No matter how great your marriage is we all know and have experienced seasons in the wilderness so to speak. By “wilderness” I mean days, weeks, months, or possibly even years, where our marriage feels dry and barren. To some of us, this time feels fruitless and empty…you can’t seem to connect with each other (emotionally, let alone physically) and marriage feels more like a roommate agreement and less like the beautiful, biblical covenant God designed it to be. So how do we walk through these “wilderness” times in our marriage and come out still connected and in love with our spouse?
In the 19 years that Ryan and I have been together, we too have experienced wilderness seasons in our relationship. It feels unnerving and causes me to ask God WHY? Why we are walking through this wilderness time?
Staying Connected In The Wilderness
One of the biggest ways Ryan and I have stayed connected, despite the wilderness moments we experience in our marriage, has been a constant devotion to dive into scripture together on a daily basis.
More often than not it’s about the quality and not the quantity of the scripture being read that has breathed life back into our relationship. Meaning we don’t get down on ourselves if we only have a few minutes to read a few verses because it might be those few verses God wants to use to remind us of who He is, no matter where we are, or how we’re feeling in our marriage.
My friends the bible is a gift; it’s a doorway into hearing and knowing our Creator and King. There is no substitute for reading scripture, especially when you’re feeling like your marriage has become a desolate place lacking life and substance.
God’s Word Sustains Life
When Jesus was tempted in Matthew 4 (vs.1-4) he responds in a powerful way that answers this question of how does our marriage stay alive in the wilderness? Let’s read,
“Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
If we focus on verse four, we see that Jesus tells Satan that “man”/we do not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God. (AMEN!)
I would argue that part of us may not actually believe the bible has the answers or power we need for the life of our marriage. We underestimate God’s Word and overestimate our own ability to get through the wilderness.
Fierce friends, Hebrews 4:12-13 reminds us that God’s word is, “living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”
This should not scare us, but rather encourage and assure us of His power and His sovereignty despite the wilderness we are facing in our marriage.
The Struggle is Real…
But what if I don’t feel like reading my bible? I’m just not in to it lately. Friend, let me be the first to raise my hand and admit to those thoughts and struggles, DAILY. My answer to you is what Ryan has said to me (lovingly and) many times over: “That’s why it’s called devotions.”
Being devoted goes beyond all feeling and emotion. It’s an unwavering commitment, and one worth fulfilling every single day.
Ryan and I cling to the fact that God’s Word is alive (like we read in Hebrews 4) and holds authority in our marriage. We all need His Word to examine the depths of our motives, and lead us into His righteousness especially when it comes to marriage. In other words, we need the scriptures to read us.
God’s True Character Revealed
Reading scripture as a married couple opens the door for God’s character to be revealed to us in the wilderness. We desperately need to be reminded of Him. To know Him is to know the depths of his love for you and your spouse.
The bible is a solid and constant reminder of who God is:
- He is the one who makes rivers in the desert (Isaiah 43:18-19).
- He is the one who loves our souls so deeply and purely, that while we were still sinners Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).
- He is the vine that we can abide in (John 15).
- He is our redeemer! The one who calls us to live fearlessly because of who he is, not because of anything we have done (Isaiah 43).
- He makes us new in Christ! (2 Cor. 5:17)
- His words also sustain us and produces life in and through us. (Matthew 4:4)
I don’t know about you, but this makes my heart well up inside of me and gives me hope for today, especially in the wilderness! My heart desperately needs to be reminded of the gospel every single day—I need to know the depths of God’s love for my soul, because it’s from here that God can begin working on my marriage, as well as my heart and the heart of my husband.
The dry and barrenness of the wilderness may still exist, but because of His Word my hope is renewed and peace is anchored in my soul. When I read scripture, my mind is being transformed and renewed (Romans 12:2) and by God’s grace I am able to walk through the wilderness in a way that brings glory to God and I can trust that He will sustain me; that His Word is enough, and that His Word is intentional.