Burdened this morning with His Truth, brokenhearted for His hurting people, I do the only thing I can do this early in the morning, and that’s write.
A pattern exists in marriages today, even Christian marriages, and it destroys. It shows up in the midst of the tangling of our identities in the people we live with, work for, or are in relationship with, breeds fear, contempt, and destruction. And I’ve seen the breaking of this pattern overhaul relationships. The continuation of it often leads to divorce.
Here’s the pattern:
Both spouses are hurting.
One decides to try, even though he or she is wounded and scared himself or herself, and puts a small amount of effort into the relationship by doing something brave, maybe giving a small gift, or saying something nice, or asking the other spouse out to dinner/movie/date.
This effort is small, maybe even half-hearted, because it is a RISK, and this spouse deeply fears being rejected…again…
Because this effort is so small, and because the other spouse is also wounded and afraid, it is mis-interpreted in a negative way. Instead of choosing to obey God in this moment…Philippians 4:8-9 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me–put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
So instead of seeing things the way God sees them, they disobey God and are judgmental. Instead of allowing their spouse to grow, providing him or her with confidence and encouragement by warmly receiving this effort, they expect perfect, and are sinning without even being aware of it…Luke 6:
41-42Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 42How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
Then, they often verbally criticize in the midst of that judgment, injuring the other spouse yet again.
Wounded, the spouse who tried is demotivated and injured. When/if the other spouse decides to try, they respond in the same way, and the cycle continues.
This cycle continues into their relationships with their children, too, for they are modeling that anything less than perfection is unacceptable. They are modeling that effort isn’t to be warmly received; encouragement is to be withheld, uplifting words restrained unless perfection is present.
And don’t tell me I don’t understand your circumstances. You would be shocked to learn how far my husband and I have come over the last two decades. You would be shocked to learn how I’ve hurt him, and vice versa. Trust me, I’ve been there.
I don’t want to lead my children astray – God is very specific about the consequences of that – and I don’t want to lead others watching my marriage (which is supposed to represent Christ and the church) astray, either. I pray today that we ALL heed discipline, that we ALL choose to obey God’s Word, showing grace to others as they struggle through figuring out their relationships, without being prideful, thinking our spouse is the only one who needs to change (and change BIG QUICKLY because anything less is unacceptable).
We have a saying internally at Greater Impact – “Anything worth doing well is worth doing poorly until it’s done with excellence.”
Dare you today to extend grace to the people who should receive the most grace – those closest to you. Dare you to be encouraging instead of waiting for perfection and being judgmental.
Double dog dare you to memorize the Philippians and Luke verses, praying that God make them part of the fabric of who you are as a spouse, a mother, father, sister, brother, and friend.
Triple dog dare you to show up at Daughters of Sarah® information meetings this Sunday at Faith Church in Milford, Ohio – 9:15am-10:30am in the Multi-Purpose Room. There should be time for you to attend your own church’s service (or ours, if you attend Faith) either before or after. We’d love to help you put a stop to the relationship destroying cycles in your marriage! This class is for women, whether married 40 minutes or 40 years. Find new LIFE in your relationship with God, rediscover your PEACE and get your JOY back – and learn how to be married and not wrap your identity up in the behavior of the man you live with…but rather, live your life for the Audience of One. There’s freedom there. I’ve found it and want to share that with you.
Stop being alone in your marriage and join us. J
Glad you are on the journey!