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She’s the one

By Brad Wicks

“Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him’” (Genesis 2:18, ESV).

As a teenager, every time I heard a sermon on the second coming of Christ I would pray, “Lord, could You please hold off on Your return until I can get married and have a family of my own?”

The idea of getting married, having kids and raising a family seemed to be one of the greatest joys and gifts in life. Looking back now, I realize I overlooked the complexities and challenges married life would entail.

In 1992 while in college I was introduced to Denise. She was unlike any girl I had ever met. Life seemed to bubble from within her, and every time we were together she made me feel like anything was possible. On top of that she was funny, witty, and the most beautiful woman I had ever seen.

By the end of the year we were married.

At the time, marriage was everything I had hoped and dreamed it would be. I was just waiting for that mystical voice to proclaim, “And they lived happily ever after.”

The reality of our situation however was anything but a fairy tale. Truth be told, Denise and I were relationally and spiritually inept to handle married life. At the time neither one of us had a relationship with Jesus Christ; we were also self-absorbed, rebellious, and ignorant to the realities of life. By the end of our first year of marriage our relationship had disintegrated into verbal, physical and emotional abuse.

In the summer of 1994 we both agreed divorce was inevitable.

To be honest, I was relieved the marriage was finally going to be over. In my distorted view of God, I couldn’t imagine He wanted me to stay in a relationship where I was absolutely miserable. From my perspective the grass was greener on the other side, and I was ready to graze in new pastures.

Over the next couple of months we signed the divorce papers and prepared to go our separate ways. Things were looking up, happiness was just around the corner — or so I thought.

I once saw a divorce ad that said, “Need a divorce? Call our law office today for a fast, affordable and painless solution.”

That’s a marketing campaign straight from the pit of hell. Divorce is anything but fast, affordable and painless. It has lasting effects; it will cost you spiritually and emotionally; and it will leave a wound in the depth of your soul. I learned firsthand.

In the weeks that followed our divorce I experienced the consequences of our decision. In fact, those days represent the darkest days in my life. I remember one day in particular, lying on the floor in the bedroom where our bed once was. I was battling depression and contemplating suicide. Fact was, I was lonely, scared and just wanted the pain to stop. In desperation I began to cry out to God, asking Him to help me.

As a child growing up I had made a commitment to follow Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, my commitment to the Lord had waned by the time I left for college. But God had not abandoned me.

The Bible says He is a God characterized by steadfast love and faithfulness. In those days of desperation as I called out to the Lord, something miraculous began to take place in my heart. For the first time in a long time I began to sense the presence of God.

David writes in Psalm 34:18, “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” During those dark days I experienced a moment of spiritual clarity. I realized the relational problems I had with Denise stemmed from a far greater relational problem between God and me. The only way to reconcile that relationship, I knew, was through a relationship with His Son Jesus Christ.

In the days that followed my conversion, the Lord began to speak to my heart concerning my relationship with Denise. While I was driving, a song by Steve Green entitled, “Answer the Call,” came on the radio. The song talks about a man who had given his life to Christ and wanted to become the husband and father God intended him to be. The song resonated deeply with my spirit, and I began to pray specifically that God would reconcile my relationship with Denise and give me a second chance to make things right.

I’d like to say Denise was automatically open to my spiritual transformation, but understandably she was skeptical. But she was also intrigued. During the next few months Denise and I began to talk about the possibility of working things out.

Denise accepted Christ as her Savior and experienced the same radical transformation I had experienced. Today Denise and I are happily remarried and getting ready to celebrate our 16th wedding anniversary. God has miraculously continued to bring healing to our marriage as we have surrendered our lives to Christ.

Denise and I believe we serve a God of reconciliation who can heal any marital situation. Often we are asked what the secret to a successful marriage is. I don’t pretend to know the answer to that question, but there are some general principles that can make any marriage better.

Principle #1: God has ordained your marriage. Look at Genesis 2:18 again: “Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him’ ”

Many people mistakenly believe when their marriage hits a wall that they have somehow married the wrong person. It’s as if they believe God had a Plan A, but somehow they ended up with Plan B.

Despite the feelings I had toward Denise during our divorce, God had not made a mistake bringing us together. He made Denise for me and me for her. Adam didn’t get to choose Eve out of a lineup. There was no voting Eve off the island or 12 weeks of The Bachelor for Adam to decide whom he wanted. Somehow in God’s economy of relationships, He teams us up with the person He intends us to be with. Like it or not, if you’re married, you’re married to the person God intended for you to marry. It’s no mistake. There’s no getting around it. Your spouse is Plan A!

Fortunately, we serve a God who forgives and has the power to work all of our mistakes for good. Every person needs to get to a place where he or she views his or her spouse as a gift from God. It’s in that place of faith that true relational happiness becomes a reality.

Principle #2: God has designed your spouse specifically to make you better and vice versa. God designed our spouses specifically to meet our needs and bring the best out in us.

In Genesis 2:18 it says God made a helper fit for Adam. In other words, Eve was everything Adam needed. When I finally stopped trying to change Denise into what I thought she should be and started seeing her as everything I ever needed, our marriage improved. Within your spouse reside the keys to unleashing God’s best for your life.

Several years ago I introduced Denise to a close friend of mine who has been my spiritual mentor since I was in the eighth grade. After spending an evening with us my friend pulled me aside and asked if he could speak candidly about my relationship with Denise. He went on to say he noticed when Denise talked that I got embarrassed. I’m sorry to say he was correct.

“Brad, don’t ever be embarrassed with your wife,” he said. “She is a gift from God and someday she is going to play an important role in what God has in store for you.”

Principle #3: God cares about your relational health. I think it’s significant to note that in Genesis 2:18 God noticed Adam was lonely. Despite the incredible relationship Adam had with God, there was something intrinsically missing in Adam’s life and God cared enough to do something about it.

Maybe you’re feeling alone in a marriage that seems to be going nowhere, or maybe you’re living on the brink of divorce. Whatever the case, know this: God cares about your relational health. He wants you to have a successful marriage. If you ask Him to, He cares enough to do something about it.

In Luke 11:9,10, Jesus gives us some incredible insight into the love the Father has for those who call upon Him. Luke writes, “And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.”

Looking back on the past 16 years of my marriage, I am amazed to see what God has done as Denise and I have called on Him. No matter where your marriage is at today, rest in the understanding that God is with you and He will help you if you call on His name.

BRAD WICKS is pastor of adult ministries at James River Assembly in Ozark, Mo.

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