(Michael continues where Debi left off in Created for Him?)

I hear you asking, “To what end do I make all the sacrifices? Does it honor God for me to be walked on and emotionally abused all my life? It’s not fair!”

There is a little regarded fact that you must face: All marriages begin with two imperfect people. The world is filled with imperfect people. Only in books, movies and your girlhood imaginations do perfect men exist. Marriage is God’s finishing school, the opportunity to face our shortcomings and grow into the people God desires us to become. Marriage is the best context for this human development because it is an arrangement that forces our imperfections to the surface where we can see the damage they do. It is the “reveal all” of the human experience. It is a relationship that does not allow us to avoid the consequences of our selfishness and insensitivity. Not like casual relationships, in close, daily union with another selfish human being, we are forced to see and feel the damage we inflict.

Men and women are created differently but complementary. Each has something (and is something) the other needs to make them complete. Each is designed to yield to the nature of the other in order to become whole.

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Only in a properly matured marriage do we reach our full potential and the most glorious human experience. But in all cases, the beautiful experience is a work in progress. It is an achievement to be obtained though much sacrifice and surrender of our personal rights. Two people can only blend into one new union by yielding. If either of them waits on the other to yield first, all growth stops. Only in a situation where one of them sees his or her duty before God and continues to fulfill his or her roles does that person continue to grow as a human being. It is rare indeed to see a man being all (or most) of what he should be when his wife is stiff arming the relationship. Likewise, it is equally rare to see a woman fulfilling her duty before God and her husband when he is not reciprocating.

The amazing and wonderful truth so many have discovered is that a bad marriage can get back on track and begin to develop into something glorious when one of the partners starts doing his or her duty in spite of the other’s failure to do so. When each is holding out until the other gives in, there is no hope of a cure. The only avenue to restoration is for one of the partners to do his or her duty to the fullest, not regarding the other’s failure to respond correctly. In most cases, a husband will be so overwhelmed with his brand new, lovely wife that he will lower his walls and lay down his guns of indifference and intolerance and start cherishing the lovely thing that now lives in his home.

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But here is the clincher: If a wife begins her “help meet” journey as an experiment to change her husband, it will always fail, for he will detect her “religious” façade and not become vulnerable to it, and she will not have the moral earnestness to endure the setbacks that will undoubtedly come.

There can be only one reason for a wife to begin doing her sacrificial part—to honor her God and obey his commandments. When a woman makes a lifetime commitment to be all that God desires her to become, regardless of how her grumpy husband responds, only then does she begin to mature and develop as a person. If he never responds positively, in the end she has become a saint of historical proportions—Christlike in every way. Dear lady, only when your goal is Christlikeness will you start the process of building your marriage into something glorious.

Right now, you still have the opportunity to save that marriage and to turn it into a glorious testimony of doing things God’s way.