Uncommon Story, Common Problem

Steve Arterburn

God often gives difficult and unusual assignments to His servants. But in the Bible, in the case of Hosea, that’s an understatement. God commanded him to go and marry a prostitute. He said, ‘This will illustrate the way my people have been untrue to me.’

 

Hosea’s marriage to the prostitute, Gomer, was a metaphor for the way God loves His sometimes faithless, shameless, and spiritually adulterous people. At one point, in broken-heartedness and righteous indignation, God threatened to cast His people off due to their flagrant infidelity.

 

But God is always faithful’even when His people aren’t. So amidst His grief and anger, He proclaims His undying love. Again Hosea’s marriage provides the powerful picture of this: ‘Bring her back to you and love her,’ God commands Hosea, ‘even though she loves adultery.’

 

To be sure, the book of Hosea is an amazing testimony of God’s steadfast love. But it’s also something else. It’s an uncommon story about a very common problem: marital infidelity.

 

Should we suppose that God wants his men to marry prostitutes? Of course not! But Hosea does show us that a husband can be faithful, even to an unfaithful wife. And at times, guys, every relationship needs such selfless love. There may come a time when your bride breaks your heart and causes you shame. It could be adultery, or a vast array of other issues. In that time, remember the way God loves you. Remember His words to Hosea: ‘Bring her back to you and love her.’

Where Is Your Heart?

Steve Arterburn

Is your marriage a delight to you? How does it compare with, say, your career or your favorite hobby when it comes to charging your engines? These aren’t things many men think about often, are they? And even when we do, it’s tough to get past our own defense mechanisms in order to get accurate answers.

This being the case, I’ve got a more practical and concrete way for you to answer these questions. Over the next several days, keep your eye out for these particular things as they show up in your daily life:

        Does your wife’s face brighten when you enter the room?

        Do you greet and part with a kiss, or some other form of affection?

        Does she respond positively to your embrace?

        Does talking happen often and proceed easily between the two of you?

        When she’s sad, or when she’s been hurt, is it you that she seeks?

        Do you think about her when she’s not around? If so, what kind of thoughts?

Guys, the observations you make with regard to these questions will go a long way in helping you discern where your heart is at with your wife. If you find a passion for oneness and a passion for serving her, that’s fantastic! Keep up the good work.

However, if you find that the passion isn’t there, don’t blow it off. It’s not okay. You need to seek it, find it, and fan it into flame.

Extending Forgiveness

Steve Arterburn

 

 

Emotional pain never dies of natural causes. Old age doesn’t sap its strength. And you can’t bury it alive. If you try, it’ll kick and scream until you acknowledge it, feel it, and work through it. And working through it usually requires you to forgive. Of course, you can try ignoring the pain ‘ we call that denial. And this may work’to some extent and for some short period of time. But the only way to get it out of your heart is through forgiveness.

Unexpressed grief festers and swells, waiting to erupt. It may explode in uncontrollable rage, gush out in unstoppable tears, seep out in unexplainable depression, or ooze internally, resulting in undiagnosed illness. But men, the one thing you can be absolutely sure of is this: pain you’ve shoved deep down never leaves on its own.

People carry all kinds of pain from disappointments, failures, betrayals, and losses. In our hectic world, the most efficient and acceptable way of dealing with emotional pain is to get yourself so busy that you simply have no time to think about it. This eases your discomfort, so you can carry on, seemingly no worse for wear. The avoidance of pain, however, will keep you from going through the process of forgiveness. When you refuse to feel the full impact of your pain, you don’t allow it to do its necessary work on your character.

Men, please don’t settle for temporary and inadequate fixes. Extending forgiveness is the only real way toward healing.