Revealing The Cracks: A Story Of A Marriage In Crisis

It’s hard to believe that Brian and I have been married for almost 29 years. Our children are grown, we are sensing the “empty nest” season of life approaching, and we are nervously (and excitedly) anticipating what that season is going to look like for us.

When we take the time to reflect back over 29 years of marriage, it is encouraging to see how far God has brought us. I am so thankful that we serve a gracious God who gently opens our eyes to the areas in our lives where we are in error and where we need to grow. He not only exposes those areas but He changes our hearts, teaches the right way to live, and heals the damage that has been done because of negligence or faulty thinking.

Two years after we were married, we had our first child. Three years later, we had our second. We became so consumed with the daily life of working, supporting a family,  raising and caring for our children, that we neglected to carve out much time for the two of us to be alone. We were walking through life side by side, but we were rarely taking the time to turn towards each other and look into each others eyes. We thought we were okay but we weren’t, and eventually it began to show.

Thankfully when the cracks were revealed and it was evident that we were beginning to fall apart, God provided a godly couple who began to help us pick up the pieces. They also took the time to help us reflect back over the years and identify what it was that caused the cracks to begin in the first place. We were able to see where we had neglected some very important areas in our relationship and began the rebuilding and strengthening process.

Even though I do not buy into all that our culture promotes as “romance“, I do believe that romance and a deep love is vital in a marriage relationship. A marriage where two people merely co-exist because they have to is not what God intended. But a healthy relationship doesn’t just happen. It takes work. It takes commitment. Like any other relationship, the marriage relationship needs to be nurtured.

After members of the body of Christ helped us to get back on our feet, we were able to move forward. With their encouragement and continued prayer that God would knit our hearts together, God began to do a work in our marriage. He is continuing that work today and we will have to depend on Him to do that work until we die.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to grow old and stale in ANY area of my life, and especially in my marriage. Soon my kids will be out on their own. God willing, the one person I will have is my husband. I am not content to coast into that season of life and then find myself in the middle of the next season living with a man I don’t know very well, and with whom love has not been nurtured. I am so very thankful that God showed us the cracks in our marriage before it was too late.

Working hard to keep love alive in a marriage does have it’s benefits for me. I am much happier with the way things are now. But you know what? It’s not all about me…

3 Reasons To Nurture Your Marriage Relationship

  • God wants to use your marriage to point others to Himself. It is one of the ways others can see God.
  • When the marriage relationship is nurtured God is glorified.  The enemy would love to see cracks form so that he can get in there and create division and steal glory from God.
  • God has set the standard for marriage. It is meant to be a life long covenant in the same way that He is committed to His people. When we strive to nurture our marriage relationship and glorify Him in that way, it is a picture of God’s relationship to us.

Join me in the fight to glorify God by nurturing the relationship with your spouse. And remember, it’s now about you! It’s about God, pointing others to Him, and bringing Him the glory He deserves.

I Am Ungrateful

He walks through the front door and finds me slumped on the couch, watching a movie.  Closing the door behind him, he asks, “Is there anything to eat?”  “I don’t know…” I mumble… “We already ate.” I continue watching my movie. He is left to fend for himself.

He walks into the kitchen and grabs a few pretzels.

I am irritated. Frustrated.  Tired. He’s been working so many hours and I have been alone.  “How’d things go?” I ask as he sits on the couch next to me. The movie is still going. It is evident that I am only halfway interested in his day.

He doesn’t answer.

He has been so busy lately with his job, life,  and people.   And even though he can always work on saying “No!” more than he does, most of the time he is just doing what he has been called to do.  He is working hard. Providing for his family.

I should get up. I should make him something to eat. I should turn off the movie and listen as he tells me about his day. I should be more encouraging.

I am ungrateful.

Genesis 3 tells me that because man sinned, his judgement would be that he would have to  toil and have great hardships in making a livelihood. The same word which describes the pain of women in childbirth is used to describe man’s pain in laboring for a living. The life of man would be one of hard work caused by “thorns and thistles” indicating that even the plants of earth were adversely effected by man’s sin.

The next day in church the pastor reminds us that we have a choice.  A choice to submit to our emotions or to submit to God.  We should be praying. Rejoicing. The Lord is at hand…

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice….And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand…” (Let your gracious humility be on display for everyone!)

I slowly reach over and grab my husband’s hand.  I glance at him and conviction’s arrow pierces my heart.  This handsome, hardworking man came home to find a tired, ungrateful wife sitting on the couch.

How sad! (OUCHCan we have a “do-over”?)

The Lord is at hand…(The Lord could come at any time…Christ is near you and He indwells you.)

I  confess my sin to God. I confess my sin to my husband. I tell him I’m sorry I was slumped on the couch and he had to eat pretzels when he was hungry. I’m sorry I didn’t turn off the movie and that I wasn’t interested in his day.

I’m sorry I was ungrateful. I’m sorry that man sinned…and he has to work so hard!

I purpose to pray and rejoice and remember…The Lord is at hand!

This Is What 28 Years Of Marriage Looks Like!

