A Good Marriage With A Broken Spouse

We’re all broken, but some folks are deeply broken and are never going to be able to fix some major issues. Others probably could fix things, but are unwilling to go past a certain point. If you’re married to a woman like that, what do you do?

A Good Marriage With A Broken Spouse

I knew a wonderful godly man in that situation. Not because he described it that way, but because we got to know him and his wife well enough to see it. She had reached a level of healing that allowed her to be functional and then stopped. She had gone as far as she was going to go. 

I don’t know what it took this man to get to where he was when I met him, I suspect it was a difficult battle. He travelled a fair amount for ministry and his wife only joined him if it was in driving distance. He made a point of limiting his time away, and he talked lovingly about his wife to anyone who would listen. When he was with her he was very loving and supportive. I don’t know if he had somehow gotten past his frustration or had just chosen to set it down, but there was no hint of it. I do know he limited his life in many ways because of his wife, something he once admitted to Lori and me.

I see what this man did as loving and very, very Christlike. He didn’t stand up for his “rights” and he didn’t tell the world how broken his wife was. He accepted her limitations and made significant concessions for her. He made a good marriage where most would have been miserable, and that made life better for his wife and for him. I can see how his choices changed him, and how God used those things for good well beyond their marriage.

The point here is you can have a decent marriage with a broken wife if you’re willing to make it happen and she doesn’t walk away. It won’t be easy, and it won’t be fun dying to yourself and some of your desires. However it will be right before God, and He will use your sacrifices for good.

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5 Comments on “A Good Marriage With A Broken Spouse

  1. That is a beautiful story, Paul, and an example that we should all try to live up to.

    There is a lot said in the Bible about how marriage should look, and how it should work, and all of that is really good, but it only goes so far without the greatest commandment.

    Mark 12:30-31
    Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

    If we are truly followers of Christ, shouldn’t that first be reflected in our marriages?

    If only one spouse could truly reach that lofty goal, then, indeed, what the world might see as a miserable experience, might be a truly beautiful thing.

    If both spouses could reach it…….well, I can’t imagine what that would look like, other than it would be second only to heaven in its sweetness.

    I would guess that the man you wrote about was so strong in the first part of the commandment, to love God, that it was reflected in his love for his wife.

    We should all pray that we might be more luke that man.

  2. This makes me think of the Hosea and Gomer story. I’ve never particularly liked it. It’s held up as a model for how we should all be, akin to Jesus saying to forgive your brother who sins against you as many times as he does it. Gomer typically represents us, the people who turn from God at every opportunity because it is in our nature, and Hosea the righteous husband who always rescues her as God who loves us unconditionally.

    I’ve never been able to get past my own disgust for what I see as Hosea’s lack of self respect, men I know who overlook or ignore an unfaithful spouse’s continued dalliances are not people I typically hold in high regard. I’m curious if there is a threshold to how much brokenness each of us can deal with. I know if I decided to start sleeping around or became a heroin junkie, my wife would leave, as I would expect her to. But if I was broken in another way, if I put 60lbs back on and started crushing the chinese buffet again and eating myself to death, she wouldn’t leave.

    • I am sure that each of us has a threshold. Many have already ran into it, and many never have and never will I suspect that there are also those, like the gentleman Paul spoke of, and Hosea as well, who are able to set the bar higher in order to do what they believe God called them to do.

      That is not to say that everyone who endures much is within the center of Gods will. People do things for a myriad of reasons.

    • @mykidsmademedoit – I’d start by differentiating between brokenness and wanton sin. I understands that distinction doesn’t exist at some levels, but I see not being willing to get enough healing to be social as different than having sex with a never ending line of people.

      We do all certainly have a limit, but I find most folks never find that limit. Most people just leave (emotionally if not physically) when things get tough.

      • @Paul, I think they are intermixed. When I got back from Iraq almost all of our major discipline problems and substance abuse problems were really mental health issues masquerading as something else, ie brokenness masquerading as wonton sin. When I worked at a mental health facility, the same thing, almost all of the homeless and junkies were really mental health problems without the money for treatment that chose to self medicate.

        The person that goes bed to bed to bed in college is really trying to fill a hole that something else left in them, whether it was daddy, or rejection, or inadequacy or whatever.

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