When Wedding Bells Stop Ringing: Introduction
Synopsis of Book
What do you do when your spouse looks you in the face and says, “I’m in love with another woman, and I don’t want to be in this marriage anymore”? Years ago, I faced this very thing. In that moment, our wedding bells stopped ringing. But I didn’t get married to get divorced. I knew that a praying wife had power, and I was a good Christian, church-going, God-fearing woman. So why in the world were my prayers not working? And how do you stay married and make it work when your spouse is out of it and over it? Is that even possible? My marriage is a testimony that it’s possible and the strategy in this book works. Instead of promoting a worldly therapeutic approach to help you win, this book offers Bible-therapy and my witness as testimony to ensure that in this situation, you will come out victorious just like God promises us in his Word.
Loaded with powerful prayers and self-help exercises, this book is built on the back of two main Bible verses: “For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband” (1 Corinthians 7:14); and “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not easily broken” (Ecclesiastes 4:12).
Therefore what God has joined together,
let no one separate.— Mark 10:9
Ahh, weddings, aren’t they beautiful? The bride poised like a blushing baby doll in her regal dress, the groom so well-manicured, trying to look more manly than nervous. The bridal party draped in color-coordinated exquisite gowns and posh tuxedos awaiting their cue to do the processional march. Then the vows are declared with such love and emotion that even the toughest eye in the audience tear. Everyone perched at the edge of their seats, waiting to hear, “I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss the bride.”
Slobber swapped, bubbles blown, confetti strewn and everyone up on their feet as they cheer for the newlyweds.
And if the wedding wasn’t beautiful enough, the reception is enchanting. The decor, extravagant; the ambiance, so elegant, warm and inviting. The music, the dancing, the delicious food, not to mention the cake--more a work of art fit for a museum display than a simple dessert. Bouquets thrown and fought over by women anxious to be the next Mrs. Somebody, and garters intentionally dropped by men in no hurry to take that daunting walk of commitment. The new Mr. & Mrs.’s first dance, so intimate and loving, while family (and sometimes foe) observe it all.
And the honeymoon...a deliciously yum night to remember. And I’ll leave it at that. (Wink.)
But After the Wedding Day...
Weddings are so beautiful, but so exhausting, especially for the bride and groom. And even after as much work and effort that go into making that day special and memorable, it is just that. A day. One simple day to celebrate a lifetime endeavor.
Unfortunately, many marriages don’t last a lifetime because more effort is put into the wedding day than what is put into the wedding vows. Statistics show that somewhere around 40-50% of all first marriages end in divorce. Even those that somehow swerve divorce spiral into this “married but not together” trap that goes on for years and years. Yep, even the marriages of believers sometimes end in divorce or “we’re only married on paper” status.
How can something that started off so beautifully end so ugly? Think back to your own wedding day, whether you had an actual ceremony or not. Think back to how much the two of you loved each other then and how hopeful you were for your future then. And now look at the mess that your marriage has become. Is it too late to stop your marriage from becoming another statistical union that couldn’t stand the test of time? Can one faith-filled wife or husband really save the marriage even when their spouse wants out?
I’m here to tell you from my own testimony and faith-filled simple advice that yes, one spouse can save the marriage without their partner’s help because the Bible tells us so. This book will prove it to you. Furthermore, the God we serve is one of restoration and reconciliation and with Him, all things are possible. I mean, come on! If Jesus can raise Lazarus from the dead and the man’s body was already decomposing and stinking, you have to believe that the Lord we serve can save your decomposing stinky marriage too.
Your situation can look so impossible that it’s difficult for you to have great big faith in God right now. But that’s okay! Here’s why God is so awesome. He said you don’t have to give me elephant-size faith for me to move in your life. Just give me the mustard seed and I’ll use that to move a mountain. If all you have left in your marriage is a tiny mustard seed (which you must have because if not, you wouldn’t be reading this book), then that’s enough right there.
If you can’t tell by now, yes, this book is about marriage, but more so, this book is about faith. Because without faith, you cannot please God (Hebrews 11:6). Without faith, you can do nothing. This book is intended for those Christian believers who are already married, who traveled down that aisle and made those vows and exchanged those rings, but for whatever reason, their spouse has fallen away and wants to bring things to a final end. I have been there. I have been in your shoes. At times, my husband was the one who wanted to close our marriage door and lock it permanently, but at other times, I have grown to the point where I wanted out. I wanted to be free. I had taken all that I could take, and I had suffered all that I could suffer, and I was just tired. Bone tired. I was done.
Who This Book is For
This book is written predominantly from a wife’s perspective with a husband who isn’t doing right in the marriage. But I’ve had so many men email me for advice that I have no doubt that this book will benefit men too who are still in the marriage but their wife wants out. So men, by all means, read this book and adjust the terminology to make it fit your situation.
This book can also be used by newlyweds who are still in the honeymoon phase or just hitting some rocky terrain and you want to make sure that you’re steering the wheel in the right direction. Additionally, this book can be used by divorcees whose marriage didn’t make it, but one day, you plan to try this marriage thing again. For those readers, read this book while looking in hindsight on your marriage to figure out how to avoid the divorce pitfall again. Ask yourself did you walk away from that marriage with everything that you were supposed to walk away from it with? Use the principles in this book to determine the answer to that question.
