On Making a Marriage Good

Today is our 27th anniversary. We have almost twice as many good years as bad ones! So to those of you struggling in your marriage: It can get better–even good. It depends on these two things: you have to be willing to look at yourself honestly and be willing to change. Plus, you have to be willing to see what isn’t yours and not take all the blame, just your part.

Or said another way, you both have to want to make things better– a win-win for both of you. If you are connected to someone who doesn’t want to make things better, or won’t look at him/herself, set a certain amount of time to step back and pray that they will  see the light and themselves. If it doesn’t happen, get out. You can’t change someone else, only God can. And He has to have permission. If God can’t get permission to work, then only stay as long as you clearly hear Him telling you to. If He can’t change your mate, you aren’t going to!

Do not stay in a toxic environment, it will make you toxic unless you live in close relationship to God.

Having said that, when I told God I wanted to leave a few years after we were married, He told me, “Stay put. You’ve got things to learn.” I was obedient. And now I’m glad. I’m glad for the stability it gave my kids, and for what God did in me and in our relationship. I learned to depend on God, and to look to him to get my needs met. A year later my husband decided to leave and God took him in hand and completely changed our relationship. I’ve written that story here before.

Before that it seemed like an impossible situation, causing more stress than I could handle. But I was contributing. I was very defensive, and very good at blaming, and very good at hiding from seeing it. (And I thought I had learned how to step back and let him be him and do his own thing and experience his own consequences before I married him!)

What I didn’t know, even though he regularly told me, was that I didn’t know how to love. I have made some progress, but truly, I feel like I’m just learning to see myself now, over 20 years later! When what you feel inside is different than how you act outside, you often miss it. And it takes the grace of God to see that.

It takes being loved to see that you have had no idea how to love. And nobody can love you like God. He is so gentle and so kind  and so funny it is amazing. He will never shame you, never leave you. He is always there, always listens, always cares, but He is honest. When He confronts, it heals, and even though it hurts like you’ve never experienced, it’s a good hurt that brings change, and doesn’t last long. He’s completely for you, completely trustworthy, completely good. He’s wild about you, and He’s totally worth the risk of whatever you think you might lose. Nothing compares to being loved by Him (and there is three of Them who love you like that for goodness sake!)

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