Why There IS Hope for the Rest of Us Even Though Bennifer Didn't Make It

I read an article the other day where a young woman lamented the break up of Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner and quarried that since THEY couldn't make marriage work that "there is no hope for the rest of us".

Now, I don't know what the circumstances of their divorce are and I don't need/want to know, but I want to be clear that there absolutely are situations where divorce is the only option. If a partner refuses to change or get help divorce may be the right choice.

But after many moments where I didn't know how we were going to make it or if I could keep on loving, I believe with all of my heart that there is hope for the rest of us.

Not because it is always fun and not because it always feels good, because it isn't and it doesn't. Living with someone, hearing them pass gas in the night and making major and minor life decisions with them day in and day out is going to lead to some tension. And the deep and ugly sin that I've managed to hide from every other person in my life is to my marriage what a major break in the foundation is to a house. It gets worse with time. It affects everything...even small things like the way a chair rolls across the floor.

But sin and struggle don't make a marriage bad and they don't mean there's no hope.

Marriage has led me to Jesus. And God has used it, more than anything else, to transform me into the likeness of His Son.

I believe with all of my heart that there IS hope and here's why I believe that...

1. God is good. He made marriage and He called it good and He Always Tells the truth.

2. God loves us and provides for us. He made woman because man was alone. And then when they sinned He concocted this amazing and intricate scheme to redeem us from it. Amazing love! How can it be!?!

3. The gospel is powerful. It is sharper than any two edged sword. It changes lives. God promises that anyone who seeks Him with their whole heart will find Him. And finding Him produces fruit. Good fruit. And good fruit in my life will produce good fruit in my marriage.

It does. I know. The gospel has changed me. It has transformed me from the bitter, negative attention seeking, lying, suicidal girl I was into a hopeful, forgiving, honest, live-for-Jesus girl. I'm not perfect. I have lots of areas that are in need of growth but I'm on the path and I praise God for that!

4. Free will. I have a choice. A good marriage is an intentional one. "Not getting along" is not something that just happens...it's a choice. Good, Christ honoring marriages don't just happen.  It is a decision...
  • to forgive. Over and over and over. The way God, through Christ Jesus, has forgiven me. It isn't an emotion that either comes or doesn't. It is a decision and it is MADE. 
  • to hold my tongue when I should, communicate when it's time and confess when I'm wrong. It is my responsibility to communicate respectfully. Complaining and criticizing are different than communicating the tools that Michael needs to be a good husband to me. Complaining and criticism belittle and provoke him, communication empowers him. 
  • to love him deeply. Because love covers a multitude of sin. He's flawed just like me. And just like me he needs someone to know all of his stuff and love him anyway. 
  • to be transformed. Gravely wronging someone, being gravely wronged and then committing to work it out and make it good anyway requires major renovation of the heart. It requires continual surrender. If I let Him, God can use my marriage to make me like Jesus. But it's not a passive thing, it's a decision I have to make. Over and over and over and over and over and...you get my drift. :) As my heart is renovated, my marriage is too. 
There is hope. There is so much hope for my marriage in Jesus. And Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner and their ability to keep it together have nothing to do with that.

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