Coming down off a Valentine’s high?
Or was your day not all hearts and roses?
Even in the best of marriages, our expectations can fall far short! Whether it is diaper disasters, exhaustion from shuffling kids all over town, schedules that don’t seem to jive with our spouse’s, family drama, or even some of the heavier burdens of financial stress, medical issues, and the way our sin messes with our marriage – our God can handle it all!
I’m excited to have Holly back with us today to share Part 2 of a special marriage message. If you missed yesterday’s post, you can “meet” Holly and read Part 1 HERE. Now back to the story (I’m going to backtrack just a tad)…
What do you do when you look at the partner you have chosen for your forever and you don’t know if you can even make it to tomorrow? It’s binding, blinding and suffocating. Sometimes it feels as if there is no way to climb out of a hole that deep.
You know how we’re doing it? Very slowly, on our knees. We decided one afternoon that our family was worth fighting for. Our kids deserved so much more than what a divorce would give them. So instead of packing a bag, we picked up a phone and asked for help and then got back on our knees and got to work. The work is hard and sometimes quiet. I am selfish and don’t like change. When I sat and listened, the still voice of Jesus whispered to me that if I started to love my husband the way He did and listened to what He had to say in His word, I would be free from all the pain and the disillusionment would be lifted off my veiled eyes. I needed that. So, I started a transformation from the inside out. A painful, introspective transformation, where I had to admit what my faults were and what I had been contributing to the breakdown of the relationship to my children’s father. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like looking at my faults. Even worse, I don’t like thinking that my stubbornness, selfishness or lack of empathy would point some of the blame in my direction. What? It’s my fault too? Ugh.
I don’t know about you but it’s hard for me to show my husband love when I really just want to ignore him or talk him to death, telling him how he can show ME love. I have to set him straight right? Isn’t it my job to tell him what he is doing wrong and how he can fix it? Well…no. I had to admit it to myself. Pointing out his faults hasn’t worked, not in 17 years and I can’t imagine that will ever change. Isn’t that the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result? I was going insane and I needed to try something different.
I really had to step back and figure out what I could change about my marriage. Since it was my fault too (I guess…) what could I do differently to stop the feelings of suffocation and pain? It goes against my nature to do that, so it was hard, even to just think about it. What did I need to change? The way I react to the actions of my husband. That was it. I realized, after introspective chatter and discovery (and prayer), that in many situations I was over reacting because of past history or something that I couldn’t let go of. I discovered I’m really good at holding onto stuff that needs to be let go. I’m not so good at recognizing that it needs to go. I wear circumstances like badges of honor and use them to my advantage. How awful. How selfish. That’s no good. Enter change, stage right.
It’s really true what they say about not being able to change other people. I can only change myself. I do not want to act selfishly. I do not want to put the blame on others where it doesn’t belong. I do not want to hold on to the past so it smothers my present. Those are the things I am working to change. I am a work in progress. So is my marriage.
My husband and I are not out of the valley yet, but the difference now is that we are holding hands, helping each other to find the best foot holds to climb up and out. We take small steps every day. Sometimes they are backwards, but mostly forward. We talk. Communication is key. We are still not very nice sometimes. The change is that we are listening differently. Our intent is to offer help to each other and to understand, not just to get our own point across or to be “right.” If you are always “right,” if you always “win” the argument, then your spouse always looses and who wants to be married to a loser? We remember to look up. If your focus is on the waves threatening to drown you, they will. Change your focus to what can save you and you will be saved. We pray. And pray some more. It helps us work from the inside out. We try and picture ourselves in 30 years. What do we want to see? Children and grandchildren sitting by our feet, with the one we chose for our forever sitting close beside, wrinkled fingers touching. Holding hands with the one who understands me best of all and has stuck by me anyway. That thought of that future gives me hope. One more foothold that helps me hold on in the hard moments.
If you are in a hard or troublesome place in your marriage, or with your kids, or even a friend, can I humbly suggest listening to that still quiet voice, opening your ears and your heart to the possibilities of what you may need to do differently? Sometimes it may be about changing the way you talk or changing your focus. Sometimes it’s all about getting on your knees. Maybe it’s about changing your thoughts from the present darkness around you to the hope that simmers in the future. Sometimes that can be the light that leads the way. Trust me, the climb is worth it.
Reading Holly’s words today makes me think about someone else who thought the climb was worth it. This Someone climbed the hill to Calvary and is THE light that leads the way. Because He forged the path ahead of us straight to the Father, we don’t ever have to do it alone!
Thank you, Holly, for your humility and vulnerability! In sharing your pain, I pray that you will bring healing and hope to many! I’m excited about how God will continue to use Holly through her new blog, It’s a Matter of Moments. If you haven’t done so already, stop by Holly’s blog HERE and let her know how her message has impacted you! Oh, and be sure to tell her Molly says, “Hello!”
Have a great LONG weekend!