Each week, Joe Beam is answering questions submitted by Heartlight.org subscribers based on his counseling experience, academic research, and heart for people as a minister. You can submit your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
After all the pain we've been through with our "mess," can we actually have a good marriage? — from Broken in Austin
The short answer is yes, no matter what has happened in the past, a relationship can have a great future.
Perhaps the best way to illustrate this is to compare the love between spouses with the love between our Lord and his bride, the church. If any groom has been repeatedly and severely hurt by his bride, it is the Lord. Think of all the pain she has caused him over the centuries — unfaithfulness, hard-heartedness, hypocrisy, and worse. Yet, we know from a plethora of scriptures that he forgives, reconciles, and pours blessings on his wayward bride when she repents and turns to him. He keeps no record of her wrongs (1 Corinthians 13:5). He endures (1 Corinthians 13:7). Though the church betrayed him, he gave himself to remove her guilt so that he could view her as blameless (Ephesians 5:25-27). The Lord puts her sin as far away from her as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12) and chooses not to bring them up again, either to her or to himself (Hebrews 8:12).
That is the way to make a relationship good. Repentance. Forgiveness. Moving on toward the future without hanging on to past hurt and harm.
If you think that Jesus is the only one who could be so gracious and that human beings cannot do what he did, think again. In my experience with thousands of couples, I've witnessed remarkable mercy and grace that has led to nearly unfathomable reconciliation. Name it and likely I've seen at least one couple deal with it, overcome, and make a great marriage. Abuse, addictions, adultery, arguments, abandonment — to save space, you just fill out the alphabet with anything you've faced in your relationship. For example, one wife forgave her husband (with a bit of help, you understand), for a dozen affairs over the life of their marriage. They now serve in a leadership position in their church. Another example, a husband forgave his wife as she left her lover to save her marriage — even though she still loved the paramour when she decided to do right and return home. They are now deeply in love and have a wonderful marriage.
Through penitence, forgiveness, and reconciliation, anything can be overcome. With time, broken and mangled marriages can be wonderful and fulfilling. It is the miracle of grace.
Yes, no matter what has happened in the past, your relationship can have a great future.
If you have a question about love and relationships, send them to me at ask@JoeBeam.com. I'll answer 1 or 2 questions each week, using my counseling experience, academic research, and a deep respect for God's Word.
No matter what has happened in the past!
And if your marriage is in trouble, we can help. Go to http://www.JoeBeam.com. Our success rate, even if one partner comes reluctantly, is three out of four marriages.