While others may benefit from this book, this book is especially for those whose marriage is in cahoots right now, crumbling as I speak, and it looks like there’s no hope left. You might have stumbled across my online article “Help 102: How to Save Your Marriage When Your Spouse Wants a Divorce”, and wanted a more in-depth read because deep down inside, something will not allow you to let go of your marriage just yet. Whatever the case, I want you to know that I hate that you are going through this in your marriage because I know from firsthand experience how frustrating, despairing, and emotionally draining this can be. But also, I know from firsthand experience that even your most painful test has purpose. You have to remember this: What you’re going through now has purpose that’s bigger and greater than you, your spouse or your feelings.
I know you might not want to hear that right now, but just because you don’t want to hear it doesn’t stop it from being true. How could I have ever written this book to give you hope had God never turned my marriage into the treacherous Garden of Gethsemane and allowed my husband to become my Judas? What credibility would I have to encourage you had I never suffered, endured, and overcame in my own marriage?
In this book, I will be sharing my story and my testimony of how God brought my marriage back together and how He’s keeping it together so that it can encourage you. If it were up to my husband and me, by now, this marriage would probably be over. But I thank God that this union is not between two beings, but three: me, my husband, and God. I’m the wife, Jonathan’s the husband, and God is the glue, also known as our grace, our guide and our keeping power. A cord of three strands is not easily broken (Ecclesiastes 4:12).
Even in sharing my testimony, I know that your story is not exactly like mine, but the baseline is the same. If you’re reading this book, it’s probably because you want your marriage to work but your spouse is over it. Fortunately for you, your spouse doesn’t have the final say. It’s God’s call. But you must allow this book to open your eyes to purpose and perspective of marriage from God’s vantage point. God says, “My people are destroyed for the lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6). I think He would also say, “My marriages are destroyed for a lack of knowledge,” for marriage is an institution of God, not just something “cute” to do because you love someone so much.
There are pitfalls in marriage, and if you don’t know how to anticipate them, avoid them when possible, and navigate through them when the only way out is “through”, your marriage is going to lose its melody when the wedding bells stop ringing. Please go back and reread that previous sentence again.
I’m not a nonfiction writer. Anyone who knows me knows that I live, breathe, and write fiction, preferably African-American romance because I’m a sucker for a good romance line. However, my apostle, Apostle Joseph Green at Try Jesus Ministries International based in Sanford, NC, who has been married for almost 40 years, commissioned me to write this book because it’s part of my ministry. He said, “There are hurting marriages out there, and wives and husbands need to read your story.” Apostle only confirmed what God was already impressing upon my heart, so I had to be obedient to the mandate that God had placed on my gift and write His book—this book.
This book is a journey of some simple faith-filled steps and practical advice that you can apply to your life to help save your marriage even once your spouse has decided that he or she wants a divorce. I have woven this practical advice into the threads of my own marriage story in hopes that by sharing my testimony, your determination will be strengthened. Not only will this book help save your marriage, but it will also point you in the direction to make your marriage better than it was before. Because God never restores mess. He cleans it up and makes all things new.
For those who are not married but headed in that direction, allow this book to enlighten you so that you will be better equipped for your nuptial vow. Mark my words: there will come a time when your wedding bells will stop ringing. This isn’t a threat; it’s just the reality of life. Yet that doesn’t mean the solution is divorce or forever “married only on paper” or avoiding marriage altogether. You don’t have to hang up your harp like the Israelites did when they could no longer here the sweet song of their promise.
Can You Keep Singing Your Song when the Wedding Bells Stop Ringing?
“By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion. We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. For there, they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion. How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land?” (Psalm 137:1-4).
Sometimes your marriage will become a strange land. How do you sing the Lord’s song in a strange land? How can you sing a song of joy when you look at your spouse and think to yourself, This is not the man that I married.
When you can no longer hear the wedding bells ringing, take these steps to push through marriage muck until you hear the sweet sound of victory. You don’t have to divorce. You don’t have to stay married only on paper. And you don’t have to hang up your harp. My marriage makes me a living witness that dead things can arise, dry bones can live, that God will give you beauty for ashes and turn your mourning into joy, and this can be done with or without your spouse’s assistance.
But all of this is dependent upon you getting to the other side of “through.” Because marriage, as you have learned, or are learning, or will soon someday learn, is so much more than just those binding words, “I do.”
This book will give you the strategy to continue saying “I do,” when you really feel like, “I did, but I just can’t do this anymore.” Allow me to share my testimony with you.
Table of Contents
Before the Fall
You Alone Can Save the Marriage
Be Willing to See it His Way
But Is it God-Ordained?
What Has God Told You?
When It All Fell Apart
The Secret to Longevity
Get Off the Roller Coaster
Emotions Belong in the Backseat
Talk to Him not “him”
The Power of Words
Scripture Juice (The Best Power Drink on the Market)
Your Love Bucket is Leaking
A New You
Marriage is an Assignment
Marriage is Ministry
Wedding Bells Will Ring Again
To Have and To Hold From This Day Forth
© 2018 Jessica B Smith