Staying or Going: The Example of Job’s Wife

The biggest struggle I sometimes face is that of well-intended people telling me to leave. As I pitched my book on lessons God has taught me by staying married, I have found that any woman who has made the choice to leave will fight me on staying.

I think they truly do, in their heart, believe they are speaking love to me. Maybe unconsciously they are justifying their own journey. Sometimes I think it is more the latter.

I would never disparage someone who has made a choice to leave or been forced out of her marriage when she has tried to take the high road. That’s not my place and I haven’t walked their path.

My human nature wants out of the pain and loneliness of my marriage.

God tells me to stay.

People who tell me to leave, as well meaning as they are, are not that much unlike Satan tempting Jesus to eat after 40 days of fasting.

But Jesus stayed true to His calling and didn’t fall into the temptation and lies Satan offered.

Maybe the woman who left has found a new love. A man who treats her well. I am glad for them. But one person’s experience on their journey is not a predictor of what God will or will not do for me . . . especially if I disobey Him by leaving when He has not given me permission to.

Sometimes I think I have more grace for those that have left than they do for me who stays.

Kinder words are: “My heart aches for what you are suffering because I know that pain. Just know that if God leads you to stay – or go, you will have my love, support and prayers.”

I get it though. It is hard to support someone in a difficult marriage becuase their issue is often chronic. Unchanging. But prayers and encouragement and reminders of God’s faithfulness to them when the pain is particularly intense, help.

Job’s wife could have walked out on him. Think of it. She lost everything: Her kids, home, wealth, status, and her husband was afflicted with illness and depression. She got angry, expressed her views to be chided by her husband (and reminded of truth) and then she is not heard of again except that after God restored Job, he had even more kids. It didn’t say he had to get a new wife. Life got tough for Mrs. Job and she did not abandon her marriage. Scripture doesn’t speak to her journey or pain, but she suffered as well.

Now, Lilly Grace, you may say. That’s different. Job wasn’t abusive. But abuse can include neglect. I’m not saying Job intentionally slighted and abandonded his wife, but you hear none of his devotion or care for her in their difficulties. Neglect can be as much abuse as anything else. Emotionally it appears that Job left the marriage. From what we can tell though, he didn’t.

I’m not writing to disparage Job or his journey but to highlight that a difficult marriage encompasses more than situations of abuse: emotional, verbal, financial, physical. Somtimes it involves physical or mental illness. Or financial distress. Addictions. Adultery.

Are there good reasons to leave? Certainly. And a woman needs to take that before God and with wise counsel follow what He leads her to do.

He hasn’t given me that option at this time.

Blessings to you as you lean on God in your marriage. He is faithful. Always. And He sees what you are going through.

Lilly Grace 

 

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Cindy at Affaircare
    Mar 18, 2014 @ 13:20:01

    Lillygrace,

    I wanted to encourage you that I think you have exactly the right attitude on this, and it is completely counter-intuitive to what the world would say is the “wise” thing or even the “Christian” thing to do.

    The Bible is actually full of instances where a marriage was extremely difficult, and the spouse stayed in the marriage due to their commitment, and they were commended for that choice:

    Abigail, King David’s first wife, was married to a guy Nabal who was frankly abusive, and yet she was wise and spoken of so highly that King David admired her (I Samuel 25).

    Ruth was a Gentile who married a Jewish man, so you know there were interfaith clashes between them and struggles how to worship and which holidays to observe. Her husband drug her away from her town and her family, and made her live with his people. Then he died and just left her widowed and with nothing but an ailing mother-in-law to take care of by herself! Does that sound easy to you?

    Hosea was married to a prostitute because God told him to marry her but stay committed as an image that we have sold ourselves to other gods but HE stays faithful to US (Hosea 1)! I know that being married to someone who is cheating is just HORRIBLY hard, but guess what? Biblical Marriage is not guaranteed to “make us happy”–our job in the marriage is to focus on doing what God told us to do whether our spouse does or not! And it be hard, and it may hurt, and we are to obey anyway!

    I could go on and on! How about Abraham and Sarah–okay he was rich and loved God, but he fathered a child with another woman! How about Queen Esther, a Jewish woman married to a selfish, gluttonous Gentile king who only married her for her LOOKS and literally bossed her around!

    So take heart. You are right where God wants you, don’t what He wants even though it’s not easy. It’s not a measure a lot of people want to hear because “not being happy” is not a legitimate reason to abandon a covenant.

    Reply

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