WARNING…if you are NOT complete in the Lord before you come into marriage you will be like an insatiable, carnivorous beast for love in marriage. Seriously. It sounds hideous but that is exactly what we become when we expect our spouse to fulfill all our longings and desires. This was one of the more significant realizations I had during a recent couples retreat I attended.
During the retreat I watched Andy Stanley’s video, I-Marriage, and he talked about how desires turn into expectations in marriage. And that drives away love quicker than we can ever imagine. Romance flies right out the front door, and we find ourselves unhappy, unfulfilled, and disillusioned by the one relationship we thought would surely make us happy.
I have yet to see a sad bride standing at the altar as she makes her vows. I have seen many brides cry out of joy. But a depressed bride on the day of her wedding? Have you ever seen one? (Okay, some women have arranged marriages but that is a different story. I am referring to weddings where the woman chooses to marry the “man of her dreams.”)
If marriage begins with so much happiness then why are there so many unhappy wives?
Here is the truth — there is no person in the world who can perfectly fulfill all your desires. No one. That’s all fantasy.
I too had this googly- eyed idea of love when I got married. And soon after, my eyes went from starry-eyed to blood shot fiery red. (Okay that sounds downright beastly.) I am exaggerating. I was not perpetually angry with Edric but sometimes he would do things that hurt me and I would do things that hurt him. Why? No matter how much we profess to love each other marriage exposes our flaws and tendency toward selfishness.
I know countless others who have experienced this, too. I married an amazing guy. I am married to an amazing guy. And I would, in an instant, say yes to marry him again. But both of us know from the word of God, from experience, from the many others whom we have encountered along the way, that ultimately, completeness and happiness are not found in persons, possessions, or accomplishments, but in Jesus Christ alone.
It’s interesting that the Bible says, “Under three things the earth quakes, and under four, it cannot bear up: under a slave when he becomes king, and a fool when he is satisfied with food, UNDER AN UNLOVED WOMAN WHEN SHE GETS A HUSBAND…” (Proverbs 30:21-23 NASB)
An unloved woman.
To desire love is natural. That’s no epiphany. We were built for love. But the kind of love we are looking for is the inexhaustible, absolutely secure, dependable, earth-shaking kind. And only Jesus can give it. Jesus wants to give it.
When Jesus came to the Samaritan woman at the well, a woman who had gone through one relationship to another, he said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” (John 4:13, 14 NASB)
Jesus knew that the Samaritan woman was an unloved woman. She had tried to find the answer in relationships, relationships that failed her. What she was really looking for was Jesus.
Jesus. The inexhaustible source. The living water we crave and need. Jesus found the unloved Samaritan woman. He sought her out. The conversation between them is the longest recorded conversation between Jesus and any person. Imagine that! Women are special to Jesus!
Afterwards, she was exuberant with joy and told everyone she knew, “I have found the Messiah!” Instead of looking to fill her own need for love, she began telling others about the best lover of all.
Marriage is so much more about giving versus taking. And unless we are overflowing with the love of Christ, the giving becomes exhausting. Emotional resources get depleted. My encouragement to women is to find wholeness in the Lord. Seek his love and be filled with it. He loves us perfectly. His love transforms us into better wives and mothers.
Yesterday, during the women’s conference led by Ann Chan, I was reminded that women tend to cling to past hurt and it turns into a reservoir of pain or bitterness. We can get so preoccupied with nursing our wounds, withholding forgiveness, or plotting vengeance, we can’t possibly be a blessing. When we do this, we are easily angered, easily offended, negative, and demanding. This translates to totally unpleasant. When we are bitter, we become bitter to the taste of those around us, too! We develop toxic personalities. Is it a wonder then that husbands or children want to avoid or replace the women in their lives who become like this?
I disciple a group of wonderful women. Sadly, more than 50% of them have, what I like to call, CRAZY moms or mothers-in-law. These moms are angry, shouting, controlling, or depressive kinds of moms. It seems to be a growing epidemic. I hear the sad stories of daughters who have endured physical, verbal abuse, or neglect. And it is very hard for them to heal from the experiences of their childhood. They continue to be affected by the on-going stress of interacting with their crazy moms.
I don’t believe moms become this way over night. Based on stories shared by women I know, their moms were damaged by their own relationships — husband, parents, friends — or circumstances…and instead of becoming better, they became bitter.
How do we protect ourselves from becoming “toxified” by relationships and circumstances? Just like the Samaritan woman, we need to realize that relationships, accomplishments, and material things are an INCOMPLETE answer to our deepest longings and desires. We were made for living water. We settle and strive for what makes us thirst again and again. In the pursuit of our idea of satisfaction, we end up disappointed, wounded, or deeply pained.
Whenever I fail to realize that Jesus is everything I long for — my inexhaustible joy, an ever-present companion, the promise of salvation, my daily delight, comforter in my sorrows, the source of peace when my spirit is troubled, forgiver of my iniquities, grace to live another day, and lover of my soul — I look to Edric to be these things. But it is not a fair expectation. It is wrong. Edric can fill a number of those longings but to make the mistake of thinking that he can do this for me every single moment, every single day, is an impossible standard.
Here is the good news, God wants us to hold him to this standard because he can fulfill it. He fulfilled it at the cross. The song, Jesus Son of God, by Cris Tomlin is all about how much God loves us.
“You came down from heaven’s throne,
this earth you formed was not your home,
a love like this the world had never known.
A crown of thorns to mock your name,
forgiveness fell upon your face,
a love like this the world has never known.
You bore our sin,
you took our shame,
you rose to life,
you defeated the grave,
and a love like this the world has never known.
On the altar of our praise,
let there be no higher praise,
Jesus son of God…
be lifter higher than all..
the cross was enough.”
Two people who have experienced God’s love, coming together in marriage can give of that love to one another. Marriage becomes a relationship to enjoy, not because we need our spouse to be happy, but because we are happy in the Lord, we are fully satisfied in his love. We become conduits of blessing instead of vacuums that take-take-take to fill up a void inside. The Bible tells us to abide in God’s love.
“Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love…These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.” (John 15:9,11 NASB)
Knowing Jesus doesn’t guarantee a pain-free life or a pain-free marriage but our relationship with him gives us the capacity to overcome trials, grow more beautiful through them, and exude the joy of the Lord in our relationships. Why? Because NOTHING can separate us from the love of God.
The book of Romans tells us, “Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:35, 37-39 NASB)
31 thoughts on “The Rise of the Unloved Woman”
Bravo! Excellent article, Joy! You are truly a woman of substance. I plan to read this over and over again.
Thanks Liza! You are too kind. Appreciate you!
Very well written. A good reminder to single ladies not to hurry into marriage and as for us married once to find joy through Our Heavenly Father as spouse will not meet our expectations all the time. No more expectations. Praise God for you sis.
Thanks Pepper! And I praise God that we actually have wonderful spouses who love God! Blessings to you!
What a blessing! 🙂 I’m not yet married but I can relate to this post in so many ways. Favorite part: “completeness and happiness are not found in persons, possessions, or accomplishments, but in Jesus Christ alone.”
By the way, I said hi to Elijah this evening at CCF Eastwood and he asked me “How did you know my name?” hahaha. I should have said “because I am a fan of your mom’s blog!”
Hi Erika. I know, it’s kind of funny when I run into people and they know all the names and personalities of my kids because of this blog. ha ha. Blessings to you!
Hi Ms. Joy! I also attend at CCF. Your blog has been a blessing to me. I enjoy reading your articles even though I’m still single. I do learn a lot from you. Your life has been an inspiration not only to us singles but to all women who are reading your articles. Praise God for a woman like you! 🙂
YOu don’t have to call me “Miss”! 🙂 Blessings to you, too!
Hi Joy. You’re article is so inspiring. I have 2 daughters age 16 and 18. We know so well that this is a very crucial stage for them. They ask a lot of question about boys, sex and marriage..and we thought it’s never too late to include purity among teenager in our devotion. This topic is so relevant. Thanks.
