What is the most crucial desire to solve any and all marital problems? It must be a desire to please God. Gone must be the desire to win, the desire to get even, the desire to be the most hurt, the desire to be vindicated, or the desire to be appreciated, loved, or known. One must WANT to please God.
Therefore, one must be more concerned about what God thinks about their responses than what God thinks about the other spouse’s sin. Jay Adams has a rather insightful comment:
“No counseling can proceed effectively apart from the willingness of both parties (though in the passage quoted [1 Peter 3:7] the husband is especially singled out) to confess sin, be reconciled to one another, and do whatever they discover God requires of them in counseling … When a husband refuses to communicate with his wife, he can be assured on the basis of 1 Peter 3:7 that God will refuse to hear his communications” (Jay Adams, Solving Marital Problems, 3).
Now Jay goes beyond pleasing God and reconciliation (confession, repentance, and forgiveness). Indeed, his challenge to husbands to know their brides is sobering. Our concern, however, centers on this idea of reconciliation.
It has been said that the greatest hurdle to your joy is not an absence of pleasure, but the presence of sin. Indeed, the Bible says similarly, “Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy” (Prov 28:13). YET, the one action least seen in resolving marital problems is robust repentance.
Psalm 51 must be our schoolmaster here. David is finally caught, finally out of rationalizations, justifications, excuses, and blame-shifting. He is undone. His only hope is that God would be merciful to him. With all of his “reasons” why he did what he did exhausted, he has only one response…throwing himself upon the mercy of Judge.
David clearly sees his sin…and his sin only. No longer is Uriah the problem; no longer is Bathsheba the problem; no longer is that blasted plumber who builds baths on tops of houses in full view the problem. Finally, David is brought to see THE PROBLEM…himself. Beloved, when was the last time you cried more over your sins than those others have committed against you?
Only when he sees that he is the problem…that, though the whole world acquit him, if God should find him guilty, he is indeed guilty…then he finally gives up the game of justifying his actions and repents.
Oh how sweet is his reward! Joy is his, praise wells up in his soul and bursts forth from his lips, and his concern turns from himself to his city…to others.
Beloved, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise” (Ps 51:17). Never is more right to say again, the greatest hurdle to your joy is not an absence of pleasure, but the presence of sin. Never is this attitude more required than in marital strife.
Lord, please make us willing to forsake all for the greater wealth of pleasing you.
10,000 Blessings in the Merciful Savior,
Rod and Staff Ministries