Good bye. Have a good day.” He whispers. I roll over and curl up, pulling the soft quilt up right under my chin. “Be careful. I need you!” I say. He kisses my forehead. “I need you too!” He says. And he’s gone. It’s the same every day. He is my constant. He is my best friend. Loyal. Devoted. Hardworking. He has never wavered in his love for me. Ever

God knew what He was doing when He put us together over 27 years ago.  Oh, my 24 year old self thought I loved him. And I did in my own way. I knew he was a good man, but I had no idea what was ahead and how much I would need him. I had no idea how much he would teach me by his quiet example.  His patience. His steady, consistent love and commitment…to me and to God.

He has won me over—again and again and again. His stability has tamed my passionate intensity, and has brought balance to my life. His self discipline has helped to calm my out of control spontaneity. He has taught me how to respond to life’s circumstances instead of reacting to life’s circumstances. He has led me in every way…as a parent, in our life’s calling, in our relationships.  He has led. And yet, he has freed me to be me. He laughs when I laugh. He smiles when I wink at him from across the room. And he loves when I push aside his books, sit on his lap, and wrap my arms around his neck.  We help each other. We need each other.

I see my flaws. The wrinkles. The once youthful body that is now aging.  He says, “I find maturity in a woman very attractive!”  

I see my short comings.  That I  hang on too long and get too involved… He says, “I love your heart for people.  It makes me love you more!” 

I feel like I am not growing. I get discouraged by my failure. He says, “I love your heart for God. I’m so thankful for you!”

He does laundry. Cleans dishes. Cleans toilets. Makes our bed. Brings me coffee. And still likes to hold my hand.

He is the man that God gave me. And the more I see, the more I realize how very blessed I am.

And how much I need him!

“I will sing to the Lord, because He has dealt bountifully with me!”  Psalm 13:6

When You Want Your Husband to Lead – Look For It!

Before I was married, the conversations I had with my single friends often revolved around the topic of what kind of guy we wanted to marry. Inevitably, at the top of the list of qualities we were looking for was the most important quality:He had to be a godly leader!

We were looking for our godly leader to come sweep us off our feet and lead us through life. We wouldn’t settle for anything less. And of course, we were ready to be led.

Or so we thought.

Oh, we meant well. It all sounded good. But the truth of the matter is that none of us really had a clue what biblical leadership really meant and none of us really wanted to be led. We thought we did, but if we had taken a closer look at the scriptures we would have seen the sobering reality that lies within every female heart : Our desire is to rule over men.

“…you will desire to control your husband, but he will rule over you.” Gen. 3:16 NLT

“…your desire shall be against your husband, and he shall rule over you.” Gen. 3:16 ESV

One by one my friends and I got married. We went off into the sunset with our men. It didn’t take long for us to see that we hadn’t married the leaders we had dreamed of. They weren’t doing it right. They weren’t doing it right at all. So, we decided it was our job to instruct them and we began to point out the ways in which they needed to grow in their leadership abilities. And if they tried to make any major decisions, we questioned them because they really didn’t measure up to what we had decided was a “godly leader”.

I remember clearly the day that my husband and I sat in our pastor’s office. We had been married for less than a year and my husband was failing miserably as a leader… at least in my estimation he was. Discouraged and defeated, my husband willingly agreed to go with me to talk with our pastor about the problem. After we (I) stated our case, my pastor paused for a few seconds, looked at both of us, then directed his full attention to me and said very kindly yet sternly, “Gina, do you realize that there is more than one style of leadership? Brian has a particular personality and will lead you in his own way. He is growing in his leadership abilities and you need to allow him to do that.”

I was completely humbled and ashamed at how I had been treating my precious husband. I had been so busy holding him to an ideal of what I thought leadership should look like, that I had missed all that my husband was already doing and what a kind, gentle, grace filled leader he had already been growing in to!

We have been married for 28 years now and I have seen this scenario with young dating and married couples more times than I can count. I often feel sorry for the men I have seen who are carrying the burden that their girlfriends or wives unknowingly heap on their shoulders in the way I did my own husband all those years ago. I often remind my son that if he dates a girl who is constantly reminding him to “be a leader” and then proceeds to tell him how it should be done, she is never pleased by his efforts, or doesn’t give him room to be learning, then he needs to be aware that there is a good chance that he is dating a “nag in training!”

6 Things to Remember:

  1. The man you marry will never be a perfect leader and you need to give him room for that.
  2. The man you marry will be in a process of growth and learning until he dies (like you are!).
  3. The man you marry has a unique, God given personality and temperament, and you need to give him room to be who God made him to be and allow leadership to show itself in the way he is meant to lead.
  4. You need to be sure that you understand what true biblical leadership is, and work hard to not impose your interpretation of what we think it should look like.
  5. The best thing you can do for the man you marry is pray for him, asking God to help him to grow in his understanding of what biblical leadership is and how he is to live that out.
  6. Pray that God would help you see any  effort that your husband makes to be a leader, and then be sure to tell him how much you appreciate it!

APPLICATION:

As I wrote this post, my grown son and his girlfriend walked through the living room. Bible in hand, my son was getting ready to spend time leading her in some Bible reading. He is learning to be a leader. He is not perfect and never will be, but he knows his calling and is making efforts. He has already begun his journey of learning his calling to lead. He has joined my husband in one of the hardest callings on this earth. My goal is to encourage him in his efforts as much as I can. He’s had a great example in his father.

I am so thankful for the lessons God has been teaching me over 28 years of marriage. I pray that God will enable my son to learn well his calling in the same way he continues to enable my husband.