Life is hard. Marriage is hard. Those are prevailing thoughts in the minds of many people. You see it on bumper stickers or signs, sometimes stated using different words. There is certainly some truth to those statements. We all will have challenges in life and marriage, some more difficult than others, some for short periods and others lasting longer.
Even Jesus said “In this world you will have trouble.” Jesus didn’t stop at stating the obvious, but he gave a solution. “But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33, New International Version) Did you catch that? Jesus makes the difference. He has overcome, so we can overcome. Our faith in him and what he promised gives us peace, hope, and strength during difficult times. Jesus is the “J-factor”!
We have experienced firsthand the difference Jesus makes in our marriage. You see, we were separated during our third anniversary, but were in the process of reconciling with each other. When we looked back on our first marriages and the first three years of our marriage to each other, we realized that neither of us had an active faith. We attended church regularly, but that’s about where it stopped. We didn’t really know much about the Bible or Jesus other than what was spoken in church or what we read on our own, which wasn’t much. Our faith really didn’t influence our life to any great extent, except for going to church. We didn’t have a relationship with Jesus, and we didn’t even know what that meant, or that it was even possible.
After we reconciled, we became aware of the importance of an active faith in Jesus, so we made a commitment to learn more about Jesus and put him at the center of our life and marriage. That has made a world of difference for us. During the 17+ years since then, we have had many challenges, but our faith has carried us through. We handle things much differently than we did before our journey with Jesus.
When you invite Jesus into your heart and turn your life over to him, you “can do all things through Christ (Jesus) who strengthens you.” (Philippians 4:13, New King James Version) Your troubles don’t go away, but faith carries you through them. It has helped tremendously in our marriage and we know it can help in yours, too!