I’m sure that what you are experiencing with your husband must be frustrating and depressing for you in the extreme. I think it is praiseworthy that you and your husband have nearly 17 years of marriage behind you. You mentioned your desire to get out of “the rut.” I want to reassure you that Jesus our Lord loves you very much, and well knows your personal desires and needs. We read in Psalms 139: “Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, Thou understandest my thought afar off…Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid Thine hand upon me”. In Psalm 139:5, we learn that God not only knows us thoroughly, but this knowledge is a loving, benevolent knowledge, “Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid Thine hand upon me.”  God shields and guides us behind and before as we travel this difficult life’s journey; and His protective hand is always on His children, supporting and caring for them. These thoughts from the Word have always been of great comfort for me in those times that try the soul. But now, the fact that our God actually walked here on the earth as true Man and true God in the person of our Lord Jesus Christ, tells me He has personally experienced and well knows and can sympathize with the disappointments and heartaches that we ourselves experience in our lives in this fallen world. We are assured that He sees and understands our trials, and He invites us to come to Him in prayer because He promises to help: “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:15-16).  Our Lord Jesus indeed understands and cares about your concerns in your marriage, and He alone can truly help. He bids you to come to Him in times of need, pouring out your heart to Him, and He will give you mercy and grace to help.

God’s desire is that your marriage be good and fulfilling for you both, and that you will have a stable and loving home environment for your family; and I believe it will be just this way so long as your marriage has Christ in the center. And what should a Christian marriage look like? We read about this in Ephesians 5:21-25. This pattern of marriage is a reflection of the heavenly relationship between Christ and His church as you will see in reading this portion, and I believe it is definitely God’s will at all times for Christian marriages to look like this.  But both partners have responsibilities: the wife is to submit to the husband’s authority and respect him; the husband is to love his wife as Christ also loved the church “and gave Himself” for it. You’ll notice that with this type of commitment, we are not talking about “eros” or romantic love alone, but also that Christ-like “agape” love that is self-sacrificing for the good of the other. Our Lord Jesus Christ must always be the center of our individual affections, and our love and commitment to one another in marriage builds upon Christ, and according to His plan. Christian marriage is like a triangle with Christ at the apex, and you and your husband at the lower angles. You’ll note that as you and your husband get closer to Christ (up the legs of the triangle), you also get closer to one another. Only Christ can fulfill our lives, and He alone is the foundation of a sound marriage. Thus, we cannot expect our spouse to “make us happy,” but we must find our fulfillment in Christ alone. And yet, as marriage partners, we love and respect one another, and demonstrate the love of Christ in our relationship with one another and with our family.

But now, what happens if one partner is not following God’s pattern, or perhaps not showing love and support for the other? This, I believe, is where you might seem to be in your marriage. I think I can see that you still love your husband and are not ready to give up on the marriage, and this is praiseworthy. Your attitude is very honoring to God and pleasing to Him. But what can you do to encourage that feeling of love and support that you should be receiving from your husband? I’m so glad that you are not showing anger towards him.  Becoming angry or expressing frustration would only make things worse (James 1:19,20). Good communication is so important in marriage, and that without defensiveness. But, when such communication is just not there-your husband becomes impatient with your thoughts and doesn’t seem to understand; then, I would say that prayer is your most effective tool. Only God can change the heart, and He alone can re-light that flame if it seems to grow dim. I would suggest that you pray for your husband that he can be the man of God that he was created to be. Pray for yourself that you can love and support your husband in such a way that shows the love of Christ and is a good example of a Godly wife.  This might encourage him to want to become the type of husband that is pleasing to God. As you pray for him, think about your own relationship to Christ. Take a look at Psalms 37:4,5: “Delight thyself also in the LORD: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass”.

Now, there could be forces behind the scenes fighting against your desire for a good marriage. God created marriage in the first place, and He wants it to work. But, there is one who doesn’t want your marriage to work, and that is Satan. In John 10:10 we read: “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly”. The thief in this case is the devil, and he and his wicked spirits are the real enemy here behind the scenes, wanting to disrupt your marriage and every other Christian marriage that can be harmed by deception, temptation, and even intimidation. In Ephesians 6:11,12 we read: “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places”. The various defenses you have at your disposal are listed up through verse 17, with the one offensive weapon being prayer (verse 18). Good communication is so important in marriage; however, when it is not happening, then fervent prayer is the one real resource that truly can make the difference. Prayer should be the signature trait of the Christian because it shows dependence upon God, and truly, God is the One whom we need to depend on. I speak about spiritual warfare here because Satan wants to discourage Christians. He may try to lead you to feel resentment towards your husband or convince you that your marriage cannot be salvaged. God’s will is for marriage to work well, according to His divine plan. Now, this is where prayer (Ephesians 6:18) comes in, “…Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints…”.

It is my prayer that our Lord will encourage your soul with a sense of His mighty presence and power and make your marriage into everything it should be.  (SF)  (526.4)