There is a married couple that, for eight of their thirteen years of their marriage, didn’t understand what it took to love each other the right way. They blamed each other for everything. He didn’t spend enough time with her or the children. She was nagging too much and required too much attention. When they sought counsel from other family, they were told that church was the answer and that they should start coming to church on a regular basis. What did church have to do with it all? They did attend…sometimes. Okay, maybe once a month, but God understood why. Their excuse was that they worked overtime hours at work and were way too tired. And besides, they needed that extra money for gas during the week, which is why paying tithes was not an option. The fights, the countless arguments over being mutually unhappy, the job losses in between and more of the blaming and fighting lasted for years. The wife began to take over all the responsibilities because she never adapted the phrase, “Team work makes the dream work”. In the midst of all of this turmoil, the oldest child was exposed to it all. The child overheard arguments and felt the tension when they were all together. Not to mention the times where either spouse took out their frustrations on a four year old child, getting angry over the smallest things. The problem wasn’t the child not keeping his room cleaned or yearning for quality time, it was the things that they were lacking from each other. Things got progressively worse with the option of separation and divorce on the table. They say that time away makes the heart grow fonder but they concluded that maybe time away caused the heart to grow greater apart. In choosing separation, they couldn’t address their issues nor face their fears. They opened doors to let other’s come in. They allowed people, places, things, and any other distraction keep them from committing themselves to their marriage, which drove them further apart. The breakups happened every month, but somehow they thought they could make it work on their own without help. There was a time or two that they entertained counseling, but what good is counseling if you go twice and only apply what you learned within the first week, ending up right back where you started? You see, it was a viscous cycle; an emotional roller-coaster that neither was willing to put in the work to get off. They are no longer in love, just utter the words “I love you” for the sake of being married. Then one day, a light-bulb goes off and they realize that they had a big role to play in this all along. Something had to change. Something needed to be different.
What happens when you start to beat yourself up because you see your faults? When you realize that your past was and is a direct influence on the person you are being in the relationship?
You start to understand that your dad not being there for you was not only detrimental in your childhood, but now see how that wound bleeds into your marriage. As a wife, you start looking to your husband to fill all of those voids (you know, the ones that were missed opportunities because your dad was not in your life) the way you needed him too. And as a husband with no fatherhood example, he is fighting to figure out how to consistently be the leader that God designed for marriage, but he has no clue because his father wasn’t in his life. Because of these past wounds, she beats him up for his shortcomings, which she doesn’t realize is digging a deeper hole in his heart and his mind until one day, he gives up on trying. After awhile, he’s just going with the flow and hanging on by a thread until they both get fed up and go their separate ways, for good.
Miraculously, they begin to shift their thinking to more of “I need to learn to love myself before I force my insecurities on my wife or husband”, “I have to learn the role of a husband and a wife respectively, according to the bible.” What does it take to be my whole self while allowing God to heal me from my past and change me from the inside out so that I can be all the spouse HE has called me to be? They both discover that they have been loving each other the wrong way. They have blamed one another for the emptiness that people outside of their marriage has left them with. And now that the realization has begun, change can begin happening. New ways of handling things become a priority because they understand the root of their previous behavior. They start to understand that God is holding them accountable because HE has expectations for both the husband and the wife. They make the conscious decision to pay tithes because they believe that it is a direct reflection on their finances. They finally start to take counseling seriously and apply them to their relationship. They start surrounding themselves with other married couples and adopt a church home with leaders who promote unity and marriage. Basically, they STOP pointing the finger.
This married couple is us. And in the last five years and moving forward, Ron and I have finally learned to love each other. As you can see, it took some serious self-reflection and commitment to get there. Putting God as the center is the priority, as He is the one who brought us together. Therefore he has the manual to do this marriage thing the right way. We can honestly say that we have been the happiest we’ve ever been! Although we’ve learned the long, hard way, we understand that our struggle is now our testimony. Choosing to share what we’ve experienced is our way of trying to save a relationship or marriage. Join us as we venture on this journey sharing our experiences, advice and knowledge about how we started from the bottom. Because now? We’re here.
Next month’s topic (December): “The 5 love languages: Are You Loving Your Spouse the Way He or She NEEDS to be Loved?”