can do please let me know. I want my marriage but most of all I want my husband back and to love me the way he once did

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  8. Melynna says:

    Oh my goodness Jessica! Your story sounds just like mine! My husband and I have been separated for almost 6 months. He moved out of our home that we share with our two daughters. He is at the point where he wants to start the process of divorce. I’m so defeated. I have prayed every prayer imaginable. I have lost hope. God has told me on two separate occasions to fight for my marriage. I’m just at a lose as to how to continue on.

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