This analogy has a great application for marriages. It’s only in the storms that weak spots are exposed. When they are exposed the builder doesn’t scrap the whole ship as a failure and start over. Rather, now that a weakness is exposed it can be fixed and made stronger.
The storms in marriages reveal weaknesses in both people, not failures; areas that are still unhealed, unhealthy and incomplete. Every marriage is a one-flesh ship, so to speak, and will face storms.
Weakness or Failure?
The design of marriage is for support during weakness – not condemnation in failure. Storms will happen, you can’t live in this world untouched by them. The Message describes the world as squalid and polluted and it makes sense, Satan owns it. So we need a ship-mate who’s got our back if we are going to make it through.
God chose you to be your husband’s wife the day you met him. You agreed to be his team-mate on your wedding day and sealed the deal on your wedding night. In this, God invites you in on His plan: to witness Him renew your husband’s mind and change his life.
It’s in these storms that God does His best work. It’s in these storms that we get to demonstrate our authenticity of faith; whether the storm is a simple rain shower or one that reaches extreme levels of intensity that beat and pound against the hull of a marriage for years.
Victors Are Selfless
Sarah gives us an example of how to handle ourselves in a storm. When Abraham requested that she allow herself to be taken into Pharaoh’s harem, she saw the request not as a failure of a husband but as a flaw that was being exposed. The sin of fear that needed healing before it got any worse. In her example we see that she didn’t:
- Take it personally – she didn’t see it as an attack on herself, or
- Make it her business to set him straight or fix the circumstances– she didn’t believe she could do a better job of healing him than God.
Her spiritual maturity is confirmed by her ability to put him first. His emotional damage was obviously worse than hers, she was stronger. She didn’t say, No way, Abe. You are not going to drag me down with you just because you are afraid. She knew he needed her strength and power, not her criticism, and used this opportunity to intercede for him rather than go on a faultfinding mission.
It appeared as though Abraham was giving up on her and their marriage by choosing himself over her:
[…] they will kill me, but they will let you live.
Sarah was able to rise above our human propensity for selfishness by choosing the view of her life in eternity rather than the view of what was temporarily happening. We cannot look at people from an earthly perspective. We are to look beyond ourselves and our circumstances. She gave us the amazing example of living for someone else and Paul put it into words this way, so that all those who live might live no longer to and for themselves.
We need to accept that we’ve married fallen sons of God, not angels and not saints; they are going to sin. Sometimes that sin is going to spill into marriage … against a wife. It’s not fair, but it’s going to happen. Dietrich Bonhoeffer said it right, “We must learn to regard people less in the light of what they do or omit to do, and more in the light of what they suffer.”
There will be adversity so Paul tells us consequently: Your husband has received the same Saviour you have. Your sin is not less than his, just different; but forgiven equally. Consequently, view him from God’s point of view: in progress.