When Marriage Isn’t What You Dreamed

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Have you ever felt the fatigue of putting on a southern smile, hoping that no one would guess all of the brokenness happening deep inside your heart?

Have you ever sat in your car in the church parking lot gathering yourself and your family together, just so no one would know that behind the image of the happy all-American family was a home full of hurt, disillusionment, fighting, and shattered dreams?

When marriage isn't what you dreamed it would be, you can either live in despair, dream a way out, or you can find hope as a hurting wife.

Marriage is rarely what we thought it would be.

We grow up with this fantasy of love and being in love; and even when we know its a fantasy, we still get caught up in it and never dream that our home could ever be shattered by the pain of depression, substance abuse, adultery, pornography, or divorce.

And yet it happens.

It happens to even the very godliest of Christian women.

Over the past couple of years I have watched a friend and a Christian mentor – two women who lived Proverbs 31, not just in action but in spirit, walk through painful divorces.

It wasn’t at all what they wanted. It certainly never crossed their minds – in all their years of marriage – that their life would take this horrible turn. That they would have to live this nightmare.

One thing I’ve learned from their story – and the story of so many of my friends who have either walked through the pain of separation and divorce, or whose marriages are intact…..but still tainted by the pain of hurt, betrayal, and disillusionment – is that you can follow all of the formulas for a happy, Christian home and still end up in a marriage that isn’t what you dreamed it would be.

The Christian life isn’t a formula to follow. It is a life of faith, knowing that even if you do all the right things and something bad happens, we can have faith that God will be glorified in the end – even if we can’t see that possibility right now.

And there are few areas of our life more challenging in this walk of faith than marriage.

I was recently given a book to read, written by my friend and fellow blogger Jen Stults from Being Confident of This and Rebekah Hallberg from Sharing Redemption’s Stories. Right from the start I knew that this book would be not only an amazing resource for wives who are hurting in their marriages, but it would offer hope and tools for them to emotionally and spiritually.

I think the danger many wives face when they are in marriages that are not at all what they dreamed they’d have is they get stuck in a cycle of despair and self-pity; then they begin to fantasize about getting out and getting free from this life of drudgery with the man they vowed to honor and cherish.

Hope for the Hurting Wife gives tools for women in their marriages to help them get past the despair and disillusionment to grab hold of faith that God is working a greater work for His glory.

In this 30-day devotional you will find tools that will help you stay and fight for your marriage.


Borrowing from their own stories of pain and despair in marriage, both Jen and Rebekah openly share about how they were able to move past the pain and disillusionment they faced – past “why me” and “I don’t deserve this, I didn’t sign up for this” to see God’s miracle work in their marriages.

If you are a hurting wife, I encourage you to pick up a copy of this 30-Day devotional Hope for the Hurting Wife, and allow the Lord to reach down and raise you up out of the ashes of disappointment and despair to see His holy hand at work in your life and the life of your husband, and begin to work in your heart a work of faith to believe that He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it!

When marriage isn't what you dreamed it would be, you can either live in despair, dream a way out, or you can find hope as a hurting wife.

I want to join with both Jen and Rebekah and say that if you are in an abusive situation and if your safety or the safety of your children is in question, you need to find safety and shelter away from your abusive partner.

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  1. Well said, friend. I especially appreciate how you pointed out that sometimes we can do everything “right” and still not get the result we so desire. I’ve heard from so many women who are living in this spot right now – trying to be the godly women they know God wants them to be, but not seeing much change in their marriages. That’s when the going gets really tough, and it’s easy to give up!

  2. I’m not married yet but sometimes, the thought of marriage gets me scared. But I’m encouraged because I know now that the Christian Life is a life of faith. I can follow all the right formulas and still miss it but if I trust God, He will lead me through it. Thank you so much for sharing.

    1. Yes – there is no promise that everything will turn out okay. But we do have a promise that God will work all things for our good. That’s what we cling to!

    1. The ads that show up in the posts are different for each person, so what I see isn’t the same thing as you see – so I really appreciate feedback like this so I can take care of the ones that shouldn’t be there. I will contact those responsible and get that one blocked. thank you!

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