Dick Wulf, MSW, LCSW
Marriage is Difficult & Why That is for God's Glory
Bad Things Happen to Good Christian People
in Marriage are Great Opportunities
Become More and More Like Jesus
2007, Dick Wulf, Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA
Creation of Mankind was for God’s Glory through Battle
All About God!"
Why Bad Things Happen to Good Christians
This to Our Marriages
Right Attitude About Problems
Become More and More Like Jesus
Right Attitude About the Church and Our Marriages and Families
Professional Psychotherapist’s Recommendation
42 Years of Helping Marriages & Families
was originally designed to be easy, but Adam and Eve forgot the most important
requirement of marriage. We also forget.
the bad news.
in Christ we can live for God and glorify Him by facing and defeating marital
difficulty, family discord and relationship breakdown wherever it occurs. We can
turn the disaster of the Garden of Eden back upon Satan and win victories for
the good news! Very good news!Please
let me clarify the Bible's teaching regarding the power of God when Christian
marriages understand their purpose.
properly understand marriage, we have to go back before mankind was created to
see that the universe revolves around God, not mankind. God's purpose in bringing
us into existence is a most important consideration. Self-centered and sinful,
we think God's primary purpose in creating us was to bless us. (Nice idea, but
it's not so.)
mankind existed, God lived in heaven with his angels eternal, rational
creatures that predate us by eons. Everything was pure and perfect as all the
angels worshiped and served the Most High God.
an angel named Lucifer decided that he wanted to be served and worshiped instead.
Suddenly, all was not well in God's home.
invented "sin" and God had to do something about it. But, because God
is just, he could not say to Lucifer (as I would have) , "I brought you into
the universe, and I can take you out. Poof!" Instead, for justice to be done,
Lucifer's great pride had to be punished by great humiliation.
so, God decided to exile Lucifer and the approximately one-third of the angels
who followed him in his rebellion. God changed Lucifer's name to Satan and the
angels who followed Lucifer became demons. Then
God exiled them to one specific planet in the whole universe, our planet Earth.
(It is quite likely that they were sent here from heaven before Earth had its
where the Bible starts. "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the
earth." (Genesis 1:1)
Creation of Mankind Was for God's Glory Through Battle
through our self-centered eyes, it appears that God made all things for us. This
is a very great mistake.
Garden of Eden was created by God with lots of food for Adam and Eve. But, if
human creation was all about us, why would God put a tree in the middle of the
Garden that was not for us? And, if not for us, then who for? And, what for?
this: Everything that exists or happens is always first about God. He is and must
be the first consideration.
Adam and Eve the Garden of Eden was paradise. For God it was a theater of war.
of the dust of this blissful battleground God created Adam, the first human and
the first husband.
it was always God’' plan to design Adam so that he would need a helper.
When God made Adam perfect, he was purposely not created complete. He was specifically
designed too weak to defeat great evil alone. Instead, Adam was created to need
a helper so that he and Eve together could defeat Satan and his evil plans.
start to finish the Bible shows that God is more interested in people than in
any individual person. God has work to do that requires the power of a team or
an army, much more than the strength of an individual. Therefore, individuals
are only secondary considerations while marriage, family and the church are primary.
was created by God to be Adam's helper and wife. And, Adam was to be Eve's helper.
Even though each was perfect, they were incomplete separately they needed
each other's help.
help for what task? Why were Adam and Eve created to have to have each other's
is such a key question! Extremely important. Let me repeat it. Why did Adam and
Eve need each other's help?
strategy seems to have been to create an interdependent creature (mankind) where
individuals would combine their strength to defeat whatever Satan threw at them.
