In marriage, we work as a team.
If you missed the first part of this article, read it here.
Many of the women I know who are my age make a CONSCIOUS choice not to husband bash. But this doesn’t mean we don’t have interpersonal struggles. If I have realized anything in these almost 32 years of marriage and these 40 years walking with Jesus, it is this:
The bulk of my issues with my husband start with me!
OUCH!!! That is never easy to admit, but it doesn’t make it any less true if I refuse to say it, so I’ll say it.
[clickToTweet tweet=”Nothing in a marriage is ever one-sided. I can only change ME: that is where I start & work.” quote=”Now, it is important to remember that nothing in a marriage is ever completely one sided. But all I can ever change is ME, so that is always where I start and what I work on.”]
The heart of it all is grace. I desire SO MUCH for others to view me with eyes of grace, to give me some slack in the areas where I’m weak and not to judge me harshly when I blow it. I want others to understand that the 7th hot flash in the past 10 minutes or the 4th night in a row getting up for 4 hours in the middle of the night is making me CRANKY and I don’t mean it when I snap at them. I want them to extend that grace of God to me in our relationship; to love me even when I’m hormonally shot.
But this is the very place where I blow it…I forget to give my husband (or my children, or my church family or whoever) that same grace!
Sure, I want it for myself and I’m HOPING that it will be there from others, but it takes a certain amount of humility to extend it to others. And sometimes I’m just a bit too impatient these days to let go of my emotional rollercoaster and step into grace.
I forget that if I’m struggling, chances are pretty good that others are too. We NEED one another’s love and compassion and grace. But we forget that, like the old song, we must remember to “let it begin with me”.
Now, I just wanted to mention that Kevin’s and my marriage is actually at a very strong place. But, just like everyone else, we have gone through our rough patches, and many of those rough patches were in the area of communication. There have been times when discussing certain topics did NOT go well. And, of course, it ALWAYS came from those times when we were walking in the flesh and wanting to be RIGHT rather than drawing strength and intimacy from one another.
We knew we couldn’t stay in that place.
We’d stop a bad discussion and plan a time in a week or so to try again and mark it on the calendar (literally, we’d mark it on the calendar so we didn’t let it slide, but would make sure we learned to do it correctly). The next time we visited this topic it would go better. Not always great, but better. As we continued to work through these things, as well as on our own walks with the Lord, we’ve come a long way. We still, however, have a long way to go.
I think a major source of strength for us was remembering that we were ON THE SAME SIDE!
We were actually working for one another and not against one another; that we were partners and sometimes we were all each other had. This camaraderie has done much to help us work through our blocks and barriers as we’ve struggled (separately) with feelings of failure and loss entering our latter years. And our need to remind one another that this is all a part of God’s work in our lives and our marriage. It’s part of His transforming work in our lives.
What areas of communication are YOU needing to grow in your marriage?
Loving this series, Kate! It is great advice in a thoughtful and humble presentation. God Bless!
I like your practice of scheduling a time to revisit a difficult discussion. Too many times we break off the communication out of frustration and/or anger…and never get back to it.
Hi Jenny! You are so right…we found this was a crucial way for us to GROW in our communication. Delaying a hard discussion doesn’t settle it. It only means it will explode later and usually with much more force and destruction. Thanks for coming by to visit.
Wow – I totally needed to read that. Especially the last part – that we are on the same side. We are newly weds and are still trying to get it all figured out. I hope I’m better than I used to be – but I know I have a long way to go. Thank you for linking up!