Those Who Learn, Teach
One of my favorite things about working with couples is watching them reproduce what they learn from us in other relationships. When someone truly embraces a concept and applies it to their lives, they are ready to teach it to someone else. And the truth that saved them becomes a lifeline for a friend.
Miranda came to us when her husband declared that he no longer loved her and was planning to leave her and the children. He had fallen into a deep despair and was becoming meaner and more distant every day. He refused to seek help of any kind, and Miranda found herself hopelessly clinging to the remnants of her marriage.
She had always been a church-goer, but had never really sought an active relationship with Jesus. With her world turned upside down, she found her only foundation was Jesus and the truth of His Word, so she dove in with a vigor I’ve seldom seen. We began to talk about what the Bible had to say about divorce, love, and loyalty. We talked about boundaries and appropriate communication strategies. And we spent a lot of time encouraging her that hard didn’t mean bad.
You see, every time she prayed about it, she heard Jesus say, “Don’t leave. Love your husband. It’s going to be okay.” But everyone in her life was telling her she was crazy, she was holding on to a hopeless dream, and it was time to cut her losses and run to safety. So Paul and I spoke truth to her and over her, again and again. Obedience to Jesus is worth the risk. You are loved. Valued. Wanted by the Creator of the Universe. Cling to Him.
These past months have been the worst of Miranda’s life. She’s told me so many times. But she has chosen to love her husband, to pray for him, encourage him, and be present should he become ready to re-engage. And her friends are noticing.
She sent me a screenshot of a text conversation she had with her friend the other day. His long term girlfriend had left him and was being rather hateful. He wanted to know how Miranda was holding up under the pain of her marriage. “I know how he’s treating you, how are you making it?” And I watched with such immense gratification in the enduring power of the Holy Spirit as she spoke over him the words we had been speaking over her. “Jesus has a plan, but you have to cling to Him. Tell Him all the things - the good, the bad, the ugly. Listen to Him. Set good boundaries. You aren’t alone.”
Even in the midst of deep pain and heartache, the truths Miranda has internalized are playing out in her life. I can only imagine the love her husband will feel when he looks back at her steadfastness in the fire. People on the outside are already noticing it, and I know that our God writes redemption into us and multiplies it when we love each other well.
Not Easily Broken Ministries exists to equip every marriage to be the story of the gospel in their community. And the thing about stories, especially the good ones, is they get retold. Often. They become the legends and histories we feast on. When we help a couple change the narrative of their relationship to more closely reflect Jesus’ love for the Church, others get to read and benefit from their story in ways we may never get to know. I, for one, am grateful I got to see a little bit of it this time around.