INTRODUCTION:    THE MARRIAGE IS IN QUESTION! The Assistant Pastor and his wife are great leaders in the church, but their marriage is in trouble…..  What do they do?

The Story of Tom & Lora

How Happiness Arose from a Dying Christian Marriage -1Tom and Lora were very high recognized leaders of their local church.  They had been married for over 15 years and were the parents of three wonderful loving kids. They had a beautifully successful and happy marriage in the eyes of all who knew them.  Tom held the position of Assistant Pastor while Lora presided over the Sisterhood.  School was ending and the kids were ready to enjoy their summer vacation.  Tom and Lora had agreed to let the kids visit their great Aunty in Florida for the entire summer.  The kids were exceedingly excited about going to Disney World and many other wonderful places.  And for the first time in over 13 years, Tom and Lora would be alone together.

The day finally arrived for the kids’ departure, and they were so excited.  Tom had a short prayer with the family and off they went.  Lora happily witnessed the glistening excitement on their faces as they drove away with Uncle Joe, waving good-byes out the window.  As Tom and Lora headed back in the house, Lora was suddenly struck with a painful realization. What will she do without her kids? Her life was circled around the kids.  And being that Tom was greatly busy with the Ministry, and she, constantly busy with the kids; the two of them had never found a reasonable time to spend alone. Actually, they hadn’t spent quality time alone together in ages and didn’t even recognize it.  Lora was perplex as to what to do with all of this free time she had just acquired.

Tom, however, didn’t see too much difference in the kids absence.  He would miss them to a certain degree, but he had plenty of work to do in the Ministry that would keep him happily occupied as usual.  It was Lora, that was more affected, because 80% of her Ministry were with the kids.  “And who will take the place of that?” She thought to herself.  For the next few days, Lora began calling Tom’s office wanting to talk for hours… she wanted to go places, see the world, hang out, do some new things, have a lot of fun…. Lora’s constant engagement with her energetic kids kept her youthful, and she was ready for endless amounts of fun with her hubby.  But Tom turned out not to be so excited.  After years of trying to get Lora to go out with him during the earlier years of their marriage, with no hope of success, he soon found happiness in developing his own Ministry.  For years, after their first and second born, he tried getting his wife to have some alone time, but all she could think about was the kids.  “I can’t leave the kids.” She’ll say.  “I need to be with them.  I’m their Mom.  I don’t want them growing up saying I was never with them.”…… Tom was rarely successful in persuading his wife to spend alone time with him, and on occasions when he did succeed, all she could think about was how the kids were doing. Tom and Lora rarely made love to each other, except those times when Lora desired to have another child. Tom gave up on this section of his marriage and begin putting all his energy into the Ministry. 

The real reason Lora seemed to have had such an overly protective obsession with the kids, is that, as a child, her Mom wasn’t really there for her.  Many strange occurrences took place when her Mom wasn’t home; fights, incest, sexual abuse, and threats in which the shy and timid, like Lora, was forced to summit, obey, and keep silent.  Lora remembered how her Mom seemed so oblivious to what was going on inside her own house.  If someone had told her Mom the truth, she would had never believed it.  Of course, Tom had no knowledge of this part of Lora’s life.

Lora didn’t tell Tom all the intimate details of her childhood experiences; it was too painful for a lighthearted conversation.  Lora was hoping that, since Tom was a Minister of the Gospel, he would have some sort of spiritual intuition and super phenomenal ability to see right through her cheerful facade and discern all the pain she was going through, and then lovingly attended to her every need without her having to express a thing to him about it.  But to her shocking surprise, he was as human as the next guy.

For Tom’s part, he looked upon Lora as one who had been baptized and filled with the Holy Spirit of God; having all her sinful and tragic past washed away in the sea of forgetfulness; and now risen to a wonderfully new life in the powerful love of our Lord Jesus Christ. And any chance of him discerning her true inward needs was unfortunately debilitated and incapacitated by this point of view.

Tom had become pretty set in his ways and was not quite ready to participate in haphazard date night sprees with the wife.  He had already planned his summer and had presumed the wife had planned her’s.  Except for birthdays and special holidays, planning to be together was non-existent during the last 13 years of their marriage.  They both loved each other in their own ways, but were exceedingly busy in their respective fields and had adopted that lifestyle.  Never did it cross their mind that their love for each other was heading towards vanishment, and the happiness of being married was near the brink of total evaporation.

encouraging loveLora’s only desire was to feel needed and special, but Tom wasn’t giving it to her.  The children were out of town and she was bored out of her mind. Her childhood experiences had prevented her from trusting anyone as a friend, in spite of her salvation in Christ Jesus. So she had no one to hang out with.  As she sat alone in the furnished basement, she remembered something her late great grandmother told her.  She said, “Child, if you can’t tell me what’s worrying you, talk to God about it; He’s your best friend; He won’t gossip about any of it.”  That thought had a salutary effect.  She felt a certain relief in knowing she could talk to God about her feelings towards her husband and her marriage without it being twisted and negatively expressed in the church’s tabloid gossip channels the following Sunday.

