Help! My Marriage Has Grown Cold
And we know that for those who love God, all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28).
I discovered that Mable’s core theology included her misunderstanding of the word good in Romans 8:28. She realized that her understanding of and desire for what is good differed from what the Bible portrays as good. While all things work together for good for the Christian, the reality of that text for Mable was frustrating. Sadly, she had misinterpreted Paul’s meaning. One of the first things I did was assess and adjust her interpretation and expectation of what good meant to her. She had been set on a course to find and experience good for many years. And it was evident that she had a simplistic and incomplete idea of what good meant from a theological perspective.
To explore this presuppositional truth with her, I had to get her to think through what Paul was thinking in Romans 8:28 and how Paul wanted us to interpret the good that happens to us when trouble comes. Most certainly, the good from that text does not necessarily mean I will live a healthy, wealthy, and peaceful life—all the time. It also does not mean that, when trouble comes, God is about to turn this tragedy or disappointment into man-centered prosperity or a preferred outcome for me. Let me illustrate with the story of Mildred.
Mildred was in an automobile accident, completely wrecking her car. Through the ordeal, she received an incredible insurance claim that allowed her to buy a far better car than her previous, aging vehicle. Though God did work these things into her life, and she did receive a brand new vehicle, it can be misleading to bring Romans 8:28 to bear on this situation. For some, it might imply that God is our “Divine Dreamweaver,” which is not the good Paul was discussing. It also does not take into account the other person in the accident, whose rates went up and who has new car payments. Whether or not our life and circumstances unfold to our liking is not the point of the Bible, nor is it the point of life in a fallen world. Giving us the life we’ve always wanted is not at the top of God’s to-do list. For example,
The good that God is working in me and you are to make us more like Jesus. If the circumstances in my world are not conforming me to Jesus, I’m missing the point of what is going on in my life. The purpose of the Bible is transformation, not seven habits for highly effective people. Neither is it my success or happiness as defined by our culture. If I gain personal prosperity, property, plaudits, or power in this life, but these means of maturity do not conform me to the image of God’s son, I have missed the point of God’s work in my life. The good in Romans 8:28, and the significance of the whole passage, is that God will change me into the image of Christ but not necessarily healthy or wealthy.
And we know that for those who love God, all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew, he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified (Romans 8:28– 30).
During my counseling sessions with Mable, it became apparent that she saw her marriage as something to bring about her interpretation of what is good. Though she loved God wholeheartedly, she felt incomplete and thought Biff would fill the gap. The trap that Mable fell into was a trap of her own making. After her marriage had grown cold, her hope was for her husband to change. While Biff did need to change, the first order of business for Mable was for her to change. Her theology and practice of theology—the doctrine of God—needed reshaping before she could address the apparent flaws in Biff and their marriage.
Rick launched the Life Over Coffee global training network in 2008 to bring hope and help for you and others by creating resources that spark conversations for transformation. His primary responsibilities are resource creation and leadership development, which he does through speaking, writing, podcasting, and educating.
In 1990 he earned a BA in Theology and, in 1991, a BS in Education. In 1993, he received his ordination into Christian ministry, and in 2000 he graduated with an MA in Counseling from The Master’s University. In 2006 he was recognized as a Fellow of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC).