Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Marriage - Removing The Plank.

Hello friends, and thank you so much for joining me today. I am so pleased, to tell you that I have joined up with a few other amazing Christian bloggy friends, to bring you a mini series (a post every Tuesday for the month of March) on Marriage

Check out the linky party below to visit each of my friends blog posts, and what they are sharing on marriage. We plan to bring you some some hope and encouragement, and how God has brought love and healing out of the times of suffering our marriages have endured.

This series will be very personal, and even emotional. But its my prayer that God will use our stories to bring hope, and encouragement to others. We all have different stories, not just we who are sharing them, but YOU who are reading this. Though our stories may be different, there are a couple things that are the same... 1. We will all go through hard times and struggles, and 2. God can and WILL bring us through those rough patches, if we trust and rely on Him to do so.

If you missed my previous posts, I encourage you to catch up... Find part one here: "A Marriage Doomed From The Start", part two here: "Marriage in the Midst of Tragedy" and part three here "Marriage On The Verge Of Divorce."

Before I continue with my story, I would like to note: If there is any physical abuse/ harmful addictions in the home - Please do NOT stay quiet. And I dont mean go blab about it on facebook and spill your dirty laundry, I mean go to authorities, or a pastor for help. You may have to separate to be safe. Change can still come and healing too, but staying in danger, staying quiet in physical abuse or allowing someone to live a life of sin and not take action is not ok.

I left off last week, separated from my husband... I thought my marriage was over and I was devastated....

...I cried out to God. I thought there is no way this is the end. So Prayed, I asked God to show me what I could do, what could be done. It was then that I realized that a big part of The Hubs problems, OUR problems was... ME. Yes, you read that right.

I, for reason I felt were valid at the time, was withdrawn, very in-affectionate (I'd push him away), and hardly ever wanted to be physically intimate with him. God revealed to me something I never would have thought on my own... That it was my fault, just as much as it was The Hubs. It wasnt any ONE person's fault. Our marriage was in trouble and we were BOTH to blame.

---- I'd like to add something in here, this Sunday at church the message was on 1 Corinthians 13:1-7 (Widely known as the LOVE chapter of the Bible). What a perfect time to hear this message... It really spoke to me, and a lot of the points mentioned lined up very well with my blog post today. I am mentioning this, because a little story/example was shared that I also want to share with YOU. And it reflects the points I am going to be making in today's post. 

"A Couple is in a boat together. They soon discover there is a hole in the boat and that its sinking. Well one spouse point out in blame to the other 'Hey Your side of the boat is sinking!'."

--Now what good does that do? BOTH people are in a sinking boat and need help.--

See how it does no good to point out each others flaws or cast blame? When a marriage is in trouble, I believe we all tend to want to do this... "Well he did this", "well she said that". Well guess what people? If we dont stop casting blame and pointing fingers, the boat will sink with both of you in it! ----

Continuing on with MY own story... 

So what did I do when I realized I was just as much to blame? I started praying more so that God would change me and MY heart, rather than JUST praying for God to change The Hubs. Yes I still prayed for my husband, but mostly for non specific or non blame related things...

You KNOW what I'm talking about....
 "Dear God, please make my husband realize what a jerk he is. Please help him realize he should do "this" more and "that" less. Amen"

Ok, I'm not the only one who has done that right? Right!?

So yeah... I STOPPED praying like that, and started LIFTING The Hubs UP to God.. God already knew our situation... Telling God all the ways The Hubs was wrong didn't serve any purpose except validating myself. Which was a worldly way of looking at our situation. And a way that would NOT resolve our marriage or conflicts.

My prayers for my husband were just that his heart would be softened to Gods hand and work, and to just be open and receptive to God's word. Doing this allowed me to not constantly focus on all the faults of The Hubs. I DID, however, pray very specifically for my own faults. I also prayed  to be softened and receptive to God's work in me!

 With all this talk about "blame" and "fault" am I saying that either spouse deserves physical, verbal or emotional abuse because of their flaws or mistakes? No, NO, NO! But as I think back about it, I realize that I was not just an innocent victim of those things... Had I been completely perfect (which no one is) I could call myself an innocent victim. But the truth is, I wasn't. 

Again, no one deserves that abuse, but realizing I may have instigated or caused that kind of reaction in my husband was key to resolution of conflict. Had I put all the blame on my husband and refused to think I needed to make a change in myself - only thinking HE needed to change - well we may not still be married - nothing would have been resolved.

And that does not go against what I said (in my previous posts) about God being big enough to fix anything... What I mean is that if we are not WILLING to allow God to work in us - He wont! God gave us free will, He wont force our hand. We will have consequences for our actions (and reactions), like Divorce. And that's not God's fault, its our own.

Realizing there were no real innocent parties in our (at the time) broken marriage opened me up to changes that God needed to make in me. It helped me to become a better person in general and in turn a better wife. I had to realize the work that God was doing in my husband was really not my job....

Matthew 7:3-5 speaks volumes to me of this: “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?  How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?  You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

Wow, what an EYE Opener (pun intended - ha!) How was I to "FIX" my husband, when I needed a lot of work myself! Hello GIANT PLANK IN MY EYE! 

