I’ve been thinking a lot about hope lately. Growing up, family chaos was all I knew—until some kind folks from a local church began taking me to Sunday School. There, I met a little boy named Chuckie who was always talking glowingly about the things he did with his family. I watched them to verify that what he was saying was true. What I saw was a mom and dad who helped each other. I saw two brothers who loved each other. And even at age nine, I knew that’s what I wanted one day. But how do you get from what I knew to where they were?
By my junior year of college, I began gathering information. My college Sunday School class touched on how to be a good wife. I read books. After Bob and I married, I looked for Christian marriage workshops I could attend. I eagerly read Focus on the Family magazine and Family Life Today articles.
I also tried to position myself for growth in my marriage. Even when we had no money, we went on marriage retreats. While we didn’t hide behind the church walls, much of our time was spent in a Christian environment with people who took God’s Word seriously and encouraged us in the Lord rather than distracting us from Him.
We purposed to hang out with people who wanted to “do marriage better.” It’s amazing what you can learn from other couples who internalize that motto. We are part of the Married Life group at our church. It is a safe place to listen to marriage wisdom, quietly observe, or safely ask questions.
Blessings come from hard work
I am not suggesting that Bob and I have arrived—that we have learned it all. I would be dishonest if I said that. But there is a blessing—a reward—that comes from trying to do things God’s way. Here is a picture of God’s blessing to us—a family with far more harmony than I knew growing up—a family that enjoys each other and is growing together. Bob and I have our rough spots. We make mistakes—constantly. But we try to learn from them. We work through the disagreements. We ask God to forgive our shortcomings. And then He takes us to the next level and blesses us some more.
I started from a position of “no hope.” What I want you to know is that wherever you’re starting from, if there was hope for me, there is hope for you. Make the effort to read and listen to positive Christian information on marriage. Surround yourself with a positive Christian environment, and minimize the things that take you away from church and from God. If you are participating in activities that take you out of alignment with God, make them right. And, make yourself part of a group that desires to do marriage well. Renew your hope in the miracles God wants to work in your marriage and watch what He will do.