How God Saved Our Marriage by Hallee Bridgeman
My husband Gregg and I will celebrate our wedding anniversary at the end of June. The first time we ever held hands, it was so that we could pray over our first meal together. We have a wonderful relationship and are not two but one in the eyes of God while we work side-by-side in ministry together. We have the same priorities regarding raising our children, how we handle our money, what the next phase of our lives might hold, etc.
However, things have not always been so. A few years into our marriage, in the wake of a military deployment, two extremely high-risk pregnancies that gave us a combined 40 days of NICU experience, and a consulting job that had my husband working away from home 50 weeks a year, things were not good. In fact, things were very, very bad. Basically, our marriage was shattered. Broken. Irreparable.
Despite the anger, resentment, and suffering, we didn’t fight. We didn’t lash out and hurt each other. We just suffered, silently, with the knowledge that nothing existed that could bring us back together.
That wasn’t what we wanted. Each of us desired a strong marriage with an intact family. Amid this brokenness and desperation, I went to a great Christian resource's website and typed a word into the search bar of the bookstore there, then ordered every book that came up as a recommendation.
Gregg was en-route to take a contracting job in Afghanistan. He had a two-week stopover in Kuwait. We took that time to crack open the books we ordered and start reading out loud via video conferencing. We read chapter after chapter of books like The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman, Love and Respect by Emerson Eggerichs, His needs Her Needs by Willard F. Harley, Jr.
We spent hours each day reading, discussing, taking quizzes, answering questions.
These books revolutionized our marriage. They opened our eyes to the things that were missing, gaping holes that hadn’t been filled because we couldn’t see them through the blinders we wore and through the pain of our own wounds.
That began our journey and sparked our passion for strong, Biblical marriages. Together, we dug deeper, going into the psychology of men’s brains and women’s brains, and the differences that the two sexes have in communication and expectations. We started stocking our bookshelves with resources filled with Biblical wisdom and understanding. We each began writing articles from a Biblical worldview about marriage and relationships and families.
Our research always started and ended with the Bible. We dug into what the Bible said about marriage and relationships and how all of that applied to us. We applied what we had come to learn about the psychology of men and women and peeled layers away from verses that were so well known and saw them in a new light with a greater understanding.
Genesis 2:24 says: Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. (NKJV)
This is a very important verse because it is the first example of prophecy in the Bible. Understand that the first man and woman had neither parents nor children. The word “one” in this verse is the Hebrew word 'echad. That word is also used in Deuteronomy 6:4: Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD. (NKJV)
God brings husbands and wives together the same way that the triune God is joined together. He wants us to be in a holy state of "oneness" as in one flesh, one mind, one mission. The very cool thing about that is that He has equipped us to be one, to complement each other’s weaknesses and play on each other’s strengths.
When God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him,” (Genesis 2:18 NKJV) there are two Hebrew words that could have been used for “not good.” One is ‘ên tôb, which means something is lacking. As in, this coffee lacks sweetener, or these mashed potatoes lack salt. The other is the one that was used: lõ’tôb, which means positively bad. As in, it is positively bad that man is alone, so I will make a helper for him.
God designed us to be in a holy relationship with someone. We are commanded by God to make that relationship monogamous, permanent, and, above all, a reflection of Christ’s relationship with us - which is what sanctifies the marriage relationship and makes it a holy state of matrimony.
When a husband loves his wife with the perfect, agape love of Christ, and when his wife gives him unconditional respect and a tender affectionate love in return, then you have a perfect model of a marriage as given to us by God. Then two have become “one” – a powerful force with which to be reckoned.
When Gregg and I fully understood all of this, we realized that God had healed our marriage. He had redeemed us and restored our union. He had put away anger and suffering and replaced it with joyful understanding. He had taken all of those shattered pieces and put them back together, with no rough edges, shiny and new.
In the meantime, we learned to focus our marriage away from each other and toward God; to love Him with all of our minds, hearts, souls, and strength. It brought a peace into our relationship that didn't previously exist even though we'd both been Christians when we first met. It brought us closer together and made us one.
When the publishers of Love’s Letters: A Collection of Timeless Relationship Advice from Today’s Hottest Marriage Experts came to us and asked us to be part of this 28-day devotional, we were thrilled… and humbled. Some of those books on our shelves were by some of the authors in this collection. The inspired words they once wrote had strengthened our marriage, and now we had the opportunity to collaborate with them and share some love and truths with other married couples.
As this book goes out into the world, our prayer is that it becomes a tool that helps husbands and wives grow closer together in holy matrimony, strengthens that bond, and possibly brings fractured pieces back together the same way books focused on Biblical marriage did for us in our marriage all those years ago. Whatever questions you may have about your relationship, the word of God always has the answer.
Hallee Bridgeman is a best-selling author of Christian romance and romantic suspense novels. She, Gregg, and their three children live in Kentucky. Before launching her writing career, Hallee spent years blogging and mentoring Christian women in the art of homemaking, the joy of loving and respecting your husband, and in the raising of a Godly family at her website "Hallee the Homemaker." Now, she travels the world, speaking to women’s groups on those same topics that are so dear to her heart.
Hallee’s oldest daughter is a graduate from the Unviersity of Kentucky. Her middle son struggles as a hexagonal “autism spectrum” peg in this round world, and her youngest son fills the house with wooshes and bangs as he fights imaginary bad guys while wearing a Spiderman costume and wielding a Ninja sword.