Once upon a time a girl dreamed of “the guy”. She just knew they would get married, have beautiful children and would travel the world together. It would be wonderful and amazing. She just knew it would be!
The wedding came, the honeymoon went, and at some point the beautiful dreams turned into just plan ole hard work. Thoughts such as is this really the rest of my life invaded her thinking. She would wake up and go to bed with tears streaming down her face with thoughts racing through her mind “is this all there is”?
This young girl with dreams, was me. I had so many dreams, I had so many plans. Then they stopped dead in there tracks. My plans got rearranged without my permission and I didn’t like it. Not one bit.
My reality was getting pregnant 6 months after getting married, three years later what was suppose to be one baby, would turn out to be two babies…twins. My reality is ending up living in a state that is too cold, an apartment that was too small, and money that goes out quicker than it comes in. My reality was having a husband who works full time, goes to school full time, and does homework in between. This made me a single parent to three kids, three and under. My reality would be learning how to live with a sinner who had an exact opposite personality. The same personality I fell in love with, would drive me bonkers! On top of it he refused to change! How dare he! I felt trapped and there was NO WAY OUT!
What was I to do? Well, I had a few choices. I could leave, throw in the towel and walk away (which honestly was NEVER an option to me). I could become stubborn and be unwilling to change, which would end up leaving me bitter. I could also go before my Abba and ask him to change my heart. I assure you I went kicking and screaming. Because it wasn’t fair that God was asking me to change and doing what appeared to me nothing with Mark. I was also terrified because I was sure I was going to put effort into loving Mark and honoring Mark and I would get nothing in return. Oh, I was sure I would get something, but I was sure it would only be a broken, splintered heart, and I would be left in the dust disappointed. I started reading Love and Respect, which half way through the book I threw it across the room and didn’t pick it up for six months.
I am often like a thunderstorm, I come out of now where in a rage, blow up, and then just as suddenly calm down. So I sobbed my eyes out, I got angry both face to face with Mark and before the Lord, then I calmed down and submitted myself before the Lord. What this really means is I timidly gave God permission to start a spiritual heart transplant. I told him, if I was were he wanted to start, then I was willing. For the glory of the Lord and to save our marriage. God began showing me ways I could better love Mark. He started giving me an appreciation for Mark’s personality. Instead of fighting who God made Mark to be, I began embracing Mark for who he was. I was determined to go into Mark’s world. I began learning what relaxed and calmed Mark down, I began learning what little things I could do around the house to be able to give Mark more time with the kids and I. I began praying for the Lord to begin work in Mark’s heart as he was cleaning my heart out.
You know the hardest part through the whole thing was giving up my pride and giving up my rights. I also had to give up the preconceived notions I had about what I thought Mark and I’s roles were and be willing to rework them for how they fit Mark and I’s life, goals, and dreams. I had to make the decision to lay down my pride.
It does no good to make a box and attempt to stuff Mark into it. It will never work! When I gave God the reigns to Mark, when I laid down what I envisioned, I began visually seeing God transform Mark before my eyes. As I began to help Mark get fed, he was able to give back. He even became sweet and started melting my heart. Sex became something I looked forward to, not one more wifely duty checked off on the list.
It has been worth it to lay down my life, my dreams, my goals to help Mark achieve his hopes and dreams. Because now that he is becoming more relaxed, more fulfilled, he desires in return to help fulfill mine. Something that might soften the blow of being the woman God has chosen to start with, is that God showed me that he has to change my heart first. Because of the fall of man, women have a desire to control their husband. But, when God starts dealing with my heart first, when he starts changing me first, he is beginning to bring the husband/wife team to fulfillment. God has to change our hearts, so that we will be better able to yield to our husbands.
Life did not turn out at all the way I thought it would. Getting pregnant six months after we got married was hard. But, God used Madeline, our beautiful first child to mold us into the responsible, selfless people we have become. God has used our children as a tool for ministry. We have begun to fall in love with were we are in life. God has restored to Mark and I friendships, dear friends we look forward to growing old with. Mark and I have struggled so much with were God has landed us, but God being God has begun to soften our hearts.
If you are struggling with setting your pride aside for the sake of your marriage, I assure you it is so well worth it. It will require being willing, it does require lots of tears, and there will be plenty of times you want to quit. I had the same doubts of whether it was worth it or not. I wasn’t sure heartache was worth it. But, I was desperate and I was willing to try anything! Low and behold, it worked. I encourage you to take steps forward to and begin to seek ways to being the change in your marriage you want to see. I pray God will show you how to be the person to help affirm, relax, encourage, appreciate, and help you give your husband permission to be the man God has made him to be. The hard part is your starving too! Starving for your husbands attention, starving for time away from the kids or your life, starving and craving the peaceful well oiled machine relationships you see in others. Seek out trusted friends to hug you, love on you, and give you the support you are going to need in this journey.
My life is not anything I thought it would look like, but I have come to love my life! I have a new found respect and deeper love for Mark than I ever thought possible. God has turned our struggles into joy. I promise you God is waiting and wanting to give you the same!
Praying you to victory!