gratitude

ARE YOU A DISTRACTED WIFE?

We often hear that going with the flow’s a good idea, and lots of times it is—unless that flow takes us in a bad direction.  I don’t know a wife that consciously says, “Today, I’m going to be distracted from my husband.  Today, I’m going to disconnect on purpose.”

I think stagnation is one of the deadliest precursors to distraction and disconnection.  Marriage isn’t static.  You could even say, it’s kind of like a living organism—it either moves in a positive direction towards growth and life, or it stops moving, stagnating through a kind of status quo into death.  Stagnation is very subtle, it’s almost imperceptible so it requires a vigilant heart.

Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life. – Proverbs 4:23

I think these might be some things we need to guard against.

Help or Hindrance

You’re only seeing faults.  You’ve moved away from the helper and harmonizer that you started out as, and you’ve begun the change into a hindrance.  Focusing on your husband’s faults is like viewing him through a wide angle lense … you’ll just find more faults.  Eventually, they’ll crowd out anything good he was, is, does or could be.  I think God calls us to be an example of harmony.

It’s helpful to focus on your husband’s strengths.  The more space they take up, the less room for weaknesses.

Bad to Worse

Assuming anything less than his best.  When you feel a doubt of good intentions creeping into your mind, you owe it to God, to your husband and to yourself, to cut it off at the pass before you plunge into mind-suck.  Mind-suck is that emotional spiral that’s driven downward by anything your man has done ‘wrong’, that you’ve failed to let go of.  These emotions and thoughts transfer into your eyes, attitudes and words.  Assume his best:  Give doubt the benefit.  This not only keeps unity in tact but is love made active.

Write down your doubt, put it in a box and symbolically leave it with God—after all He already knows what it is and how He’s going to fix it.

A Personal Touch

You’re not reaching out as much.  Whether his love language is touch or not, it’s needed for all of us.  Initiating touch isn’t about making up after a fight, condoning sin (real or imagined), or an admission of guilt. It’s not about who goes first, or anything else.  It’s merely an acknowledgement of humanity.  Some of us need more than others, some of us need less.  Some of us want more but struggle to reach out for it.  God knew that we needed a personal touch and sent us a savior to do it.  Even though Jesus knew what we were like, He came to earth anyway — He touches each of us exactly as we are.

Don’t wait until everything’s perfect between you, or for someone else to go first, adopt the Nike slogan and just do it.

He’s a Guy

… and you’re a girl.  Shocker—I know.  Think of your marriage like it’s a box of crayons.  For ease, (but hopefully not too cliché) let’s say you’ve got all the warm colours and he’s got all the cool colours.  Sometimes you need pink, sometimes you need blue.  And then there are times when purple is necessary and it requires both of you.  Purple doesn’t become purple, because blue emasculates itself to keep pink happy.  The fact that men and women are so different, it’s amazing that we’ve got anything in common!  Instead, bring all your female—and let your man bring his own masculinity.

Don’t just tolerate the gender differences, embrace them!   It was God who put them there in the beginning—let Him make it work.

Unreal Expectations

Comparisons are the kiss-of-death.  When we were first married, my husband hadn’t accumulated the abundant abilities that he now possesses after 30 years of marriage (insert bragging privilege:  he can now troubleshoot and fix just about anything electrical, technical or mechanical … and relational).  Anyway, I was complaining to my mom that we had gotten into this big fight because he wouldn’t just let “Dad” look at our car.  I went on, “It’s frustrating because …”  And she cut me off with a chastisement fit for a toddler, which is how I was acting.  “Robyn-Anne!” I knew I was wrong because she used my middle name.  “Your father has been working on cars, tractors, lawnmowers, furnaces, equipment et al, for years.  He’s been exposed to all this through raising a family and his career.”  She shook her head, “You can’t compare your father’s ending to your husband’s beginning.  That’s an unreal expectation on your husband.”

Keep your expectations a little lower than your gratitude, and you’ll see the real man emerge on God’s time.  Your vision is limited at best, only God sees the finale.

* * *

Be all in.  Understand that you are literally one flesh with your husband.  That means when your husband has trouble … you’ll experience it by association.  When Satan wants to come after you—he’s going to coming through your husband.  Don’t give up doing good just because you’re encountering some rough terrain.  You started this race together—you have no idea what blessings lay just beyond … out of sight.

And let us not lose heart and grow weary and faint in acting nobly and doing right, for in due time and at the appointed season we shall reap, if we do not loosen and relax our courage and faint. – Galatians 6:9

We’ll always have to beware of disconnection; it isn’t something we can conquer and be done with, like an event that’s marked by start and finish with a certificate of accomplishment.  As much as a Certificate of Marriage appears like the achievement of an event, the wedding day—in truth, it’s the date that marks the beginning of the process of staying connected.

Any investment of good you give your marriage will always advance it in the right direction.

