Wondering what the ONE THING you MUST do to change your marriage is?
I’ll give you TWO. But I need to start today’s blog with a short story. If you are trying to get your husband to understand how his behavior impacts you, know this doesn’t work. Follow along and learn more. (and first, let me give you a hug, because I know you are doing your best… been there!)
And yes, it’s about chickens.
I really DO appreciate the grace as you bear with me as I navigate my new identity as a farmer. (We haven’t farmed much of anything, to be honest, and my 10 chickens and two ducks informed me at a staff meeting last week that the egg production dreams for this year were simply to0 lofty of a stretch goal, so there’s that. I resigned myself to this unfortunate reality and at the end of this post, I’ll share something wild around it if you hang in here with me to the end!)
I really believe He uses everything around us to teach us. Especially nature.
So Monday my husband popped his head back in the house to let me know all of the birds were wandering the property, advertising themselves as the morning breakfast special for the hawks and black-headed vultures…
I couldn’t believe it. How did they get out?
I ran up the hill past the birds, and over to the coop, opened the door, and he and I corralled them into safety. And then I looked at the outside run, discovering what had happened.
The WIND had yeeted the 10×16 wire PCU (Poultry Containment Unit) into the air, tipping it sideways, creating a wide open path of escape.
Here’s some of the fall-out:
(Please note that Roscoe was just trying to help!)
When I entered the coop after righting the run, all of the chickens and ducks were silent.
They were rattled.
I spent a few moments providing comfort, stroking backs, speaking gently, soothing their fear.
When they started to fuss and complain, I validated their feelings, helped them feel loved, and let them know I’d be solving the problem and that they were safe.
Okay maybe that last part is a bit of a stretch, but it does share my heart towards them, and my thoughts around the incident accurately.
It was a crazy windy day, and I realized that the chicken run (PCU) tarp made a very fine KITE. The wind whipped up the hill, battering the side of the run, and I realized that if I didn’t work WITH the wind, I would be working AGAINST it – and it would get launched again, even if I tacked it down.
And as I was repositioning the run so the wind would be able to easily run through it without resistance, it hit me how common it is for us to FIGHT against reality. In this situation, and for the next months of fall and winter, the wind is going to continue to come straight up that hill and batter that run.
I can choose not to like it.
But that won’t change the fact that I’ll have to deal with the reality of it regardless.
How foolish of me to continue to want the wind to blow differently than it does?
And how often do we find ourselves hating the way something or someone else is, refusing to believe the reality of what we are dealing with in our marriage?
I see this daily with women and men, interacting with each other, as if they are the same gender… and contrary to a small segment of our society, men and women ARE different.
Failure to interact with this reality results in frustrated couples who don’t do conflict well.
Are you one of them?
Refuse to acknowledge and work with those differences and you have the all too common way of many wives, complaining to their husband about his behavior, expecting words to cause him to change. Or, the all too common direct blunt statement to solve the problem from a man to his wife, when she really just needed to be listened to for five minutes.
We don’t realize how much time we spend judging each other for being the way God created our spouse to be.
And all that causes division.
Whose calling card is that?
Step ONE: Accept Reality
I have decades of personal experience (and anecdotal evidence from others doing the same) of how letting go of failing attempts to change others and control situations, and resigning to reality, and ACCEPTING God’s the only one actually in control of the situation CHANGES EVERYTHING.
Within our culture rages a war to break down the identity of the family and, frankly, our country. I’ve been alive long enough to remember what things used to be like, and my friends who are even older than I am are even more grieved about it all.
I’m not going to sound politically correct right now, but we can’t change biology. I won’t go into a diatribe on the challenges of the gender ideology, but will say this – if we continue to treat men like they are women, we will be disappointed. Some of us don’t even know we’re doing that.
I didn’t for a long time!
If you are interested in changing your relationship, know this – you simply cannot continue to do the things that do not work with men, expecting to fix it. If you want to change your marriage, we are about to start a 40 day journey to do exactly that, through a study on respect, which is the man’s language.
So the first reality we must accept is men are different than women.
Biology teaches us that men don’t bond through oxytocin, they bond through vasopressin, and to fail to understand that dooms most relationships.
I’m over-simplifying, but men bond through solving problems, overcoming challenges, and providing results – very action oriented! That’s vasopressin. Women bond through verbal connection, being listened to, sharing, making eye contact. That’s oxytocin. Both will bond some through physical touch.
Bottom line: if you are trying to connect with your husband by talking to him about your feelings, or manage his behavior by complaining to him, you are going to be frustrated with the outcome. Wise ACTION will work much better.
Don’t shoot me, I’m just the messenger!
STEP 2: UNDERSTAND RESPECT
If the hair on the back of your neck is bristling, as did mine when I was first exposed to these concepts, know you aren’t alone. Most wives leap to the thought of, “But he doesn’t respect ME, why would I respect him?” and “Shouldn’t respect be earned? He isn’t acting worthy of respect!”
You may or may not be right, but you are judging. And then acting in that judgment.
Normally with contempt.
Which destroys your relationship.
(Gottman’s research proves this… contempt is a harbinger of divorce)
My guess is you are hurt, frustrated with him, and discouraged about your relationship.
And for good reason.
You have done your absolute best, worked hard, read the books, been to the workshops, watched the videos, prayed your heart out, cried out to God, read the Bible…
and yet, here you are, disconnected and feeling alone.
Can I big-sister-style encourage you?
You don’t have to feel like this!
Join me over the next year (yes, year, things didn’t get this messy over night, it takes a while to change!) and let’s overhaul your marriage and bring joy back to you and your family.
There is a perfect beautiful Biblical cocktail of respect, SELF-respect, boundaries, grace, forgiveness, and serious solid identity work that we have seen forever-style change marriages.
And Jesus didn’t come to judge us… there is NO condemnation in Christ Jesus. SO STOP doing the things that clearly don’t and won’t work!
Consider yourself invited! We’ll be doing it right here on the blog, starting in November.
You can also get a head start by grabbing a free pdf called, Find Your Voice: 5 Tools to STOP Walking on Eggshells, HERE.
Also… just so you know, I’m living my best life right now – it’s been shocking how fast God can move when we 1) Accept Reality, and 2) Understand Respect!
And back to the chickens… it could be a “coincidence” …
The day after I accepted the poultry staff’s apparent decision to wait until spring to begin egg production… (I assume because they are short 3 hours of daylight in the fall/winter, it’s colder than what is typical for egg production, AND because they are molting… all important egg laying things!)
We went from this:
(see the egg?!)
and as a result, THIS:
Even Roscoe was stoked!
SO, I believe God used all these small things to confirm my decision to align with the reality of the wind.
And knowing Him, He probably had a ton of other reasons to bless me with this small event, reasons I won’t ever know. He’s always about His business!
He has confirmed for me multiple decisions to align myself with His creation of MEN – and walking in wisdom means accepting that, understanding respect, and moving forward with action.
I hope you’ll join me on this journey!
What about YOU? What thoughts are you having around this today?
I look forward to chatting!
Love to you,
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