Thanks Lissa, I’m not at that stage yet. Gulp. Well, I pray God gives you wisdom. I had a very close relationship with my parents which helped me to be open with them about my struggles and what I was going through. I hope I can cultivate the same kind of relationship with my kids so they feel like they can talk to me about anything when they get older…
This is spot on! Thank God for wisdom in this blog…awesome content! Thanks for inspiring people to become better and encouraging us to become God’s best for God’s best for us! 🙂
You are welcome, Rhea! Praise God!
Very true… We are complete in God who created us… We are made whole by what Jesus did on the cross… “There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every man that only God can fill through His Son Jesus Christ.” 🙂
Amen! C.S. Lewis!
you are such a blessing joy! thank you for this blog!
Thanks V 🙂 Praise God!
Thank you so much for taking the time to write posts like this, Joy. I learned so much. You are a blessing. Again, thank you for sharing this.
YOu are welcome, Cha! God bless you!
Hi, Miss Joy (“,) I have been reading your blog even when I was still in the Philippines. I really find your stories quite interesting and fun to read. They are truly inspiring and are always full of biblical lessons.
What makes it more interesting are the photos you include in your stories like this one with you and Edric in Europe. I am a fan of your “loveteam”! Hehe… You are both goodlooking! I hope one day you can share your love story… I believe that would be very interesting indeed! (“,)
Thanks Jaz! That’s funny about the “love team.” ha ha. Okay, I will post more Europe photos…
I read your article posted in my friend’s FB. Very true and wisdom filled. My two daughters are getting married this year and next. I will forward your piece to them. I hope they take it by heart and always remember and remember and remember….. over the years. God bless you..
God bless you too, Yvonne!
Hi Joy. Thanks for this article. I’m about to get married but there had been many setbacks. I know this is God’s doing. I have thought of some assumptions why but I guess having read this entry made it clearer to me. I think His purpose is really to prepare my heart, that my joy, peace and strength be firmly set on Him first. Maybe there are other reasons too but this one stands out. And I can see that He’s also been dealing with the heart of my groom-to-be. Thank you so much. You’ve been a blessing again.
Praise God and thank you for opening up to me 🙂 I am sure God’s timing will be perfect!
After crying at the bathroom after a very light fight with my husband, God showed me this article.. i now completely understand.. thank u for doing what u do.. God bless always!
After crying at the bathroom (had a very light fight with my husband) God showed me this article.. i now completely understand.. thank u for doing what u do.. God bless always!
God bless you too:)
Wow!!! Talk about this being a Holyspirit inspired and led writing of encouragement conviction and full of Gods Love!!! Thank You for being obedient!!
The commentaries I have read on Proverbs 30:23 indicated the the word “unloved” implies “unlovable” due to a bitter, angry, frustrated spirit. Perhaps she hides her inner person in order to find the unwitting man who marries her. And then, the reality of her true, terrible self finds expression.
But I have always thought your interpretation was correct. We marry, hoping to find fulfillment in another human being, when only the Lord can meet that God-created need.
Frankly, I think, how naive, when I see women wanting a husband, taking little thought of who and what he is. It is selfish, it is reckless. Why not a simple friendship? Shouldn’t you marry your best friend?
“And your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.” Genesis 3:16. Here is another passage, that I misinterpreted. The commentaries of men more scholarly than I say that the “desire” here means a desire to usurp his authority as the head of the relationship, to deny the God given role of a helper. However, when I first read the passage, I thought it meant a woman will always want a husband, because she has neglected to allow the Lord to fill her heart, that is, Eve had chosen to separate herself from God.
It seems, at least, even if your, and my interpretations are not correct according to Biblical interpretation of Scripture, our interpretations hold true when we try to live our lives without submitting to the Lord Jesus.
Where in the Bible does it say that the Samaritan woman was unloved? Jesus merely said that she had had five husbands and was currently with a man who was not her husband. There is a possibility that she didn’t have any children, at least not any male children, because if she had, she probably wouldn’t have been cohabiting with a man who wasn’t her husband. But there is no evidence that she was not loved by her previous husbands, or by the man she was living with, and it really isn’t all that important, is it? The most important thing about this woman is that our Savior chose her to spread His message to everyone she knew, and we should not attempt to speculate further on what sort of woman she was. She was good enough for Jesus, and that’s all.