My husband and I have just come through a difficult time in our marriage. Without getting into the details I want to share what I have learned through this recent storm. Even after twenty three years of marriage it is obvious I have much to learn about being the wife God wants me to be.
1. I used to think marriages struggled when big, catastrophic things happened. I now think its little things that get on our nerves and build up over the years that sometimes leads to bigger, catastrophic consequences.
2. About those little things, I am vigilant about carefully deciding what battles to pick with my kids. Do I address that eye roll? When should I mention that poor history grade? I am learning I need to be as intentional about what hill to die on with my husband rather than sarcastically verbalizing every thought, criticism and correction.
3. On that note, God is showing me I still speak to, show affection and care for my children better, nicer and more lovingly than I do Chris. That is a problem that needs to be fixed by me, prayerfully and with intentional perseverance, ASAP.
4. My husband and I are VERY different and I generally view those differences as deficiencies. God has needed to remind me once again that my way isn’t necessarily the right way, it’s just my way. My way to parent, clean and drive seems superior, but with sad humility I am learning they may not be.
5. There are things both Chris and I do imperfectly, but God is teaching me I can’t do anything about what Chris does wrong, except pray (not pray God changes Chris, but pray for him (i.e. Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie Omartian)).
6. Conversely and unfortunately, there are many things I can do about the things I do wrong. Although I do not want to admit, think, pray about or let the Holy Spirit change those things in me (I’m trying my best and completely exhausted the way it is), I am the only one I have control over. God is gently showing me I have enough on my plate fixing me to even begin “fixing” Chris (and that’s God’s job anyway).
7. When I “look inward” (allowing God to change things in me), God gives me grace. As I try to focus on where I need to change, God has been gradually replacing my usual critical spirit (and mouth) with more gratitude. It is a gift when God brings to mind something I should be thankful for in Chris when I am about to correct or complain.
“Dear Lord, thank you for teaching me through this struggle that I have a giant two by four in my eye that will probably take me a lifetime to extract (Matt. 7:5). Thank you for your patience with me and thank you for Chris and our marriage. Even thought it is not easy, as we look more like you, our marriage is stronger, richer and most importantly more honoring to You. In Your Name, Amen.”