Summary: Jacob rolls over in the morning and the woman beside him is not the woman of his dreams. The same thing has happened to many couples. We wake up one day and think we’ve married the wrong person. What are you to do?
Help! I’ve Married the Wrong Person!
Bob Moeller writes: "I never met my grandmother. She died on the dusty, lonely plains when my father was 17 years old. Yet my father credits her with pointing him toward God. A few summers ago, when I attended a large family reunion, I heard some unknown history about my grandmother, now gone for over 50 years. She had been a mail-order bride. My grandfather was homesteading on the prairie where there were very few women. She had answered an advertisement he had placed in the paper….As my grandfather was dying, he asked everyone to leave the room except my two oldest sisters. He was then 89, a widower for nearly 30 years. `Do you know why I never remarried?' he asked in a raspy voice. They shook their heads no. "`Because when your grandmother died, I realized I could never love another woman as much as I loved her.' And then writes, "If my grandfather and grandmother began their marriage through a mail-order arrangement and yet learned to love each other that deeply, who's to say that God can't do something just as extraordinary in your marriage? If, like Jacob and Leah, you started out all wrong, who's to say God can't use your relationship to bless not only your lives but future generations as well?"
Our Scripture today is the story of Jacob, whose name means “the one who takes the rightful place of another.” Jacob was a weasel and a deceiver, having conspired with his mother to trick his own father into giving him the family blessing and inheritance rather than to his older brother, Esau. When Esau found out, he sought to kill Jacob forcing his mother to send Jacob away to her relatives to save his life. When Jacob arrived at the well where his mother’s family waters their flocks and a shepherdess named Rachel was there. It was love at first sight. When he met her, he kissed her and began to weep what appear to be tears of joy. He negotiates with her father Laban for her hand in marriage, agreeing to work for 7 years to wed her. When the wedding day finally came, Laban arranges the party. When it was time for the Jacob and Rachel to consummate the relationship, unbeknownst to him his new father in law gives him Leah who is described as weak-eyed or very unattractive, rather than Rachel who was beautiful. In that culture, a woman would have been heavily veiled so Jacob was none the wiser. They consummated the marriage in the dark of the night and Jacob rolls over in the morning and the woman beside him is not the woman of his dreams.
The same thing has happened to many couples. We wake up one day and think we’ve married the wrong person. Three things contribute to this. First is our differences. Bill Hybels writes, “I dated Lynne (his wife) off and on for five years, but it was not until after the wedding date that I found out the awful truth. Lynne was strange. She was not normal like me.” She turned out to be a near recluse and Bill was an off the charts extrovert. She was oversensitive. She’d watch a sad movie and couldn’t sleep because she was up crying all night. Bill would tell her about a couple who had gotten in financial debt and she couldn’t believe that he wasn’t going to help them. His way was to let them dig themselves out and learn their lesson the hard way. Lynne had to have everything planned even on vacations and Bill loved to live by spur of the moment. He then goes on to tell the story of Pygmalian who found a unique way to solve the differences between he and his potential wife. Out of the finest ivory, he sculpted the woman of his dreams. When done, he bowed and prayed and she came to life and lived happily ever after. That’s what many of us try to do with our spouses. We take a chisel and chip away all of the rough edges, flaws and differences of our spouses and try to make them to be more like us. We each think we’re normal and thus try to change our spouses. If there is one thing I’ve learned in 25 years of marriage it’s this: God has this way of putting people together who are totally different. If you are a spender, I can guarantee you married a saver. One of you is a neat freak and the other is freakishly messy. John Gray’s bestseller says, “Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus.” I’m starting to think we’re living in completely different galaxies. Here’s the moral of the story: no one is wrong here. It’s just a matter of perspective. Just because you’re different and that may bring conflict doesn’t mean that you’ve married the wrong person. It just means that you’re human and the old adage “opposites attract” is true.