Everyone faces challenges. Some people have more challenges than others. Others have fewer challenges with greater weight. Some people are born with challenges, while others don’t face theirs until later in life. We all have challenges and we have to understand that no matter how great, how numerous, or how big our challenges are, God hasn’t allowed you to face them for nothing. While I have never been married myself, I have witnessed challenges in marriages. I’ve seen how God has refined both husband and wife and not only made them closer as a marital team, but they have also grown closer to God. In the moment it seemed as if everything could fall apart, but once their eyes focused on God’s goal for them, they became stronger and had a greater sense of what it was to be married and how their marriage honors God.

Loree Vangelder has been married for over 30 years and when she first started Leza’s life group marriage had been struggling for many years. Both Loree and her husband were unhappy and even though they lived in the same house they were living out completely separate lives. Divorce was not an option for Loree, but she was miserable, “I didn’t even like my husband, let alone love him; she says. It was if their life together was never going to get better. 

She continued attending her life group and went through a study called, “For Women Only: What You Need to Know About the Inner Lives of Men.” The book focuses on what is going on inside a man's mind and guide’s women on how to provide the loving support that modern men want and need. Loree started out resenting the study, “The study really challenged me and frankly made me mad. I didnt think it was fair that I was the one with the problem.” God had a different plan for her and the more Loree focused on the challenges the book offered the more she recognized God’s calling for her as a wife and a follower of His Word. 

As difficult as it was, it started to become easier to show love, encouragement and submission to her husband. A year later Loree and her husband have never been closer, happier or more in love as they are now, “As a wife, I set the tone in the home and can be resonponsible for my husband’s attitude and how he treats me. I’ve learned the key to a happy, loving marriage is to totally give myself to God and be the kind of wife His Word says to be.” They are now both looking forward to an empty nest and what the future holds for them. 

No matter what your own personal challenges are, God has trusted you with them. No matter how big they are, God is always bigger. In our most difficult times God is refining us and refining takes heat. Isaiah 48:10 says, “See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.” We should view our challenges as more than just something working against us, but rather something God is going to work us through for the better. Instead of trying to use our own strength we should trust God to get us through the challenges we face.

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