Filter by: Products Articles
Filter by:
Do you get our FREE Magazine?

Marriage Is God's Finishing School

June 14, 2013
Marriage Is God's Finishing School

(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.


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.


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.

Leave a Reply

14 comments on “Marriage Is God's Finishing School”

  1. Joh_11:26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?

    Joh_12:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.

    Joh_16:7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.

    Mar_13:11 But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost.

    Luk_17:33 Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it.

    It seems that no man or woman could ever meet up to the standards God has set before us except we die to ourselves.

  2. An hour ago, I prayed and asked God to work in me. Joy has been slipping because I am in a marriage with little joy. I acknowledged to Father that I can't do this, but I can trust Him to do it in me.

    Months ago I pinned NGJ to my bookmarks toolbar, but it has been awhile since I've been here. Today, after my prayer, the words "No Greater Joy" caught my eye because of the prayer I'd recently uttered. And thus, I have just read "Created for Him?" and "Marriage is God's Finishing School." These words are not easy to read, because they don't allow me to shift any blame on another for my happiness, and they leave little room for self pity. These articles ring with truth. This is one of the only places I've read articles that doesn't conclude with some version of "they all lived happily ever after." It is frustrating to have a pie in the sky hope dangled out there continuously. Sometimes there is no Hollywood ending to work and sacrifice. We're dealing with real life, real health issues, real conflicts and differences.

    "Helper to a mere fallen man" is one of the best phrases I've ever read in relation to marriage. That's why it is so hard. We are nearly 25 years into our marriage, and it is not the dream I envisioned, and I am discouraged. His fallenness has affected me, and I have withdrawn in subtle ways. It's a form of self-preservation, a building of walls to protect my heart from being hurt. Going on, with devotion and kindness and respect...I know this, I cannot do it on my own strength.

    You're right, getting out can at times seem appealing, but that's because it's an illusion of release when one is not living the daily pain and loneliness that would set in after the initial relief wears off. You'd just be trading one set of frustrations, trials and setbacks for another set.

    My husband got home while I was reading these articles, and I closed my laptop and talked with my husband. He says things that I don't agree with, but I listened and didn't comment negatively. He talked some more, and soon we were on a page of common ground. From there I could offer my thoughts and words in a way that was conversational, and not confrontational. It was refreshing.

    Thank you for reminding me to listen to my husband, to give him my full attention when he speaks. Thank you for reminding me that marriage is designed to bring selfishness and shortcomings to the surface so they can be acknowledged and dealt with. And thank you for reminding me that it honors and pleases God when I honor and respect my husband, and that it matures and develops me to be the woman God created me to be, despite my husband's shortcomings.

  3. Deb & Mr. Pearl, thank you for this great series! You are such a blessing to me and to my family. I want to be Christlike and I have prayed for His strength to do it. I have committed to be my husband's helpmeet and I am a blessed woman because I know it will not be received with stubbornness but with grace. Joy and blessings to you are your beautiful family. Deb, you and your girls are an inspiration to me!

  4. There are times when the wife is doing all she can do, being a good wife, submitting and walking a godly walk, and the husband just will not be a good, godly, loving, husband, the way God intended him to be.
    There are times, when she is doing right and he is abusive. That is the time when she really should think about ending the marriage.

  5. I really appreciate your articles. Just this week I have again been considering leaving my husband and came online hoping to find some kind..any kind..of encouragement to help me stay in this VERY difficult marriage. I appreciate your words. Some days I feel my only options are suicide or divorce, and sometimes the first seems like the easier of the two, although I know that is a lie. I love my husband but he has some addiction issues he can't ever seem to get free of and my life feels like a psychotic roller coaster ride as a result. Anyways, thanks for your encouragement, it helps me keep going a bit longer.

  6. How (besides prayer) do you figure out who God has made you to be outside your husband and kids? What would that life look like? My whole life is sacrificed for my family (and I'm not complaining, I love that!), but I know I let it take the place of the closeness of God too and my family is my life. That's also why it hurts so much when my hubby stays pulled away. I just don't know hat to do. (Feel free to email me instead of posting if you'd like). Thanks!

