By Joey and Carla Link
February 10, 2021

We all know tough times in life will come, but what about when it impacts your marriage? We know of a family that has suffered greatly this past year especially. The husband didn’t get a job they were looking forward to. His wife has suffered from an issue with her spine that causes her tremendous ongoing pain. One of their kids was recently diagnosed with a chronic disease that will last his entire life and needs to be carefully managed. Another child’s appendix recently ruptured causing surgery and hospitalization. Relatives have had COVID, and the list goes on. How would you and your spouse react if unexpected, unwanted surprises keep piling up in your life? The Bible gives us an example in the life of Job. Job was known for his love for God. He had 10 children and was incredibly wealthy. One day Satan came before God. God asked him if he knew about Job, who God described as “there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man who fears God and turns away from evil.” Satan laughed at God, telling him that of course Job loved God! Look how many children he had and at all his wealth. He told God to take all that away and “watch him turn away from you.” (Job 1:8-10) God gave Satan permission to take everything away from Job but his life. God had great confidence in Job’s faithfulness to Him, didn’t He? Do you think God has reason to have that kind of confidence in you? Satan gave it his best shot; killing all of Job’s kids and livestock and causing one thing to happen after another until Job had nothing left- no family, few friends, his health was gone and he was despised by all including his wife. She said to him, “Just curse God and die” (Job 2:9) thinking then they would get some relief from all this pain and suffering. I would have liked to be there to hear this honest but intimate squabble between the two who had once loved each other so well. Job’s wife obviously was in pain and a time of crisis and needed to vent and seek comfort. She needed her husband to reassure her that all would be well. Job’s response wasn’t very reassuring. “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away;    may the name of the Lord be praised.” (Job 1:21) Job too was in crisis and hurting but also knew he needed to respond with comforting words. But, what does one say when everything looks hopeless? How do you respond to your spouse when he/she is hurting and so are you? Job told her “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” (Job 2:10) If all your hopes and dreams and joys on this earth are taken away in a split second through an unwanted and unexpected event, how will you respond? How will you deal with your spouse’s response? When our son was 4 yrs. old, he was out with Carla and needed to go the bathroom. Carla sent him into a bathroom she had found and as she was walking out, our son stuck his hand in the crack between the door and the wall trying to keep the door open so he didn’t have to be alone in a strange bathroom. He didn’t know the door would swing shut automatically and it slammed his hand cutting the tip of one of his fingers off. Carla got him to a hospital and they were able to sew it back on and get the blood circulating through it once again.  As he walked around with a bandage the size of a boxing glove on his hand for a month, it would have been easy to say something to Carla about her negligence as I just couldn’t understand how she had let that door swing shut on him, but what value would that have? What permanent damage could that have brought to our marriage?
“A man takes joy in a fitting reply,and how good is a timely word!”Proverbs 15:23 A right response to an untimely event can be huge in a relationship. How good, encouraging and inspiring is a life-giving word. Here is a challenge:Go on a date and ask your spouse how well they feel you do at fulfilling this verse. Ask him/her for some ways you might be able to do better at it. You might get a “fitting reply” and if not, then certainly a needed one. God did honor Job for not turning away from him and gave him double what he had originally had as a blessing for it. Do you believe God will bless you for your faithfulness to Him and to your marriage relationship?