One of my favorite quotes from the bible is what Paul said in Romans because I believe it is so accurate. See if it rings true for you too.
Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance, character; and character, hope. Romans 5:3-4 NIV
Paul was right when he penned this quote, but what kind of suffering is Paul talking about and why do Christian’s have to suffer? That does not seem fair. We are doing everything right in the sight of the Lord, so why do we suffer for it? Christ Ones will suffer for doing what’s right, that’s all there is to it.
There are several ways in which a Christian may suffer for doing what is right, but this article is about doing what’s right for your marriage. In marriage when we do what is right rather than what feels good, we suffer. Each time we sacrifice a part of ourselves to our spouse, we may suffer for it. This kind of suffering produces strong character traits like what Paul is talking about.
The way I see it, this kind of suffering is not really suffering but is spiritually growing into more of the person God intends us to be. If we learn to be giving instead of selfish and if when we learn to be forgiving rather than resentful that would build character. Part of our Christian walk is to keep walking. If we stop we may stunt our growth and we do not want that. So we must persevere to the end.
If we choose to humble ourselves and ask Christ to help us forgive our spouse of a wrong they committed against us, we are doing what is right and may even suffer for it. And on the same note, if we carry an unforgiving heart and instead cast stones at our spouse that is suffering too. So then, how much better would it be to do what is right and suffer over it for just a little while than do what is wrong and continue to suffer over it, over and over again?
We suffer because we have a mortal body that makes us want to do things against the nature of the Spirit. But isn’t it ironic how when we bear up under the pressure, and do what is right we are rewarded with a joyful and happy heart later on down the road? That joyful heart is your new growth in the Lord because you are full of faith and hope for your future. We are powerless to the sinfulness of the world until we ask Christ to help us in our afflictions.
Working on our marriage woes rather than divorce provides us with bouts of suffering in the short run, but in the long run we realize what a big mistake divorce would have been. This is where perseverance comes into the picture. Every time we do what is right and persevere through our trials and tribulations it becomes easier and easier to do what is right because we are building character through our actions of perseverance.
Consider it pure joy brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (James 1:2-4 NIV)
The above quote tells me that when we persevere through our marriage difficulties by basing our attitude on the teachings of Christ, we will surely be made complete in the Lord, not needing or wanting anything from this life or from others. After a while of enduring hardship and suffering for it, it just becomes a part of your Christian walk because of your strong faith and hope in what is to come.
And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. Romans 5:4,5 NIV
1. How can suffering for doing what is right bring you perseverance and character?
2. Have you ever suffered for doing what is right in your marriage? Explain.
3. In what ways can you give up something you want for your wife’s sake?
4. Does having faith in God make it easier in your sufferings? Explain. How come?
5. What character traits do you have that help your marriage?
6. What character traits do you have that are not helpful for your marriage?
7. How can you change or alter your unhelpful character traits? Will this help the marriage? How?