It would seem that in times of stress in a marriage that the couple would pull closer to each other. Ideally the husband and wife would lean on one another and listen to each other as they pour out their hurts and feelings of helplessness. But after years of experience and observation I’m convinced that it is far more common for stress in the family to drive a wedge between the husband and wife than it is to pull them closer together.
Think of the Old Testament story of Job and his wife. The Bible describes him as a good, godly and wealthy man. God was so impressed with his life that he even pointed him out to Satan saying “Have you considered by servant Job? There is none like him.” Satan shot back that Job didn’t serve God for nothing, that God had built a wall around him and if he would let down that wall and allow Satan to take away his stuff he would curse God to his face. God allowed Satan to attack Job and take everything he owned. He killed his cattle, had thieves to steal his camels, had his crops burned, his homes destroyed by a tornado and his ten children killed in the process. In all this Job didn’t sin nor did he charge God foolishly. He tore his garments and fell on his face in prayer saying, “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed is the name of the Lord.”
Then another scene is pictured in heaven where Satan along with the sons of God appear before God’s throne. God again points to his servant Job who had held on to his integrity even when Satan had attacked his family. Satan challenged God again saying “Skin for skin. All that a man has will he give in exchange for his life.” He challenged God to allow him to touch his body and said if you do he will curse you to your face. God allowed Satan to attack Job’s body only not to kill him. Job was hit with boils all over his body from the top of his head to the bottom of his feet. There was no way to find relief. He sat in a pile of ashes scrapping his sores with a broken piece of pottery.
It was then that Job’s wife came to him and declared, “Are you still holding on to your integrity? Why don’t you curse God and die?” He responded, “You speak as one of the foolish women. Shall we receive good at the hand of God and not evil.”
They had both gone through horrible losses. She was attacked by Satan as much as he was. She had seen everything lost and had to go to the funeral of all ten of her children at one time. Then she had to watch as Job’s body was attacked. The stress on each of them had to be tremendous.
I wonder as time went by if they didn’t lean on each other. It is definitely the case that they were still together in the end and their love must have been thriving for them to have ten more children together.
But do notice how the stress on their life affected their marriage. When she thought of all her losses she couldn’t grasp Job’s religious reactions. How could he still be praying and praising God when he had lost it all and his kids were all dead?
In reality this seems to be the normal way for couples to react when there are problems in the family. Far, far too often husbands and wives take different sides as it relates of the child that has rebelled. Often one will blame the other for the problems. They allow the child to manipulate one or the other or both so that instead of being a team to help the child learn a better way they watch the marriage fall apart over the behavior of the child.
It ought to be the case in such times of bad behavior of a child that husband and wife would pull closer to each other, listen to one another and stand together in their efforts to correct the child.
When we allow family stresses to push us apart we are letting Satan to have his way in our home. In every family there will be challenges and stresses to deal with. But we must be wise enough to allow our stresses to push us closer to each other instead of pulling us apart.