This is very clear in the first assignment God gave the first marriage in the
Garden of Eden.
short, God created Adam and Eve to be strong enough together to do anything God
asked them to do. And, the first thing he asked them to do was defeat the devil
by not eating of one particular tree. Adam and Eve were each created too weak
as individuals to do this. But they were created to be more than strong enough
to defeat Satan and all of his evil designs as long as they helped each
is the design for marriage! This is also the design for the church. Individual
Christianity is an oxymoron. One of the most overlooked truths about our wonderful
walk with God is that it is to be a powerful interdependent life with each other.
design for marriage is for a husband and wife to help each other so that together,
working as a team, whether together or apart, they can do anything that God assigns
them to do.
this in mind, the Garden of Eden situation makes sense. God created the Garden
of Eden for a "major showdown" with Satan who had rebelled, invented
sin, and spoiled God's heaven home. God was not sadistic in putting the forbidden
fruit in the middle of the Garden and commanding Adam and Eve to not eat of it.
It was about God, not Adam and Eve. The tree was forbidden for God's sake. As
all of life should be for God and his glory, Adam and Eve could have been thrilled
to not eat of the tree's fruit.
tree of the knowledge of good and evil was an assignment. The task of not eating
of that tree was given to Adam. Then Adam was told he needed a helper. In effect
God said to Adam, "To do things for Me you will need a helper. You will seldom
be able to do them alone."
forbidden fruit was an assignment to defeat Satan. God knew that if Adam and Eve
helped each other, they would easily resist the serpent Satan's power. In not
eating of the forbidden tree, God would humiliate Satan through Adam and Eve's
being one of the smartest creatures ever created, figured out God's strategy.
Or, perhaps God told him. Anyway, Satan came to the Garden to get Adam and Eve
to follow him, not God just as he had done in heaven with the angels. The
devil would try to get the two humans to eat of the tree in the middle of the
that Adam and Eve working together would be strong enough to defeat him, Satan
talked only to Eve.
is Satan's primary strategy to divide people from each other and offer
them what God does not want for them.
don't know when Adam forgot that he and his wife needed each other's help to live
for God. He may have even forgotten to tell Eve of their critical, independent
design. So, when the serpent spoke to Eve, it seems she had no help from Adam.
Nor did she ask for his help.
a shame that Adam and Eve did not remember that helping each other was an absolute
necessity. Because of their failure, we humans have been born in sin ever since.
and Eve's assignment was quite easy if they had worked together and helped each
other. But, the assignments in marriage are more difficult now. Not only are they
harder by task, but we are not perfect like were Adam and Eve. As sinful creatures,
we need each other's help more than ever.
need to be very careful when we think the Holy Spirit is leading us to do anything
without our spouse's help or without the help of the church. The Holy Spirit cannot
and will not go against God's plan. Let us never think that God's plan is different
now and we no longer need each other's help. Let's not be ignorant of this.
for us, the Western world is highly individualistic. If you doubt me, just look
at the books written for Christians and see that almost all of them are written
about individual Christian growth without the need for help from other Christians.
Or try to remember a sermon on the husband's responsibilities to his wife where
the preacher also explained to the wife how she has to help her husband if he
is to be successful at these responsibilities toward her.
over 25 years, I have written much on how the church barely understands how to
obey God in 65 things he has commanded us to do together. I call these The
Togethers of Scripture and they can be found at faith4real.com/published
where there are many articles about the God-commanded plurality of our life with
one another as God's plan for the church.
won in the Garden of Eden, making it necessary for the Son of God to die a terrible
death on the cross to redeem us from sin. Horribly, Satan again was able to dishonor
God ‒ only because Adam and Eve forgot the purpose of marriage to work together
and help each other.
Garden with its forbidden tree was designed to humiliate the devil by showing
him that he could not do what he had done in heaven. God did not create two independent
individuals, but a pair to be one flesh in marriage, with powerful, interdependent
helpfulness that would make them strong enough to defeat all of Satan's evil.
Garden of Eden situation was made for God. His first two people, working together,
were to overcome the evil power of Satan by corporate obedience. By defeating
Satan, Adam and Eve would have glorified God and helped him greatly humiliate
difficulties in marriage are supposed to be there. It is the purpose of marriage
for two people to obediently solve these difficulties to defeat Satan.
And by this obedience, to glorify God and help Him humiliate the devil.
is still that way. Will you and your spouse commit to do marriage God's way? Not
so much for your enjoyment as for His glory? I hope so.
All About God!"
Why Bad Things Happen to Good Christians
you do not yet believe that it is all about God
I mean "ALL"
let me tell you about Job. Job lived as perfectly before God as
any sinful man ever has. Job was right in the middle of the intense battle between
God and Satan.
you may want to read Job, Chapters One and Two (found just before the Psalms in
story of Job can make it seem that God does evil. But, if everything is all about
God, then what happened to Job makes sense and we see that God was not being evil.
But, this requires that you accept that we are His vessels to use as He pleases
for His higher purposes, thus bringing him honor and glory.
as a just God, God needed to humiliate the outrageously proud Satan for inventing
sin and ruining God's two perfect societies, first in heaven and then later on
Job, Chapter One, we learn that God invited Satan up to heaven for a confrontation.
Satan entered the line of angels presenting themselves before God. When his turn
came, God told prideful Satan of Job, "There is no one on earth like him;
he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil." (Job 1:8)
Satan, the most vile creature in all of creation, turned the situation around
and challenged God that if He would take away Job's wealth, Job would curse Him.
here is where we must open our eyes to see and our ears to hear something very
difficult. God said, "Okay."
allowed Satan to wreck horrific havoc on Job! With God's permission but not his
design, Satan attacked Job. (Remember as you read this is all about God.)
a result, Job lost all of his wealth. More tragically, all of his children died
when a house caved in on them.
seems absolutely terrible and evil. And it is! But, soon I will shed light on
this so that it makes sense to those of us who know God as loving and good. Soon
you will know the answer to the troubling question, "Why do bad things happen
to good Christian people?"
listen to Job's reply to losing 7 sons, 3 daughters, 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels,
500 yoke of oxen, 500 donkeys, and all but 4 of his many servants
all in one day!
I came from my mother's womb,and naked I will depart."
Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised."
try to understand that Job's children were taken directly to paradise. Allowing
Satan to kill them did not end their existence. It merely brought them to heaven
the purposes of both the situation of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden as well
as Job's situation to understand why bad things happen to God's people. God uses
these difficult situations to punish Satan with humiliation after humiliation.
is not the author of sin, but he does permit it in order that it might be turned
back on Satan. The obedience of God's people in the face of trouble and difficult
situations allows God to humiliate this most evil angel, the creature who has
done the most damage to God's universe.
conclusion is confirmed by Job, Chapter Two. There we learn that after God ruined
Job (the Bible's words, not mine), and after Job remained faithful and dealt with
the horrific tragedy righteously, God called Satan up to heaven a second time.
God showed him his failure in Job's righteousness so that the devil would be tremendously
Satan still tried to rob God of his glory earned through Job's wonderful faithfulness.
Satan claimed that Job stayed faithful only because Job's own body was not hurt.
Satan challenged God by saying, "But stretch out your hand and strike his
flesh and bones, and he will surely curse you to your face." (Note whose
hand is stretched out.)
God again replied, "Okay." But God instructed Satan that he could not
kill Job when he struck his body. Why this restriction? Because it is all about
God and his honor. Job had to be alive to stay true to God and shame Satan.
God's permission, Satan inflicted Job with lesions and excruciating pain. And,
the whole universe watched for Job's response. Would he pass the test of faithfulness
as he did the first time?
time faithfulness was in spite of the bad advice from Job's wife who said, "Curse
God and die." (I probably would have said the same thing, wanting my wife
Jean to be without such pain. It's not the right thing to say, but it is very
Job stayed true to God with one of the most faith-challenging statements ever.
He replied to his wife, "Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?'
whom God called "blameless and upright", understood that God did not
just bless his people. Job understood that it was all about God and that the truest
praise comes when it is not "earned by God's good treatment". It is
even clear that the more righteous we are does not necessarily mean the more blessings
we will receive in this life. (Think also of John the Baptist.)
to understand why bad things happen to God's people consider the following:
Everything that happens to us is first all about God.
Good things happen to us to honor and
glorify God through our thankfulness and righteous responses.
Bad things happen to us to honor and
glorify God through our faithful obedience and righteous responses.
