This topic is one that I’ve held close to my heart. Living it out daily, yet unsure of how to put it to paper. So all I can do is pray that I do it justice and here it goes!
Marriage. It’s a beautiful gift. A blessing. You’re given a friend for life. But what do you do when that gift starts forgetting to hang their wet towel on the hook, instead choosing the bed as it’s final resting place daily? Or when they lose the ability to find literally EVERYTHING in the house on their own, instead seeking you for help locating things like socks, belts, lunches, tweezers etc. (Let us have a moment of silence in solidarity!)
But as much fun as it can be to joke around about our men and their cute quirks, I want to be real for a moment about the importance of always respecting our partners & presenting yourselves as their biggest supporter (even when it seems impossible).
It’s easy to laugh about the small things, but I have a feeling you might have some big things on your heart as well. So often I hear women asking ” How do I make my husband step up and lead our family?” “He doesn’t appreciate me enough to help around the house or with the kids.” or “Why won’t he pray with me?” The list goes on and though those concerns are so very valid, I’ve found that each statement is always followed with- how do I change him?
And my dear friends, I have to be honest with you, the answer to those questions…you cannot.
Your partner is not yours to fix. He belongs to God, bought and paid for on the cross. When the enemy plants those seeds of unrest and you feel like your partner needs fixing, motivation, or a wake up call, your first step needs to be to bring it to God. Give it to Him to hold as the weight of trying to change your partner is too much for you to carry sweetheart. God is the only one who can soften hearts, open eyes, & change paths. So keep at it daily. Though change may not happen overnight, your Father hears your prayers, feels your pain, and has a plan for your family greater than you can imagine. You need only seek Him and trust in his promises.
Let me share with you one of the hardest times in my adult life to show how God moved in our lives.
A year ago this month, after 8 years of service my husband was medically retired from the Army. While on active duty he saw and did things many of us can only imagine. Toured castles in Germany, handled high profile military cases as an MP at Fort Bliss, recruited new soldiers at Fort Lewis, and lost not only friends but pieces of himself in Afghanistan. The things he witnessed and the lifestyle that came with such a reality left him so far from God that he truly believed he could never come home.
The transition to the civilian world was a rough one for us. That adrenalin rush he grew to depend on was hard to find behind a desk. Nothing seemed to be fulfilling enough for him. I watched for months as my partner began shutting down. Pulling away from our family, missing get-togethers with others, eating dinner after we had finished ours. It was heartbreaking to watch the person I needed, the man I depended on, fading away. I tried to get him to wake up, to see what was happening, but there was nothing there. No emotion, no feeling, just unreachable emptiness replacing the space where laughter and positivity once lived. After many weeks of struggling, I gave up on my own efforts, got down on my knees and handed all my worries, pain, and fear to God. And I kept coming to him with my concerns, my hopes for our marriage, and prayers for my husband. I set an alarm on my phone, (that I still have to this day) to go off at 10am every day of the week as a reminder to pray for my husband without fail.
As much as I would like to say that God took my prayers and immediately circumcised my husband’s hardened heart, things got worse. In August of 2016 my partner packed up all his clothes, loaded them into our truck, and drove off without so much as a goodbye. I was heartbroken, confused, and secretly a mess. But I woke up each morning, cried all the tears I had in prayer, washed my face and walked out with a smile on. Our boys needed stability and they deserved my best, even if I wasn’t feeling it. So the words “Show Up” became my mantra. I showed up to work. I showed up to church. I showed up to games with my boys, bedtime stories, volunteer opportunities. Not because I wanted to, but because I needed to. And though all I heard from my friends, family members, and co-workers was to file for divorce and walk away, God gave me the words I needed to remember. The words that kept me going. I want to share them with you now…
I could either:
Honor the man I believed he could be, or shame him for the man he is now.
One choice to make, two very different options, but so very clear.
So every day after, I woke up and chose to honor him.
For 5 months this went on, all the while I kept praying for my husband and our marriage. I later found out that my continued support and dedication to our relationship helped him to decide to check in to a VA facility to get help where he was diagnosed with depression and PTSD. During that time apart, God was working on my husband. He let him break down, so he could be built up in Christ. God kept knocking, kept reaching. And the breakthrough came in the form of a single invite to join team Haiti on a missions trip with our church. Though it was overlooked at first, God kept nudging and my husband eventually decided to sign up to get the unknown pull to go off his conscience. And its from a place of sweet victory that I can say, on that very trip he felt God’s presence after many years of silence. He came home renewed, supported by strong brothers in Christ, and ready to pursue and rebuild our marriage.
All that I can share is what I know to be true. God heard all of my prayers. Not a single one of them fell on deaf ears. And while I may not have understood what I did to deserve being abandoned at the time, God carried me through it while changing my husband’s heart to later bring us back together stronger than we have ever been.
So when those quirks pop up, or you feel like you partner needs help in some aspect or another, remember whom he belongs to and give it to God. Chose to honor the man you believe he will be, rather than tear him down for who he is now.
And those choices my friends, could change your whole perspective on your marriage…
You will pray to him, and he will hear you, and you will fulfill your vows.
Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
Better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and nagging wife.
A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.