So, how was I to go about removing the "plank" from my eye? How can YOU remove the plank from your eye? Only with God's help was it possible... Ask God to reveal to you from His word, any failures in your own attitudes, actions or spirit. Then cooperate with Him to become all He wants you to be!

Right now you may (or may not) be thinking... Ok, so what about my spouse? Are they getting off easy? Well here is the thing... Even if your spouse does not work to improve the marriage, that does not mean that you dont have to either! If you know what is right to do, and if  you want to please God, you need to follow His will regardless of what another (your spouse especially) does. We must be willing to allow God to work in us, AND, do some hard work ourselves. 

Believe that when you choose to do what you know is right in God's eyes, when you do His will, he will bless you . Even when you must suffer. I can say that with much confidence, because I have been there! There was a time when I felt like I was doing everything I could to save my marriage, when The Hubs was doing everything he could think of to break me and destroy our marriage! (I touched on that a little bit in my last post.) I believed strongly that God would bless me for holding strong to what was right in my time of suffering, and through the conflict.

However as you know there did come a time when I needed to take the kids, leave our home and The Hubs. I was crushed, hurt, felt broken and lost. Still, as I have been talking about here, it was in that time that God opened my eyes to my own faults. He used this time (because I allowed Him to, in fact, I sought after Him) to work in me. To mold my heart to His and make some important changes in myself, my actions and my way of thinking. 

And in the end He did bless me. He fulfilled His promise to me. He worked on me, AND He had been working on The Hubs too. It still took a lot of work but, obviously as you know... Our marriage survived. But I will get to that a little bit later....

Back to playing the blame game, or the innocent victim role... Let me tell you, that only leads to resentment, grudges, and unresolved conflict. But when you succumb to Gods will and plan for your marriage, when you have faith and trust that He can and will restore yourself, your spouse and your marriage, you will be blessed. Maybe it takes just you starting to make a change, being softer, being kinder, being whatever God has revealed you to be or to change, in other words "Removing the Plank" to start a revival in your marriage.

This is not to say you'll now live happily every after. After all, we are humans we will make mistakes, disagree, and have arguments. Life will throw us curve balls and we will have our highs and lows. But in the long run, placing our faith, trust and marriage in God's hands will be the best for everyone - Ourselves, our spouses, and our children too.

So curious minds want to know.... What happened between The Hubs and I? Well after about 2 weeks or so, around 1:30 am, I got a call from The Hubs. My heart raced, I was happy and scared at the same time. I did the only thing I could think to do... I prayed! I prayed for God to give me strength, and also wisdom on what I should say, how to speak and react to the call. During my prayer, the phone stopped ringing. And my heart sank a little bit, but I continued to pray... And the phone rang again, it was The Hubs, and this time I answered.

To make this already long story, a little bit short, I will just say that we talked for hours. Literally until about 8 am. The Hubs wanted me to come back and for us to work things out. I felt God telling me not to just go and give in so quickly, though believe me I wanted to say yes and run home to him... As pathetic and sappy as that sounds. But God was telling me wait. Wait and I will bless you. 

So we sort of had to talk and figure things out. Come to agreements about things. God was still working on me, and yes even working on The Hubs. As I mentioned in one of my previous posts, we had still not been going to church or even attempted finding a church home. We agreed to make that a priority. We also agreed we needed {Christian} marriage counseling, and there were some other things in there. But the main thing is that we got back together.

Its been a long, rough road since then, but here we are 5 years later, our marriage better, and stronger than it has ever been. We found a wonderful church home which we are both actively involved in. We have both changed so much, for the better and grown in our relationship with God. We still have our ups and downs. We have had to have much prayer, and have had to get help from our pastor, and things didn't just get easy for us. But they have gotten easier, as we continue to put our faith and truth in God.

Ok friends, that is all for my series on conflict and revival in marriage. I'd like to note that there is so much more that goes into making a marriage work, and having great marriage. I only touched on a couple things here, because these are some things that I learned in my marriage's time of trial and conflict. And also, because there is only so much you can fit into one blog post. Still, I truly hope and pray this series has served to to help and encourage all who take the time to read it. I know this last post was pretty long, so I appreciate your time here with me and pray that God blesses you and uses my experience (my testimony) to be of help and use to you. ♥

If you missed my previous posts, I encourage you to catch up... Find part one here: "A Marriage Doomed From The Start", part two here: "Marriage in the Midst of Tragedy" and part three here "Marriage On The Verge Of Divorce."

Check out this linky below to read the conclusions of the other girls' posts:

Much Love & Hugs,
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  1. May I suggest you link the different parts at the end of each post. Some who are not familiar with the way blogs work may not know how to find the related posts. I think it's an important series that should be easy to find. =)

    1. Thanks for the suggestion. I do have them listed in the beginning of this post for this who missed the previous posts.. Do you think it would be better if they were at the end too?

    2. OR did you mean the previous posts? Put a link to the next one in those ones? That makes more sense! Yes I will do that! ♥


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