“Arise, awake, or be forever fall’n” Paradise Lost
This blog speaks to those who feel they are at a crossroads in their marriage and need to make a choice to either turn back toward their spouse or continue drifting further away because they feel there is no hope.
Unresolved resentment has taken its toll on you and your marriage. You can either take the long journey back to romance or choose the short road to the dead end of rebellion. It’s time to rise up and fight for your marriage, awake the sleeping giant of potential that oneness in your marriage can have, or face the sad consequences of the distance that has created the chasm between you and your spouse.
Romance says, “That’s so cute.”
Reality says, “I love you, but can you please stop doing that?”
Resentment says, “I hate that about you.”
Rebellion says, “You will never change, and I’m done being the only one trying.”
“John Milton’s Paradise Lost is one of the greatest epic poems in the English language. It tells the story of the Fall of Man, a tale of immense drama, and excitement of rebellion and treachery, or innocence pitted against corruption, in which God and Satan fight a bitter battle for control of mankind’s destiny.” - Audible’s Summary of Paradise Lost
The Root of Rebellion
Without spending too much time here … we need to address the root of rebellion that exists in all of us. We live in a fallen world in which a constant tension exists. It’s ultimately a battle of the wills – a constant push and pull, give and take, win and lose. Lucifer’s fall from heaven, Adam and Eve’s sin, and our selfish will all battle against God’s desire for unity, reconciliation, restoration, and full redemption. Sadly, marriage becomes bad graffiti on an abandoned building rather than a prized work of art that points to the Creator of marriage who desires to reflect the Godhead.
You think nobody notices, but just like bad graffiti, you notice, your kids notice, your family notices, and most importantly God sees it. But you are not alone. There is hope, and it’s time to begin to expose the ugliness and start fresh by moving back towards oneness in your marriage.
Often rebellion is categorized as just extreme cases of the offender and the offended. Fill in the blank with whatever awful experiences people have. Sadly, alcohol, drugs, pornography, mental illness, abusive actions, and other sins have wrecked marriages.
However, some couples are in rebellion simply because they can’t figure out how to get along.
It’s been years … you are starting to feel like it’s never been good. You get this sense that you really weren’t compatible and never really loved each other. God hates divorce so you’ll just accept the fact that your marriage won’t ever be what you hoped it would be. And to add insult to injury, you feel abandoned by God. You may pray, “Lord, I was certain he was the right one, you made this so clear to me, how did you let this happen?” You don’t feel like you deserve this.
We Live in a Fallen World
One thing we need to make crystal clear … Satan is evil.
Humankind is created in God’s image, but we have a sin nature. Rebelling comes naturally but no person is evil. Somehow Satan has managed to get us to believe the ultimate lie: that people are evil and bent on destroying. Don’t get me wrong, people do evil things. People can be influenced and sometimes possessed by an evil spirit. But Satan is the evil one. Our battle is not against flesh and blood. (Ephesians 6)
You see clearly that your marriage is at a crossroads, and you want to choose to move back towards your spouse. How do you do that? What do you do?
Let’s start with understanding two things – One, there is no quick fix. It took years for your marriage to end up where it is and will most likely take time (maybe not years) to experience the oneness God desires for you. Secondly, there is no “Silver Bullet”. This means there is no one specific formula or process that will “fix” your spouse or your situation.
How to get out of Rebellion
While there's no "one size fits all" approach, here is a start:
1. Surrender your will to God’s will. You just want the pain, disappointment, and struggle to end. You know God has as much work to do in you as He does in your spouse. There will be no movement away from rebellion if you stay in your rebellion. Sometimes stubbornness is seen as this bad character trait that is celebrated. “I’m just stubborn, it runs in my family.” But neither rebellion nor stubbornness are traits to be celebrated.
“For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and presumption (stubbornness) is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has also rejected you from being king.” I Samuel 15:23
2. Consider deeply God’s love and forgiveness for you. Would you be willing to offer that same love and forgiveness to your spouse? We are not saying settle for a toxic relationship or be walked all over. We are not saying that sin isn’t addressed. But, we are asking, would you be willing to offer to your spouse what God so willingly offers you?
3. Find a friend, mentor, counselor, or therapist that, among many other things, will focus on two things:
a. Point you to God and His Word
b. Be for both you and your spouse, and for your marriage. Meaning, this is going to take people who can process all the pain you are experiencing in rebellion and still see hope for you and your spouse to experience oneness.
We can’t encourage you enough to not settle for “Forever fall’n” in your marriage. You’ve quickly drifted from resentment to rebellion, and it feels hopeless, but don’t ignore the Spirit’s prompting. You are at a crossroads and the road seems long but embrace the truth that it will be worth it. Think of the blessing that awaits, and the impact reconciliation in your marriage will have on generations to come.