Don’t Give Up the Ship

6-1 dont give up the ship

On June 1, 1813, American naval commander James Lawrence gave his final order aboard the USS Chesapeake as he lay dying:

Don’t give up the ship.”

Tragically, this is not a grand and glorious moment in US history. This was a moment of devastating loss that could’ve been avoided. Captain James Lawrence disobeyed orders and made a foolhardy attack on a British naval warship.  The captain of the HMS Shannon, Captain Broke, had held command for seven years whereas Lawrence had merely held his captaincy for two weeks and was working with an inexperienced crew. According to historians and military analysts, the USS Chesapeake was hopelessly outmatched and Lawrence made multiple tactical blunders securing her failure. After the defeat of the Chesapeake, the ship’s crew surrendered almost immediately. Lawrence died within days, and many of the officers and crewman were wounded or killed in crushing defeat.  While his words have been memorialized, Lawrence did not die a hero and his crew did indeed “give up the ship.”

My marriage is a testimony to God’s strength and His power to turn something broken into something beautiful. We’ve made foolish, impulsive decisions that have caused each other pain. We’ve jumped into “battle,” trying to do it on our own and failed miserably. We’ve abandoned hope, surrendering to despair. We’ve lived in defeat when we could’ve avoided the heartache if we had listened to God.

Marriage is like a ship, requiring… 

  • work to sail properly,
  • defense against the Enemy,
  • and repair and restoration when damaged. 

You don’t have to charge foolhardy and unprepared into battle, as Commander Lawrence did, to do damage to your marriage. You could simply be surrendering to defeat like the Chesapeake’s officers did. “Don’t give up the ship,” should be our rallying cry in marriage.(*see aside below).

  • Don’t give up on this treasured craft (your spouse) God has fashioned.
  • Don’t give up on this precious vessel (your marriage) God has given you to travel through life together. 

I’ve combatted thoughts of defeat. I’ve struggled to feel secure and confident in my marriage. I have fought and lost a losing battle against depression and anxiety. I’ve felt hopeless and burnt out. These things have undermined my confidence and my mission, and has negatively impacted my marriage.

Satan wants you to believe that

  • you’re not good enough
  • your marriage isn’t worth fighting for
  • you are weak and insignificant
  • you are stuck here in this place and you might as well accept it

Ladies, let me tell you something… this is a lie! 

Jesus came to earth, not as a military conqueror or a eloquent orator or a powerful religious leader, but as a helpless, weak babe. He still offered a crushing blow to the Enemy [Genesis 3:15]. God’s ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9). He, Himself, became broken, for our sake (Isaiah 53:5). God uses broken people, like you and me, all the time to accomplish his purposes.

God doesn’t choose those who are qualified, strong, and powerful. He qualifies, strengthens, and empowers those He chooses.  

God is using my ministry and that’s dangerous to the Devil. God is working through me for His good purposes and that scares Satan.

You and I can ‘fear less‘ because…

  • God’s power is made perfect in weakness (2 Cor 12:9).
  • God sees beauty in the ashes.
  • God’s power is all the greater when you overcome weakness in His strength.

Don’t give up the ship! 

We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned;struck down, but not destroyed.” 2 Corinthians 4:7-9

live and grow

Where in your marriage or your walk with God do you feel defeated? Where are you leaving your marriage wide open to the attacks of the Enemy? Where are you relying on your own strength to ward off the attacks when you should be relying on God? Identify these areas and write them down. Meditate on God’s truth and combat the lies of the Devil (like the ones I mentioned above<). 


Source: Halsted, Tom. (2013, May 19). The Real, Shameful Story Behind ‘Don’t Give Up the Ship.’ The Boston Globe. Retrieved from: 

*As an important aside, this series and/or blog is not intended for those who have been victims of physical, sexual, verbal, and emotional abuse in and/or out of marriage nor is it designed for those who have experienced an affair. Abuse and affairs are never okay or biblical. Please seek professional help.



  1. Angie

    I see in my email that his is part 1 in a 4 part series. I was wondering when the rest will be coming.
    Thank you

    • I apologize, Angie. I unfortunately had a massive computer glitch over the summer and lost much of my BHE content for summer posts/serieses, including the series this post was to be apart of. I was unable to recover the data. I would like to continue the series, but for now, there is an exact follow-up posts publishing date has yet to be determined.

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