May 3, 2012

Stepping Back and Trusting God with Your Marriage

'Mountain View 2' photo (c) 2009, David Steltz - license:

I’m one of those people who believes in trusting God absolutely. It’s just that I fear that in most circumstances, God could really use a hand. And I try to give it to Him!

That didn’t work tremendously well growing up, and God had to hit me over the head a few times to make me trust Him. I was constantly interfering in friendships, in relationships, trying to force them to go my way because I figured I knew best. And I couldn’t just let sleeping dogs lie. I couldn’t do NOTHING. If something was wrong with a friend, or a boyfriend, I had to fix it RIGHT NOW THIS MINUTE.

That’s why I had such a hard time trusting God with the fact that I would marry. I wanted to marry so desperately, and in my late teens I was always on the lookout for possible candidates. When I did start dating the man who is now my husband, I barrelled my way all over him. I saw that we would work together, and I made sure he realized that, too. I didn’t exactly wait for him to come to that conclusion; I made sure that he saw it my way.

Unfortunately, that scared him off, and he ended up breaking up our first engagement. I was just moving too fast. I was absolutely devastated and heartbroken, and had to wrestle my life out with God again. I had to acknowledge to God that He was my source of strength, not Keith. I had to acknowledge to God that no matter what happened, I would trust Him, not look for fulfillment in other people.

It was a very rough summer, but in retrospect one that I really needed. And Keith came back to his senses and we married anyway.

Lately I have been reminded that God perhaps isn’t finished with these lessons for me. I find in my marriage that “trust” is the last thing I’m able to do. Oh, I can trust Keith fine. I just can’t always trust God to solve my problems. So if Keith and I have a disagreement, I stew and plan and strategize all day, and often call him in the middle of the day, to work it out. I use my brilliant insights. I give him my air tight arguments of what we should do now and where we should go. And usually I end up winning. Yet is it really winning if Keith hasn’t had a chance to think it over, to go to God with it Himself?

What God has been teaching me lately is that I don’t have all the answers, and I don’t need to. God knows what’s best for me, and He knows what’s best for my husband. And sometimes what is best is simply giving my husband space to talk to God himself, rather than trying to manipulate the situation into what I think God wants.

That’s a hard thing to do. What if God doesn’t do what I think He should? And so it all comes back to one’s view of God: Is He really enough for your marriage? Or do you think you know best?

I am trying to wait on God, because it is in Him that I find peace. God is our refuge and strength, not our husbands. My happiness is not dependent on the state of my marriage, but on the state of my relationship with Christ.

And ironically, I’m finding that the closer I am to God, and the more I trust in Him, the happier I am in my marriage anyway. Maybe that’s what God intended all along!

Sheila writes more about marriage at her To Love, Honor and Vacuum blog! ( She loves great conversations about how we can strengthen family and make this world resemble God’s heart. Her newest book, The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex, will be out in February with Zondervan.

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About Sheila Wray Gregoire

Sheila Wray Gregoire loves family. She loves her family, including her three children (one in heaven) and her husband; and she loves that God made families as the primary vehicle to show His love. Probably part of this love stems from the fact that growing up, family wasn't healthy. Her dad left when she was two, and Sheila saw the damage that divorce does, even though her mom was amazing (and still is, as they take missions trips together!) So her passion in this life is to help strengthen families--to equip women to be the best wives and mothers they can be, and especially to cultivate marriages that are rock solid.

Sheila has written four books for women, including To Love, Honor and Vacuum: When you feel more like a maid than a wife and a mother, and she has another coming out with Zondervan soon. She also writes a weekly parenting column, and speaks at women's events and marriage conferences around North America. Usually, though, you can find her at home, where she homeschools her two daughters. And knits. Preferably simultaneously!

Sheila blogs daily at (To Love, Honor and Vacuum), and you can find her on Twitter ( and on Facebook (


  1. Jennifer says:

    I needed to hear this. I am so guilty of doing the exact same thing. I will have to give a lot of prayer to this. Thank you for sharing it. God is enough.

  2. Mary Lou says:

    Beautifully written. Thank you for being so transparent and sharing your heart. I believe we are all guilty of doing this in some way or another. Thankful that you listen to God and have shared this with us, so that we might benefit from it too.

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