If your spouse wouldn't talk to you for a day or two, you'd probably find it difficult.
But what if your spouse refused to speak for three years?
That was the situation June Sims faced after 34 years of marriage to her husband, Lamar. As you can read in a fascinating article by Mary Larmoyeux, Lamar turned his back on God and eventually wanted a divorce. June refused, and Lamar stopped talking to her. For the next three years they continued living in the same house, but they communicated only through notes left on the refrigerator.
I'm not sure how many people could stand strong under this type of pressure. But June took the road of radical obedience, of following what she was convinced God wanted her to do. She decided to remain committed to Lamar, cling to God in her time of trial, and believe that God would somehow use her behavior to reach Lamar. She lived out the words of 1 Peter 3:1-2, which tell us, "In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior."
Quoting from the article:
June continued to wash Lamar’s clothes, cut the yard, and serve him in other ways to prevent herself from becoming bitter. Her parents and children (who were now adults) begged her to divorce Lamar. They feared she was in danger and envisioned her living in misery.
"They thought I was just being foolish." June says. "They'd say things like, 'God doesn't want you to suffer like this,' or 'God doesn't work that way,' or 'God gives you common sense.'" Although June realized her loved ones meant well, their comments put a lot of pressure on her. She knew she had to please God and believed He wanted her to remain in the marriage.
After the three years of silence, God honored June for her faith, and her relationship with Lamar was restored. They enjoyed several more years together before he died in 2007. Through the years, June's faith has astonished and inspired many others, including her own children. Her daughter, Wanda, credited her mother's example for keeping her own marriage from divorce. "Because my Mama could go through what she did with Daddy," she says, "[I knew] the Lord would also give me the strength to be able to make it through with my husband."
Many readers were similarly moved. "God’s timing is perfect," one wrote. "This gives me hope in that as a wife, I need to keep my focus on Christ, be patient, loving and faithful to my husband through Jesus. My husband is an alcoholic for several years now and is still struggling to accept he is one. It's torn the family apart, but I know God can restore what the locusts have eaten."
There were also a couple of people who questioned June's response. They felt that she was facing "emotional abuse," and should have stood up for herself more.
But in the end, it seems to come down to this: Doesn't God call us to follow Him, even when it may seem foolish to many in the world? June chose to obey her Lord and Savior.