God designed marriage to heal us. That statement may surprise people, especially those who have been deeply damaged by an unhealthy marriage—whether their own, or their parents’ past marriage. But I believe marriage can be a healing journey.
Karen and I started our marriage hurting each other. The reason is because we didn’t understand each other at all. We looked at the world differently. We reacted to situations differently. We seemed to be each other’s opposites in every way.
Recently HarperCollins released my newest book, Strengths Based Marriage, which I wrote with Allan Kelsey, a pastor and Clifton StrengthsFinder expert. In the process, Allan tested Karen and me and discovered that we are about as opposite as any two people can be.
Those differences caused significant damage and took us to the brink of divorce until, through our marriage and through each other, God began to heal us. Miraculously, we found God’s way.
Here are four simple but profoundly important facts about marriage as a journey of healing:
1⃣ God created marriage. Marriage is not a creation of the government or the legal system. It came from God Himself in the Garden of Eden. The first marriage was the union between Adam and Eve.
2⃣ God created marriage to bless us. The word Eden means “pleasure and delight.” It was a paradise. God created the marriage relationship because He wanted us to experience pleasure and delight with each other.
3⃣ Rebellion to God’s Word caused the fall of marriage. When Satan intruded on the Garden in the form of a serpent, he questioned the integrity of God’s Word. “Has God surely said…?” the serpent asked Eve. Then he lied about the consequences of Eve’s rebellion.
This led to Adam and Eve’s removal from paradise. Their society was destroyed.
Look at America today. There are consequences to rebelling against the Word of God. Marriage doesn’t work today because we’ve thrown away God’s Word. Bad marriages are not God’s fault, but the result of our having rejected His plan.
4⃣ Returning to God’s Word heals us. It restores us to God’s plan for marriage and for life. Psalm 107:20 says, “He sent…his word and healed them, and delivered them from their destruction.” Returning to God’s Word brings healing.
Early in our marriage, when our fighting reached its worst point, Karen did something very smart. She stopped fighting with me. She got alone with God and said, “This is not about Jimmy. You heal me.” She began getting up every morning and immersing herself in God’s Word.
God began to heal her. As Karen found healing, it just highlighted how sick I was. Ultimately, that’s what changed me.
Karen’s change was the best thing that ever happened for us, as God delivered our marriage from destruction. Her spiritual journey carried me along. Our marriage healed me.
Once we returned to God’s Word together, we started understanding each other better. We communicated. We served each other. We began to put ourselves in each other’s shoes. And instead of rejecting our differences, we celebrate them.
Today, our marriage is happy, healthy, and fulfilling. But we only got here after returning to God’s Word, and asking Him to heal our marriage—and heal us in the process. He can do the same for you.
Jimmy Evans // Marriage Today