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A Wreck On The Highway

"I saaaw a wreck on th’ highway; whiskey and blood all around. But I didn’t hyear nobody pray, dear brother. I didn’t hyear nobody pray." Many decades have passed since, in Poteau, Oklahoma, the old C & W singer saturated my brain with those whining lyrics from the jukebox.

I often use "God’s highway" as a metaphor representing man’s earthly pilgrimage. As you know, many of the "wrecks" Christians experience on this highway don’t involve cars, but marriages. And contrary to the cowboy’s lyrics, there must be enough combined prayers launched by those injured in such wrecks to stock a library. God, tell me why my marriage isn’t working! When it seems like God is a Man of few words, it’s often because He’s already spoken to us through His Love Letter. But, sometimes His revelation to us is like the healing agents in a pill. The truth dawns on us long after we ingested it.

Let’s consider, for instance, Sam and Eloise–a marriage wreck waiting to happen. God says, "Husband, love your wife like Christ loves [His wife] and gave Himself up for her." Sam thinks, Hey, I do that. I love her. I don’t beat her or chase women. And she doesn’t want for a thing. What does it take to please her? All I ask from her is sex and she rations it out to me! If she’d straighten out we’d have a good marriage.

Unbeknownst to Sam, Eloise confides to her friend, "The only time Sam ever notices me is when he wants sex. I’m beginning to feel like a washing machine or a dryer–just another piece of equipment that he uses as needed. His arms don’t mean tenderness or commitment; they mean possession and passion. He’s not interested in me; he just wants to use me. Sometimes I get so frustrated I could scream!"

Sam, you’re naively steering toward a wreck. While Jesus, our role model, "gave Himself up" for His bride, you’re trying to get by on the minimum. You spend your time serving self, not your wife. You expect Eloise to be your "gofer." Oh, I commend you for doing a few things, but you’re not even close to operating like you would by allowing Christ to love your wife through you as God intends (Jn. 15:5).

Eloise’s heart cry is, "If I need to discuss something Sam acts like I’m encroaching on his precious time. He’s too preoccupied with his fishing or golf or watching ESPN to talk to me. He says he has to talk at work and that home is his time to relax. Hey, I need to relax, too, but no, I have to keep the kids quiet so he can hear the television. I’m to be his "gofer." And he says I should phone my friends and handle my problems without bothering him. All I want is for him to pay some attention to me. I love my kids, but I’m starving on a diet of preschooler conversations!"

But, the neighbor man listens to Eloise over the fence. He’s a great conversationalist, and most importantly, he actually seems interested in her. He treats her as someone important, as intelligent, as having something to contribute. She’s beginning to anticipate his regular visits. Sometimes she feels like a star-struck schoolgirl, but she ignores those danger signals and even plans her days to be home when he’s around. She doesn’t seek an affair; she’s just lonely.

Wake up, Sam. You’re drifting across the centerline toward asleep at the wheel and your marriage is drifting across the centerline toward a wreck. Take a "care-package" such as our book He Said; She Said to Eloise to show her that you want to change. You’re setting her up for Satan by not "loving her as Christ loves His bride." Christ through you can keep you in the right lane. He’s told you the secret in Jn. 15:5. "Without Me [living through you], you can do nothing." You must embrace this by faith. Sell out and let Christ live through you. As my friend says, "Faith is acting like God tells the truth." It’s not a feeling; it’s a doing. Today is the day to change. There may not be a tomorrow.

Let’s shift to another potential wreck on the highway. Sarah is ignoring one of God’s "defensive driving" truths for wives:

Wife, let your husband be the authority in the relationship. Her attitude? "You’ve got to be kidding! I watched my mom put up with what my dad called leadership and swore that no man would ever get the upper hand on me. Need a man to make a decision in my home? That’ll be the day! And it is my home, by the way. I’m paying for most of it. I earn double what George makes. I’m twice the person he is. And don’t throw up Paul’s opinions in Ephesians 5:22 to me. He was a typical male chauvinist."

Sarah doesn’t realize that Barb, an attractive divorcee in George’s office has targeted him as her 401k. Barb has a way of making George feel more like the man he longs to be than the boy he feels like when he’s with Sarah. Barb praises him and communicates her overall approval of him. She often seeks his advice on both office and personal matters. This new experience–feeling like a man–has given him a new zest for living. Maybe he was out of God’s will by marrying so young. That’s it! Why, he hardly knew what he was doing. He thinks Barb loves him, too. And, after all, even some preachers are leaving their wives with no repercussions. God wants us to live abundantly!

Sarah, you’re steering your marriage toward a wreck on the highway that has no shoulder for you to cry on! Have you noticed that George rarely approaches you for sex? Your strength, power and control have reduced the flame of his love to a flicker. Now, it’s being fanned back to life by your competitor. You’ve painted a bull’s eye on George for this woman who is wiser than you in such matters. She understands that God created George with the needs to be praised and honored by a woman. You, by your strength, are refusing to let God use you to satisfy these needs in the husband you vowed to love till death. How can George treat you regally and carry you around on a silver platter when you won’t get on the plate?1 Radical defensive driving can avoid this crash. Christ through you two can change your marriage dramatically. Whereas George must trust Christ through him to increase in his husband role, you must trust Him to decrease in power (personal strength) through you. This will create a more husband-friendly environment and reduce George’s temptation to crawl under the fence to Barb’s "greener pasture."

Some states require certain drivers to take defensive driver training. Although God doesn’t require such courses for driving on His highway, He says couples doing it His way will avoid marriage wrecks.


1 Sarah, I suspect you’d deny that you’d want to be on any man’s plate. But your attitude of "God-gave-me-a-will,-talents,-and-courage-and-I’ll-not-let-George-get-in-my-way" is like trying to make your marriage boat go by pushing on the mast. Jesus longs for you to experience a fulfilling, abundant, married life, but you’ll never attain it by serving self. "You will find your life by losing it."

About the Author

Bill founded Lifetime Guarantee Ministries to encourage people to experience the reality of Christ as life. His transparent, humorous, down-to-earth style and sense of humor made him one of the most effective teachers of his time. He communicated with great clarity the full extent of what God accomplished in Christ and what that means for the Christian identity. Although Bill passed away in June 2011, his messages are timeless and will continue to impact generations to come.