Lora then got down on her knees, bowed her head and said, “Lord, I love you and appreciate you and thank you for all the things you have done in my life.  And now, oh Lord, have mercy on me, for I want to be completely honest with you.  I’m not happy with my marriage at all. Maybe I don’t deserve a good marriage, but, I thought I’ll just throw everything out on the table before you.  It was fun when Tom and I first started out, but it’s really boring right now.  If it wasn’t for the kids, I’m not sure if I would want to stay married.  I love him and all, but, I don’t think we should be together if we’re not happy together.  How can I encourage young ladies to be happily married if I don’t know how to make it happen in my own marriage? Is this how it’s supposed to be? Am I supposed to settle for this? Lord, would you be happy knowing that your wife feels the way I do and not do anything about it?  Ok, I know I haven’t told Tom how unhappy I am yet, but I thought I would talk it over with you first.  I need help!  I need you to let him know how to treat me.  I don’t know how to teach him that.  So I’m hoping you can teach him for me.  Please help me, for I feel I may not have too much love left to hold us together if he keep treating me like this. I understand the idea of… ‘for better or for worse’, but I was under the impression that it meant going through the worse together, not having the worse time trying to stay together… Please help.”

About two minutes after she arose from prayer, she begin hearing Tom’s voice searching through the house for her. “Hey Honey!… Honey?….Hey Honey!” He said, “Get ready, I want to take you out and have some fun.”  “No Way!” She mumbled under her breath.  “No Way God could work that fast. Maybe Tom was already intending to take me out before I started praying,” she said softly.

The truth of the matter is, while she was praying, Tom started experiencing this irk like feeling which was disturbing him to the bone.  A feeling as if he had done something wrong but didn’t know what.  For whatever reason, he felt it had something to do with his marriage.  “Why am I worrying about my marriage,” he said.  “Everything is blessed.  I do everything the bible says.  So why am I feeling this way.”

Tom started searching the scriptures to be sure that he was in right standing with his marriage.  He could have just went to his wife to see if he was in right standing, but obviously, he thought the scriptures could do a better job.  First, he went to 1 Corinthians 11:8-9, which says, —For the man is not of the woman: but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.—  “That’s Right!,” he said chauvinistically. “The woman was created for me.  I’m pretty happy with that. I love my wife; so why am I irking about the marriage?”  Then he decides to turn to another scripture in Ephesians 5:25, which says, —Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;— Tom said, “I do this perfectly!  I pay all the bills, I pay for all the groceries, I pay for clothes and transportation, not to mention the wonderful home I bought for my lovely wife.  And I certainly wouldn’t let no one harm her, for I would gladly take a bullet to save her life.”  At this point, Tom began feeling pretty good about his manly role in the marriage and concluded that he was the absolute best husband his wife could ever have… But then…. Suddenly he heard a voice in his spirit, saying, “Turn to the book of John 15:15.”

Tom considered the voice to by absurd.  There was nothing about marriage in that passage of scripture, and he knew it. But the voice kept at him. Tom tried to ignore it, but it was making him sick to the stomach. He finally decided to read it just to see what it was all about.  And it read —Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant know not what his lord does: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.—  Tom was silent for a long time as he shockingly absorb the revelation of this scripture.  Then slowly but surely, a glee of joy began to rise up in him as he came to an exciting realization, saying, “My wife is my friend… My Wife Is My Friend!… MY WIFE IS MY FRIEND!!!” “WOW!” And that’s when he ran through the house searching for his wife, crying, “Honey! Get ready! I want to take you out!”

Not one time in all of Tom’s upbringing, did his environment ever mentioned Friendship and Marriage in the same sentence.  In fact, it wasn’t even mentioned in the same conversation.  The Church’s advice was this; 1-The husband is the head of the house and should pay the bills and protect the home. 2-The wife should clean, take care of the kids, and be a virtuous woman. 3-Tough times will come, but just pray and God will see you through. Not once was it ever taught to treat the wife as a friend.  Neither did he supply this recommendation in his marriage counseling sessions during the entire 15 years of his ministry.

Tom had discovered a new revelation of marriage and was ready to implement it with all of his might. “If Jesus expressed friendship to his church,” Tom concluded, “then I should express friendship to my wife.” And Tom immediately ventured to fulfill this quest with great zeal; which Lora enjoyed immensely….  For the rest of the summer, he and the wife grew closer and closer.  Lora finally felt comfortable enough to express some of her secret childhood experiences with her husband, which explained why she was so reserved when it came to sexual intercourse, and why she did it only to have kids that she could show love to.

Happy-Married-Couple-TouchingTom was now so excited about his new friendship marriage that he was more than willing to be patient with Lora.  His intermittent, but long lasting seasons of abstinence during the past 15 years, gave him the stamina to endure Lora’s moments of reservations, should she need any.  But Lora was beginning to feel so loved and needed by Tom that she found herself crying tears of joy; saying within herself, “This is all I ever wanted.”  The patiently compassionate friendly love that Tom was showing her began to vanish away the painful memories of her past.  Intimacy and sexual intercourse became exciting to Lora.  In fact, she was so excited about her new found joy of having pleasurable intimacy with her husband until she found herself on a quest to make up for the past 15 years that Tom had to suffer…  And all Tom could say is……… “Thank You Jesus!”……… “Thank You Jesus!”

And now they have —A Christian Marriage Restored to Friendship —