  7. It worked for my marriage and I do grow from strength to strength and because I put Debi's teaching of God's truth to practice I experience a Godly blessed marriage.
    Thank you for your teachings Michael and Debi.

  8. I did exactly that. He was negative and difficult. I sacrificed, hurt, forgave and eventually fell into depression. I want to be a helpmeet but he is too arrogant and proud and abusive. I cried everyday for years because I felt trapped in this marriage and imagined myself unable to leave. I eventually felt better when I began to stand-up for myself and create boundaries and practice Tough Love. Not allowing him to treat me like a doormat. Then things begin to improve. There is hope for broken marriages if you allow God to help you. Don't live in fear but have courage. Don't allow abuse to happen, stand up and create boundaries. Don't be an enabler to an abuser. You can't do it? Then you need to find help. Divorce is an easy way out but if you stick to it, God will make your marriage a testimony for Him.

  9. I love the articles posted here and am always intrigued by the comments as well. One thing I keep “reading between the lines” is wives expecting to see changes in their husband and becoming disheartened - something that Mr. Pearl himself explains may never happen. My husband is not following Christ in many ways, and I have been doing what the Pearls have so pointedly spelled out God commands us to do for years. I still have tremendous joy! I am not joyful because my husband is the best in every way. He has many faults that I have left to the Lord to take care of. I surely could never do a better job than He can!! Unless your husband is pure evil, he surely possesses at least one or two good qualities. Focus ALL of the attention you direct at your husband on those things. Embrace them; let them set your heart on fire for him. Then pray and ask God to take care of the rest and leave it at that. Do your best to be a loving wife. Have a glass of tea ready when gets home from work. Have the children greet him at the door with a hug and kiss at the ready. If he is allowing you to stay at home while he is the sole provider, NEVER let that go unnoticed. That in itself is a small miracle these days. I regularly thank my husband for being such a good provider and making my dream of being a full-time mother and wife come true. Men need to hear these things. They need to know that they are not failures in your eyes. DO NOT walk around with a “poor me” attitude. You are not “stuck” in your marriage. You married him for some reason. If I told you the flaws in my husband, many of you would be shocked and some would say I should leave. We have discussed them at length and he doesn’t see a problem. But I’m not perfect either and he accepts me for what I am. I love my husband dearly; he loves me very much as well. I cry many nights because he is more than a human being; he’s the father of my children and a soul in need of saving. I would never turn my back on the opportunity to see him turn toward God and maybe be able to look forward to eventually spending eternity with him. Try not to get so caught up in your own thoughts. My mind is my greatest enemy and I fight it daily. God still reigns supreme!! He can overcome ANYTHING. With His help you can feel genuine joy no matter what your husband is or isn’t as a man. Just know that it’s totally up to you whether he puts the spark in your eyes and makes your heart flutter.

  10. Such powerful, hopeful encouragement to love our husbands regardless of how they respond. I find that when I'm feeling neglected it's usually rectified by paying more attention to my husband and ministering to him.

  11. Thank you for this timely article! The spirit of God is amazing! My best friend, (besides my husband) and her 2 teenage daughters, left her husband a couple weeks ago. She knew where I stood on her issues and didn't even tell me for nearly a week. She has been holding out on him for about a year in hopes that he'll choose to "get help". I feel like I wasn't a good friend and sort of let things work out to the point they are, without saying what I should have said to her. I know her husband has deep pain from past hurts, is immature, and doesn't carry the weight of the relationship. He has probably been unloving, uncaring, and cruel. But what you said hits the nail on the head. And so did our preacher Sunday. She doesn't go to our church, but her youngest daughter was there. I wish she could have heard it. She has erroneously swallowed "Christian" counselors advice to stop moving forward in the relationship until he is willing to change. I watched the counseling video she sent me and I have to admit, it made a good point. It made sense. A lot of things make sense, but it doesn't mean they are God's way. True, there are circumstances where it isn't safe for a woman to continue living at home with her husband. Things had escalated to the point of extreme drama, and she and the girls were scared. I don't think they would have gotten to that point, if she hadn't accepted the advice of bad council. Thank you for confirming the truth. She said herself it wasn't that she couldn't continue, it's that she wouldn't. I'm glad that Christ was willing to endure the cross for me! God bless and thanks again!