Do you know what happens when you stretch out your muscles and do a little exercise?

Well, when you do an activity that repetitively stretches one muscle, that muscle experiences cell damage, along with a release of various metabolites into the tissue surrounding the cells, resulting in an inflammatory-repair response. Real language — swelling and soreness a day or two later.  Pain!

But the net result is: 1) the ability to do more work, 2) an increase in endurance, 3) strength and power.

So, be truthful – are you feeling the burn of it? I’m talking about the pain of stretching yourself in your marriage – the soreness associated with the vulnerability of stretching out to your husband in emotional intimacy, not sure what the response will be? It’s not easy to be kind when someone responds with ambivalence, indifference, or even worse – suspicion. Ouch! Burn! Just because it hurts a little, is no reason to give up.

While it is true that most intelligent life forms try to avoid pain, to recognize the value of temporary and purposeful pain is a sign of enhanced intelligence. How smart are you? You might say, “Smart enough not to put up with this any longer!” But, don’t stop now! Don’t give up! Only in perseverance and persistence will the pain be replaced with pleasure! If you give up too soon, you will never know that joy of victory.

You know what it feels like to fail – but, don’t you wonder what it feels like to prevail? You can do it, with God’s help. If you ask for bread, he will not give you a stone (Matthew 7:9-11). If you ask for wisdom (from a position that has no exit-strategy), he will not deny you (James 1:5).  He will help bear the burden of this temporary pain if you ask. . . (Matthew 6).

The pain of hitting yourself repeatedly with a hammer is insanity. The pain of stretching yourself a little in your marriage in order to build up strength, power and endurance is wise. Trust me. There is a joy that awaits after the hard work is completed, after you have been conditioned by the effort of the exercise, after you have benefited from the coordination and endurance, after you have run the race and completed the course (Hebrews 12:1, I Corinthians 9:24-27).

The thrill of victory is worth any pain. God wants to perfect you – even through the pain.

“I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:10-14.

Don’t avoid the pain of perfection! Status quo is easy. Average is effortless. Advancement — success is epic! Work it, girl! You can do it!


Creative Commons License
Won Without Words by Shari Popejoy is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at