Many times, I’ve sat in my office across from the look of hope and fear. As a counselor, I love meeting with engaged couples. There’s something about new love, hope for the future, and that almost school-age giddiness. It’s the beginning of their new life!
We talk about how becoming better communicators will help the relationship, how financial responsibilities will be handled, and how their marriage can be successful. However, in many cases, I see fear and anxiety overtaking our sessions. Unlike most youngsters, many of these couples are their second or maybe third time around the block. They may have married too young the first time, they just weren’t compatible with their spouse, or maybe they escaped an abusive partner. Either way, they are starting over with something they hoped would only happen once.
Now, in the midst of their happiness, they are left with society’s view of their perfect marriage as imperfect or a do-over. You know what I mean, right? It’s that inner feeling you get when someone tells you it’s their second marriage. That “oh gosh, something really bad must have happened.” That reflection, in itself, can be challenging for any couple, but for those with children from a previous marriage or relationship, the struggles may be just starting. Is the perfect remarriage impossible? Will I ever see my new marriage in the same way I did when I first walked down the aisle? Will or could my children recognize their perfect childhood? Can I correct the mistakes? Will I have my happily ever after and defy the stats?
If your answers are: Well maybe. Couldn’t hurt to try. Possible, but not likely, or as long as it doesn’t look anything like my previous relationship, then let’s take a peek at the gospel and what God says is possible.
Luke 1:37 says, “For nothing will be impossible with God.”
Yes, you read it correctly. According to the gospel of Luke, nothing, not your circumstances, your history, your faults, your ex-spouse’s faults, your children, your PERFECT, is impossible with God. Please allow me to rephrase. It. Is. Possible!
Whoa, wait a second, God. But you don’t know my story or how I’ve messed up. Have you had a chance to review the recent statistical studies on the success of remarriage? If you had, Dr. Luke, you might have a different answer. It’s almost pretty much impossible to see my marriage, my family, and my future as perfect. At best, it’s going to be pretty good, and I’m okay with that.
Should we be satisfied with “pretty good” or “good enough?” What if we are surrendering to God our inner fears of failure? God may hate divorce, but He loves divorced people. It doesn’t matter if this is your first, second, or eighth marriage, if you do it God’s way, it can be perfect.
But then, what is God’s way? I’ve been asked this multiple times in marriage counseling, and the question seems to come with the desire for an exact list. So, let’s lay out a few best practices.
- If you’re not a believer, I strongly encourage you to find a great Bible-based church and ask a pastor to help you to know Jesus.
- Ask God for forgiveness from your past. Additionally, ask Him to help you forgive those who have hurt you in the past.
- Make a commitment in your marriage to join a great church and pray that He will surround you both with amazing role models and Christian examples.
- Seek wisdom from resources designed to help couples thrive in marriage.
- Pray together, often. There is nothing more intimate and personal than praying together.
- Surround yourself with godly couples who encourage your marriage, your spouse, and your own personal growth with the Lord.
- Don’t get discouraged when arguments occur. In marriage, you are going to fight, but learn to fight the correct way. Never go to bed angry.
- Lastly, ask God for the gift to see your marriage exactly as He does. Perfect.
God is for your marriage. He gifted the two of you together, perfectly. He wants your children to have a great example of love and commitment. Remember, God is the designer of marriage, and He wants you to prosper.
- “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare[a] and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11).
- “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10).
Jesus has another plan, a better plan. But you have to do the work, too. The love you feel for your spouse is very real and good. You have the ability to have a perfect marriage if you desire to do it God’s way. I really think you are worth the effort!
One last time. “For nothing will be impossible with God!” (Luke 1:37)
It. Is. Possible!
Scott and Vanessa Martindale
Founders of Blended Kingdom Families