A woman wrote me recently asking for advice about her failing marriage. Life was really taking a toll on her and her husband. They were caring for a terminally ill parent. They were growing apart after 8 ½ years, resulting in a non-existent sex life. When they did speak to each other, well, you can imagine that their words were not always kind. So, they finally had “the talk.”
You know which talk I’m talking about, don’t you? D-I-V-O-R-C-E.The husband was leaving it up to the wife to decide whether to stay or to leave. And the wife was torn. Sort of, but not really. Embedded in her email of all the things that were going wrong within the marriage was one sentence that stood out to me.
“I want my joy back!”
Never once did she say, “I want a divorce.” Not once. So, in my response I pointed out the answer to her question about a possible divorce.
“You don’t want a divorce; you want your joy back.”
This woman’s situation is more common than you think. Sometimes we think we want a divorce but what we really want is our joy. Life and marriage and kids and work and health issues and aging parents and the cost of living and whatever else you can think of will rob you of your joy if you let it. There is no surprise here. But, as I told this sister, she can get her joy back and the marriage too.
Recovering your joy is much easier than going through a divorce. And, it begins with understanding that:
True joy comes from the Lord –not from people or from things but from the Lord.
True joy resides in knowing that no matter what life throws at you, you are more than a conqueror. (Romans 8:37)
True joy comes from knowing that although weapons may form against you, they don’t have to prosper. (Isaiah 54:17)
True joy comes from knowing that if you seek God first, everything else will be added to you. (Matthew 6:33)
True joy comes from knowing that when a husband and a wife are in agreement in Christ whatever they ask of God will be done. (Matthew 18:19)
I can’t think of any better joy than that. And, it’s available right now, even in a troubled marriage. So, when you are going through hard times, ask yourself: do I really want a divorce or do I just want my joy back?
BMWK, how do you protect your joy when life gets overwhelming?