When my husband and I met it was a whirlwind romance. We had chemistry. We had passion.
I had baggage.
Instead of unpacking the baggage and dealing with it, I sat on that suitcase, stuffing anything that popped out back in. I finally found what I was looking for and I did not want to risk losing it by drudging up the past. I mean I was forgiven, so why bring it up now?
So we got married.
He brought a house and a red convertible. I brought sin and its consequences.
We suffered through 10 years of insecurity, fear and inadequacy. The devil divided us. He roped and tied us and left us on the ground with emotional and spiritual paralysis.
As causal as sex has become these days, my guess is that a lot of Christian marriages probably begin a lot like ours. If you are embarking on a new life in marriage or you are in a marriage still sitting on your suitcase, this is for you.
Don’t ever, ever, ever keep secrets. Secrets rot souls.
The godly are directed by honesty; the wicked fall beneath their load of sin. Proverbs 11:5
Sometimes these difficult confessions are better had in the presence of pastoral or clinical counselors. That was the advise my counselor gave me in high school that I disregarded when I was 22 and the time came to use it. That indiscretion inflicted 10 years of marital unrest.
Spare the details
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9
Confession is like lancing a boil. If we are going to heal we have to get the puss out. We receive forgiveness and purification in the process of confessing sin.
The process is confessing sin. It is really unhealthy for the sinner to regurgitate the details of sin. It is unhealthy for the spouse to consume them.
Unless present day boundaries need to be erected because of the who, what, where, when and how’s, leave the details be.
Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Phil. 4:8
Embrace new life
Whether you are struggling to forgive or be forgiven, embrace what Jesus really does. Grab it. Hold it. Believe it. Be transformed by it.
Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it? Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death? For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.
Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised to life as he was. We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin. And since we died with Christ, we know we will also live with him. We are sure of this because Christ was raised from the dead, and he will never die again. Death no longer has any power over him. When he died, he died once to break the power of sin. But now that he lives, he lives for the glory of God. So you also should consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus. Rom. 6
It is critical that we understand just how all-encompassing this new life is.
Rahab the prostitute and Bathsheba the adulteress appear in the family of tree of Jesus Christ himself! That’s huge! (See the lineage of Jesus).
Embracing the new life means embracing a spiritual life. We have to rise above the carnal world that says a good marriage is based on compatibility, feeling in love and enjoying date nights and co-ed softball.
The truth is that Christ-centered marriage is the union of two imperfect sinners who are washed clean by the blood of Jesus who now share in the most intimate ministry of marriage.
We must grow that ministry through prayer, worship, love and good works. We must serve and share together. We must see our husband or wife with Jesus’ eyes. It is in that place that something inexplicable happens. We encounter the divine. And that’s what God meant marriage to be.
Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Phil. 4:7