Bad things give us our best opportunities
to battle Satan and win big victories for God that He can use in humiliating the
devil. Good things that happen to us are less useful in God's humiliation of Satan.
God's response to Lucifer's rebellion was to exile
him to earth, change his name to Satan, defeat him in the life, death and resurrection
of Jesus Christ, and humiliate him for thousands of years through the victories
of God's faithful and dedicated people. [When the evil one has been sufficiently
humiliated, will the time of the Lord's return come? Let's hope it is near.]
me, Christian warfare includes but goes far beyond merely battling in the spiritual
realm. With the Holy Spirit's help, we battle in the spiritual realm as well as
in the physical realm. The two intertwine.
way of defeating Satan is through his people acting together on God's behalf,
doing what he has asked and commanded them to do corporately (as the bride of
Christ, as the Army of God, as His body, as the family of God, etc.).
strategy to dishonor God is to divide Christians (marriages, families, friendships
and churches) so that God's people will not be powerful enough to defeat him or
to resist cursing God with their own words and actions.
is the reason that bad things happen to good Christians?
glorify God by helping Him shame Satan through our faithfulness in difficulties!
must always keep the big picture in mind. Even though God defeated Satan in Christ,
God's process of humiliating the devil is evidently not over. We have work to
do for God, and that is not to just go to Christian events. We are to fight evil
wherever and whenever it exists, whether in our marriages, our families, our church,
our community, our nation, or our world.
Job, we are in the middle of a cosmic battle between God and his arch-enemy Satan.
Let's "put on the full armor of God so that [we] can take [our] stand against
the devil's schemes." (Eph. 6:11)
This to Our Marriages
is nothing like the difficulties of marriage to help us grow more and more into
the image of Jesus. The difficulties of marriage and our commitment to stay with
marriage out of dedication to our Lord forces us to grow into the character of
is not "being" married but "acting" married that creates in
us the need to seek God's ways to deal with difficulties. It is accepting God's
primary role of marriage that of helper that causes us to change
the ways we do things to the ways God does things.
is important to recognize that being each other's helper in marriage means much,
much more than doing the dishes or helping with the yard work. Marriage is more
about helping one another than enjoyment and comfort and being nice to one another.
Being each other's helper has to do with the assignments of God all of
start with, there is the assignment from God to be a godly husband or wife. This
means that a husband and wife in a marriage are expected by God to help one another
deny themselves for each other's good. (Agape love is "self-denial for another's
good".) The husband and wife are to grow more and more away from being self-centered.
husband and wife are expected to help each other grow more and more into the image
of Jesus. Who knows better the imperfections of a person than the spouse who lives
with him or her daily? But, instead of complaining about those objectionable attitudes
and behaviors, a spouse is to help the other actually overcome those un-Christlike
things. To lovingly help definitely requires change into the likeness of Christ.
like a lot of work? It sure is! Some bad attitudes take years to help someone
change. That is why it is in the marital relationship that God assigns such help
to be delivered. Husbands and wives are expected to stay together for years and
years to help with the big challenges consistently a little at a time.
If it gets really, really nasty, there are other Christians (the church) to help
with the battle.
a marriage relationship is very difficult, husbands and wives need a reason to
stay in the relationship. The reason is God and his glory in the face of challenges
from Satan! If they fail at helping one another and at marriage, Satan wins.
a high calling and privilege to stick with a difficult marriage and make it work
in order to thwart the devil and glorify God. What a great accomplishment
to defeat Satan!
after marriage, one partner finds out that the spouse is a whole lot more trouble
than thought during courtship and engagement. Maybe the spouse is really disturbed
and needs quite a bit of help. It is natural in such a situation to challenge
God and ask, "Why did you give me such a big problem to deal with?"
And, if you are quiet enough, you might hear Him reply, "Because you are
strong enough in Me to help. Not many could do it." What a compliment, even
if we might be tempted to sarcastically answer back, "Well, thanks a lot!"
Hopefully, when God's affirmation sinks in, we will say the same words, but this
time with sincere thankfulness.
is no small thing for God to think you worthy of the most difficult of assignments.