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Adversity in Marriage

upwithmarriage_adversity-in-marriage4

You know those memes you see on Facebook, the ones that make you feel kind of old, “If you know what this is click like and share.”  This one was a wringer washing machine, in the catalogue, it was advertised to make laundry easier.  I showed it to my oldest daughter, saying, “I remember helping my Grandmother do laundry with this!  It took about two hours to do one load.”

washers

Two hours doesn’t sound very fast, but compared to the washboard – the wringer washer was a gigantic leap forward for domestic work.  Wash day was just that, a whole day.  It took a whole day’s worth of work and cut it to less than half, by removing the hardest part.

Now we complain about so much laundry.  We (me) have the audacity to actually complain about a task that is 95% automated – are you kidding me?!  Just the other day I let out a tsssk as I walked passed the load(S) waiting to be washed.  And I know for a fact other women feel the same about ‘never-ending’ laundry.

ADVERSITY reveals the true me (and you)

No wonder we can’t handle any real problems in life and relationships with grace for others and dignity for ourselves.

  • “It’s too hard, God would never want me to go through THAT.”
  • “I don’t like this, it doesn’t make me happy.”
  • “Why should I have to do that?”
  • “God is a God of justice.  It’s not fair if I have to experience THIS.”

As we resist with each statement (which sound suspiciously like complaining), we get weaker and less able to actually conquer whatever situation we are in.  The more we focus on just ourselves and the difficulty of the task, the more impossible the circumstance becomes.  We lose sight of the big picture and our place in it.  Forgetting that it was God Who chose us, and what role He placed us in.

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.  For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren (Rom 8:28-29)

The word adversity captures a wide range of circumstances – from a minor inconvenience to a catastrophe. Whatever the size or discomfort of the difficulty, it does the same thing – it pushes us against the barrier of our comfort zones, thins our skin and forces out a response.

ADVERSITY had revealed the complainer in me

Had I really complained about the laundry as I was climbing the stairs?  Yes.  Something so small and benign.  I hadn’t seen that in myself and it caught me off guard.  I don’t think God views any complaining as small or inconsequential.  Complaining used to be a big problem for me – not so much anymore.  But apparently, there was still a sliver there that needed to be exposed and removed before it spread further.  The virus of sin is like that.

How could I conquer evil with good and be strengthened with gratitude, if I couldn’t even see past a few puny piles of laundry to the blessing of fully automated equipment?  Don’t get me wrong, I know dirty clothes aren’t evil – but the complaining part is.

Nor let us try the Lord, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the serpents.  Nor grumble, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the destroyer. (1 Cor 10:9-10)

Complaining is a fruit of wrong focus – it proves to myself that I’m making it all about me when there is so much to be grateful for:

  • the fact that I do have a fully automated washing machine (and dryer), instead of having to use a wringer washer or a washboard, or go to the laundromat.
  • that my husband has bought the best set.
  • speaking of him, he’s healthy and has a fantastic job.
  • the blessing of all my kids and that they are healthy.
  • that we all have an abundance of clothes!

I could go on and on, but you get what I mean.  When I set my focus on the benefits, gratitude will naturally grow instead of self-pity.

ADVERSITY will help or hinder

I think we can all agree:  People have no control over others and no power to change them.  It’s a good thing, for a couple of reasons.

(1) When you accept how little control you have over circumstances, and the people involved in them, your faith grows—you become a different person.  The more you trust God, the more you mature.  Yes, there’s characteristics we don’t care for in people, behaviours and habits that create adversity in our relationships – conflict with our husbands, but, you’ve got to ask yourself:

Do I really want someone else to have the power to change me?

(2) Because that’s the deal.  If I get the power to change my husband – then he gets just as much power to change me.  My answer would be, no – I only want God to have that power, He’s the only one that can see my heart (and Darrell’s) from a complete perspective. (Psalm 139:16)

SOUL-utions:

KNOW:  I say this lots and I’ll say it again:  We’re going to have trials, turmoil and hurt in our marriages, we’ve got to accept it – we’re told, plainly.  We all have our fair share, God hasn’t picked out some for more hardship or troubles than anyone else.  Beloved, do not be amazed and bewildered at the fiery ordeal which is taking place to test your quality, as though something strange (unusual and alien to you and your position) were befalling you. (1 Peter 4:12)

ACCEPT:  Be open to what God shows you about own heart when you’re in trials; not what you see in your husband’s heart. God already knows the both of you, He wants you to see your own.  But the Lord said to Samuel, Look not on his appearance or at the height of his stature, for I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees; for man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.   (1 Sam 16:7)

LET GO:  We hinder ourselves by focusing on the things in our husbands that we want to change.  The most helpful thing we can do is to let go of this perceived power.  A wife affects real change in marriage through influence, not control.  In like manner, you married women, be submissive to your own husbands [subordinate yourselves as being secondary to and dependent on them, and adapt yourselves to them], so that even if any do not obey the Word [of God], they may be won over not by discussion but by the [godly] lives of their wives. (1 Peter 3:1)

 

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