"Jesus answered her, 'If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.'" John 4:10 (NIV)
I try so hard, and for what? I get nothing in return.
Things will never change. I have been praying for years. I'm ready to give up.
Maybe I just married the wrong person. Why do I have to stay in a marriage when I am miserable?
I just want him to notice me ...
These are the cries of a burned out, emotionally drained wife. How do I know? Because I have been there.
The first eight years of my marriage were rough. My husband and I were young and had a difficult time making decisions and just doing life together. He wanted one thing and I wanted another. Would we ever see eye-to-eye? Would he be able to meet my needs? Desperately desiring happiness, I began to resent him rather than dealing with the actual root of my sadness and lack of fulfillment ... which was my past.
I entered our marriage with a great deal of hurt from my past that I refused to deal with. Unrealistically, I expected when I got married, this hurt would disappear. But it didn't. It hung on. And I became bitter toward my husband for not being enough to right the wrongs in my life.
But the truth is, it wasn't my husband's responsibility to be my cure-all. Even if he had tried, no one and no thing on earth could have fixed the hurt or filled my emptiness. No, I had to find my healing and hope in something else. The answer to my dissatisfaction was found in John 4 in the story of another unhappy woman.
One day this woman, who had been married five times and was now living with another man, went to draw water from a well. There she met Jesus. Seeing clear through her hurt and pain, and recognizing her heart's desire to be loved, Jesus shared this life-changing truth with her:
"'If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water. ... Whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst'" (vs. 10, 14a).
Jesus invited her into a relationship with Him. Not because He wanted to take the place of any husband or man in her life, but because He wanted to take a higher position within her heart. He offered to be her all-satisfying Savior.
Jesus invited this heart-parched woman to drink from Him and be refreshed, cheered, revived, comforted, and so much more. He assured her that in Him, she would never thirst again.
So often we look to our husbands (or other people, positions, or possessions) with unrealistic expectations, wanting them to offer what only Christ can: perfect healing, unending love, and sufficient validation.
But every marriage has its seasons. There will be times when you feel deeply fulfilled, and there will be times you may feel stark, barren and empty. That is why it is important to look to Christ alone for your value and fulfillment. He is your only Savior.
How do you do this? Get to know Him, just like you did your husband when you were dating! Study the Bible, pray and spend time alone with God daily. Replace thoughts of unworthiness, doubt or belittling with truth you find in Scripture.
With time, God healed our marriage. It took me going to counseling to deal with my past and a godly man to mentor my husband. As we began to find personal satisfaction in our individual relationships with Christ, we simultaneously began to grow closer to each other. The first step to restoring our marriage, though, was accepting the Lord's exclusive invitation to drink the water only He provides.
Will you accept it today too? He's offering you living water. Let's drink deep and allow the healing to begin.
Father, thank You for sending Your Son, Jesus, to have a relationship with me. Help me seek Him and find my satisfaction in Him alone. As that happens, please heal me and my marriage. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
A Confident Heart by Renee Swope will help you find the soul-satisfying love and assurance your heart longs for!
Reflect and Respond:
Take an honest assessment: do you expect your husband to make the pain from your past better, to fulfill you and to be your source of happiness?
Take time today to get to know Jesus by studying Scripture and praying.
Isaiah 55:1, "Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price." (ESV)
© 2013 by Stephanie Clayton. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
630 Team Rd., Suite 100
Matthews, NC 28105