My husband, Aaron, and I married with the expectations of having a great marriage and that we would serve God together. A few months after we were married we were headed to Africa to serve as missionaries.
We spent four months in Africa. It was challenging for me to adjust to being a wife, simultaneously being in another country for the first time. I’m still not sure which is more difficult: the shock of living in a rural part of the world in a tent surrounded by a language I didn’t know or living with someone I was still getting to know intimately.
I felt so isolated in my struggles. I didn’t know where to turn to for help when marriage issues escalated. I recently wrote a book titled The Unveiled Wife, and in it I share some of my marriage story in hopes of encouraging other wives who face marriage struggles. Below is an excerpt from my book.
With only minutes to board the plane, Aaron and I, along with a handful of missionaries, ran through the airport. We were about halfway to our gate when exhaustion overwhelmed me. I had not slept well since the accident, especially on the long flight we had just finished. During the sixteen-hour plane ride, we had encountered bouts of turbulence that made me cringe in fear, and I hoped we would not face another accident. In the middle of the bustling airport, I gave up. I stopped running. My bottom lip began to quiver, and standing still in a sea of travelers, I began to cry. Aaron must have noticed my absence quickly, because in a flash he returned to my side.
“What’s the matter, baby?”
“I can’t do it! I just want to go home. I think you married the wrong girl!”
I knew my dramatic outburst in the airport was the result of being extremely worn out. But struggling with the thought that I had made a mistake getting married was a growing doubt that had been oppressing me on and off for months. My heart was in the trenches of a perilous battle.
Aaron and I had only been married for 8 months when the doubt about being a wife became unbearable that it burst right out of me. As we traveled through Africa we had endured a horrific accident that had me shaken up with fear and doubt. I stopped in the airport that day because I needed my husband to know that I was not confident about being his wife.
Unfortunately, I tucked away this doubt into a deep place in my heart. Over the course of several years, any time Aaron and I hit a rough patch in our relationship, the doubt rose to the surface and consumed my thoughts.
Not only did I feel inadequate as a wife, which is where the doubt stemmed from, but I was also bombarded with feelings of regret, believing that I should have waited longer before committing to a life-long journey to Aaron. At different times I believed I should have dated more, I should have experienced life on my own and out of my parent’s house, I should have finished college and indulged in dorm life, I should have, could have, wish I had…
Doubt suffocated the joy out of my life and snuffed out any opportunity for me to believe God could use my husband and me as a team to do good and experience His extraordinary will for us. I was being tossed back and forth in my mind and with my emotions on whether my husband and I were meant to be. This hindered my ability to embrace true intimacy and move forward in my marriage. It also hindered me from trusting God.
I know the bombardment of doubt and insecurities are real and that many of us wrestle with our thoughts and emotions towards God and our husbands. It is a daily battle no matter what the circumstances are. The enemy will use all kinds of things to stir up this doubt and tear apart our intimate relationships … but I want to encourage us all to stand firm, in faith, that what we have is valuable!
Our marriages are worth us fighting for!
God rescued me from my doubt and brought me to a place I could trust Him. He used people and their testimonies to encourage my frail heart. I began to trust His Word and my perspective changed.
“But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.” (James 1:6-8)
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Being able to disband the doubt that rose up in my heart was a difficult challenge for me. Yet, God’s Word is extremely powerful. The more I trusted God’s Word and trusted Him with my life, the less I worried, feared, or doubted.
At the root cause of our doubt lies a mound of insecurities and an inability to cultivate trust. Take time to consider what some of your greatest insecurities are, then hand them over to God in prayer, asking God to help you let go of them. Also, identify areas in marriage or in your relationship with God where is difficult for you to trust and be willing to talk to your husband about this mentioning that it is a part of you, that you want to grow.
Lastly, what are you thankful for about your husband and about God? Make a detailed list and then share that list with your husband and God. I have found that thankfulness and appreciation also trump doubt every time!
Having thankfulness in your heart will help you embrace true intimacy, because your heart will be so full, you won’t have room to doubt! Don’t stop finding reasons why you are thankful!
I hope and pray that this helps you understand the value of what you have. Marriage is no mistake!
If you wrestle with doubt or if you believe your marriage is a mistake please consider praying this prayer below:
I don’t know why I doubt. I struggle to trust You and my husband. Fear infiltrates my heart and my mind hindering me from embracing true intimacy. I do not want to live a life where I am being tossed back and forth, overwhelmed by inconsistent and intense emotions. I desire faith, I desire abundant faith. Please help me not to doubt, worry, or fear anymore. I pray You would help me truly trust You and Your will for my life. Lord, may You inspire change in my heart and powerfully break the patterns of doubt in my mind. I pray I would believe that my marriage has value. I pray I would be able to find specific reasons why I am thankful and that being thankful would become a strong part of my character in Jesus’ name AMEN!
About Jennifer Smith
Jennifer married her best friend Aaron in January of 2007. They jumped straight into missions living in three different states and three different countries during their first two years of marriage. Her passion for missions, writing, and marriage led her to create Unveiled Wife, where she blogs about being a wife with every intention to inspire other wives to develop God-centered marriages. Her and her husband are expecting their first child later this year. You can find Jennifer on Twitter and join the Unveiled Wife Community on Facebook.