There are people He loves who need help from the strongest and most faithful of
His people. Yet, there are not enough strong Christians.
what if a marital relationship is smooth? Well, the first thing to ask is if it
should be a bit harder. Are a husband and wife helping one another to become more
and more like Jesus? If so, there will be many times that are definitely not comfortable
not if the big differences from Jesus are being addressed.
Right Attitude About Facing Problems to
Become More and More Like Jesus
bears saying straight out: We should welcome problems and difficulties. If we
listen to God about how to deal with really difficult things, we will have to
become more like Jesus. And, that is what we should live for becoming more
and more like our Savior.
truly warms the heart of the Father to look down on us and see the likeness of
His Son. "Christ in you, the hope of glory." (Col. 1:27)
Right Attitude About the Church
and Our Marriages and Families
strong together because we are too weak alone is also God's strategy for the church.
(This is the subject of an unpublished book by this author and is much too large
an issue to deal with here.) There are many strongholds of Satan to tear down,
and this requires all of us working together.
it is an essential part of the church, each Christian marriage must be strong
for battle. Husbands and wives must fight together against God's enemies, not
against each other.
what happens in a marriage positively or negatively affects the church. Therefore,
spouses need to be dedicated to Jesus Christ and work things out between them
so that no one in the church is hurt.
should have caught your attention. Is it really possible that avoiding being each
other's helper and not working things out could bring bad things to other Christians?
You can bet your life on it.
Chapter 7, tells of 36 Israelite soldiers dying because a man they did not even
know buried some of Jericho's plunder in his tent. And, get this! God said that
it was the whole nation of Israel that sinned against Him for allowing Achan to
secretly disobey God. Think about that when you wonder how much damage can be
done by the sin of not correcting a bad marriage. You don't want to hurt your
friends in the church, not to mention your children, relatives and friends.
time a problem within the church goes unaddressed, God is dishonored. In the Scriptures,
God has commanded us to live together in such a self-denying love that the whole
world would be astonished. He requires his people to live interdependently, not
privately. And, the purpose of that is to defeat Satan through the strength of
two or more. Unfortunately,
this is not happening. But, if you are interested in knowing more about what God
expects of his people, you can go to faith4real.com/published
to see my list of 65 things God wants us to do with one another. These are not
good ideas on how to live in love they are commands!
Professional Psychotherapist's Recommendation
after 42 Years of Helping Marriages
Every husband and wife should
take the Myers-Briggs (Personality) Type Indicator and receive a detailed explanation.
This is the fastest and easiest way to learn the other's strengths and weaknesses
so that spouses can help each other and work as a team. Then they can stand in
for each other when a situation confronts the spouse's weakness. Or they can ask
for help when a situation could be helped by the spouse's strength.
importantly, I have found that 60-80% of the irritation at a spouse's behavior
goes away when it is learned that this is just how God made that person. Solutions
to problems in the marriage begin to automatically have answers. When I give a
half-day seminar, people rave about their new understanding and the relief it
promises for their marriage. When I counsel a couple in trouble, taking the MBTI
and hearing the specific application to their marriage helps immensely.
the MBTI helps so much with understanding and accepting each other better, it
does not help a husband and wife work with God for deeper healing. Satan has damaged
each of us as much as he has been able. Only knowing the spouse's background and
understanding the incorrect messages hidden deep within will allow a husband or
wife to help the partner defeat the most sinister of Satan's destructive work.
Therefore, I take time with a couple to review what
has happened in each spouse's life, looking for the damage Satan has probably
done. Then we create a strategy for defeating the devil by deciding what each
spouse needs to do to undo his or her own damage and what the other spouse needs
to do to help.
When I counsel a couple, either to
save a troubled marriage or for pre-marital counseling to get a marriage started
off right, I fully remember that the success of the marriage is rooted in God's
design for the marriage. And that is for each spouse to be helpful so that together
they can do whatever God assigns them to do – for all their lifetime together.
To glorify God.
This is deep worship!
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