Every relationship comes with trials. Whether you are just getting to know each other or have been married for fifty years, you will experience tough times. Sometimes the trials are because both of you are sinners, and sinners tend to sin against each other. Other times you will experience testing from the outside together, like an unexpected budget buster, a car crash, sickness, or a random family member offering “helpful” ways for you to run your lives.
The best help in responding to any trial in a way that honors the Lord is to frame the trial biblically. As you step back and look at the trial, you must get God in your thinking. Almost every fight, angry reaction, or stressful overload is cause by “practical atheism.” While you may say you believe the right things about God and the Bible, if you react to trials like God doesn’t exist, you are acting like a practical atheist.
God certainly does exist. He is completely sovereign over each and every trial. If you are a Christian, he is at work in and around the trial for your good and his glory. He will never let you be tempted beyond what you are able to bear. He will always give you the grace to honor him as you endure the trial. These profound realities come straight from the Bible. Understanding three power passages from the Bible can revolutionize your relationship.
James 1:2-5 is the first of the power passages in helping you frame your trials in a God-honoring way. “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.”
The only way that you can consider a trial to be joy is good theology. By faith you have to remind yourself that God is in this thing. God is working in every challenging time you experience to produce Christian maturity in you and your spouse. Even then, James includes a promise that if we don’t have the wisdom to be joyful in our hardships, we can ask God for help, and he will answer us.
The second power passage is Romans 8:28-30. “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.”
It is not enough to stop at the favorite verse 28, which says all things are working for good. The next two verses explain the meaning of that good. God is producing Christlikeness in his children through the events of their lives. It is fair to say that if you are a Christian you have been put on a course from before you were born that includes chipping off all of the rough edges to make you like Jesus. This doesn’t mean that everything you experience in life is good, but it does mean that God is working every single thing you experience toward his glory and your good.
The final power passage to aid couples in framing their trials Godwardly is 1 Corinthians 10:13. “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”
Your trials are never unique, they are common to man—or common to couples. Your trials are never unbearable. Your trials are never inescapable. When you are tempted to doubt any of the statements above, remember 1 Corinthians 10:13. The truth of God’s word is a powerful antidote to the lies of the flesh and the devil.
Let me ask you a few questions to see how your marriage is doing when it comes to trials:
Don’t let your relationship suffer because of practical atheism. You must first of all honor the Lord in the midst of your trials. But your relationship will be revolutionized as you begin to do this as a couple. While we will all face trials, we don’t have to be toppled by them. By God’s grace, we can triumph through them.
By John Crotts