Marriage Counseling With God

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I was talking to my friend Tom the other day. He is married to one of my best friends, Kate. He was forty years old when he got married. He is pretty shy and has not dated a lot. He had gotten to the point where he thought marriage was not in the cards for him. He decided to start going to a coffee shop just to have more community. Kate worked there and to his surprise, she slipped him her number one day.

At their wedding, he tearfully told us that he had never expected God to give him someone so beautiful, someone who would open his eyes to life in ways he had never imagined. It was very special. They are one of the happiest couples I know.

Last weekend we were talking about my book, and the conversation turned, as it often does, to hearing the phrase if you just let go, your spouse will come (as I discussed in the post What Single People Wish Married People Knew) and how that kind of formulaic thinking can be frustrating at times, especially in your thirties.

Tom said, “you know, I did go through a process of letting go during the season just before I met Kate. It would look like that formula worked for me. But I wasn’t letting go of the desire to get married. I was letting go of my anger at God because I wasn’t married. That is one of the best things I could have done, because it made me a more whole person. That wall being torn down in my life helped draw Kate to me.”

This really struck me, and I’ve been thinking about it all week. I have to admit, I have had to work through a lot of feelings of anger towards God over the singleness issue. More than any other issue in my life by far. I have even had a few yelling matches with him.

To look that anger in the face and deal with it seems more fruitful than saying I let go of my desire to be married. I personally have never felt called to life long celibacy, and to tell God that I am fine with it doesn’t seem to be the best answer to my frustration.

Rather than letting go of being married, I believe it would be better to focus on working through this anger that I have struggled with towards God.

I don’t want to go through this process because it is a formula that will get me a man. I want to go through it because I love God and don’t want walls up between us. God is the most important person in my life. He has walked with me during every trial and joy I have ever gone through. He has been more faithful than any lover could be. He has loved me through all circumstances, even when I have not been faithful. As II Timothy 2:13 says, if we are faithless, he remains faithful.

Sometimes I forget this fierce, relentless love. I know that God is good, but in my limited perception it is sometimes hard to believe in his goodness. I say that I trust him, but do I really?  Do I secretly tell him that I will trust him once I have a family, because it is then that I will know he loves me?

That is not trust at all. Trusting is believing in his goodness even when our lives don’t turn out the way we thought they would.

It might be wise for me to do a little marriage counseling with God. I may even have to forgive him. Forgiving God seems like a weird concept, because he is God. By his very nature, he hasn’t done anything wrong. But we have to admit that in our limited perception of him we haven’t always been able to understand his goodness.  To understand why life is not what we thought it would be. We need to “forgive” him for that.

Working through this anger could tear down walls that will draw people to us, just like in Tom’s situation. I’m not saying that this is a formula for finding your spouse. It just doesn’t work that way. But I do believe that healthy people are often attracted to healthy people, while broken people are often attracted to broken people. We all have some level of brokenness, but we can work hard to be as healthy as possible.

If you have done the hard work of being emotionally  healthy, especially in your relationship with God,  you will most likely attract other people that have also done that work. They will see the strong, trusting, peaceful person that is a result of that work, and they will want to walk alongside someone that beautiful.

What has your process of trust looked like? Have you ever been angry at God? How has the emotional work you have done changed the way that people are drawn to you?

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12 thoughts on “Marriage Counseling With God

  1. I think the idea of letting go of anger towards God is important in all aspects of life. I know I am struggling with this in a non-marriage area. Very poignant post.

  2. This is SO good, Kate!!!!! There is so much about wholeness and peace that is built on our intimacy with God, but when we feel like our trust muscle is injured, it can be really painful to even approach full-fledged trust with God again. Yes, we must release God from our judgments. Yes, we must move forward. I was having this conversation with Neel only yesterday.

    Power and joy and glorious surprise to you TODAY and TOMORROW!

  3. Great post – I really like the concept of letting go of the anger/frustration of not being married rather than the desire to be married… It has always confused me as to how I can trust God with the desires of my heart, but at the same time not allow myself to feel those desires – to somehow have to stunt them in order to be seen as trusting God. But if we hide our true desires, we aren’t being honest with God or others, which is also a huge problem – and often what blocks me from being content in my singleness is not my strong desire for marriage, because right now I’m still trying to finish grad school, etc and know that it’s not the best timing, but rather the frustration with God as to how me being single looks to others — and this is really what I need to let go of.

    Thanks for your posts!

  4. Your description of intimacy with God brought tears to my eyes. Yes! Work through your anger, your disappointment.

    But a little note to point out what I’m sure you know, that there are many healthy (godly, beautiful, funny, talented) people, who are still not ‘attracting’ other healthy people. I know you are not setting it up as a formula, but it can start to sound that way, somehow. As if every single person who wants to be married needs to work through their anger with God.

    Rather, I would say that if you work through your anger with God, you will enjoy your relationship with Him for the rest of your life. And you will be free to enjoy healthy relationships with others, whether God gives the desired gift of marriage, or the unwanted gift of singleness. It is all His grace, undeserved gifts, and often inexplicably to our understanding.

  5. A friend just shared your blog with me and I LOVE it…I’m in the same boat of singleness and reading through your posts has definitely brought a fresh perspective & some laughter to my day. Thank you for being genuine and open.

  6. Great post! I went through a long, hard period of anger and bitterness at God and his failure to fulfill my desire for marriage. The concept of forgiving God is foreign to anyone who hasn’t been there, but I think it’s an important process of healing. I’m enjoying your blog and all of the comments!

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