This is Part 2 from “The Beginning of a Wife’s Journey.”
This wife’s husband has been separated from her for some time. He comes to visit their son, and visits her as well. Last week they had a visit that was unlike any other in the past. What an inspiration!!!! THANK YOU to this precious wife and sister in Christ for her willingness to share. There are COUNTLESS nuggets of treasure in this email. I pray that you might be able to glean all of them, my precious sisters in Christ!
I encourage each of you to abide in Christ and to look to God’s Spirit to be your ultimate Counselor! His wisdom is true and pure. His ways are good. There is no evil in Him. Compare everything that people say to God’s Word and only embrace what stands the test of Scripture.
Please keep in mind that each wife and each marriage is unique. There is no standard timetable of how God works. Many factors play into that. Some husbands may take months or even a year or more to respond to the changes God is making in their wives. Rarely, some husbands never respond. The results and timing have to be up to God. Our job is to seek Him and love Him with all our hearts, minds, souls and strength and to obey Him in all things:
Well, dh left a few hours ago – and your advice, thoughts and CERTAINLY your prayers were with me throughout the entire visit. He came yesterday and the visit was different from all the others, because this time I had … guidance — there have been a “few” OK visits in the past, but then I felt stifled by not doing/saying what I wanted to do…….. Now I feel empowered, to “choose” to say/act the way that pleases God — it is not about me.
I kept repeating stuff in my head… like –
– Die to your flesh
– Live in the now (one of my favorites from you!!!)
– Do not focus on what is wrong, focus on what is good
– Tell him how happy you are that he is here
– Tell him how appreciative you are of the things he has done
– You wish things were different, but EVERYTHING that is good for you, must be according to God’s will/time/plan
– Make him feel happy here
– Leave all the “issues” to God
–The Holy Spirit has to talk to him. You are NOT his Holy Spirit!
– Focus on doing the right thing for God — not for dh
These are just a few of the things that kept playing in my head. It is really not on my own strength that I was able to be this “renewed” person.
Usually, when he comes I use it as an opportunity to tell him how I feel. I try to talk about the way his choices have hurt me, my despair, how he is wrong etc. and I go on and on. All I could focus on was the fact that my marriage was CERTAINLY not what I wanted to be, it is not what God wants it to be and how blind dh was.
This attitude surely was not one that would help to bring a lost soul to his senses.
This time, I met him with a friendly hug, and helped him pack the grocery items he bought for us. He likes to buy groceries and cook for us. He always has…. He tries to get my favorite food that I do not usually get a chance to eat. I was just calm, sweet spirited and nice to him. I tried not to “crowd” him and I acted in a way that showed that I understood he was here to see our son and not me. He seemed relaxed by my attitude and he talked with me a lot…just casual talk. He was not “tense” as he usually was, when he was aware that any moment I could start talking about how he destroyed our family.
It was then time for him to take our son shopping for back-to-school clothes, and he asked if I was not getting ready. (Usually I would have already stated that I “wanted” to join them!). I told him I was not planning to go because I know it was a time for him to spend time shopping with our son. He said no, I should join them. I did, and we had a marvelous time, laughing at the terrible taste our son had, and being thankful we could help him choose clothes, because his choices were crazy.
I expressed my gratitude to him for everything………and told him how happy I was for the things he bought, the way he loves to cook for us, and how happy I was to be invited to join them.
I made sure he knew that I was more than happy to make dinner if he was tired. He just wanted to. We had dinner and talked about business we have out of town. Later we went to bed — separately (but we were under the same roof – thank God for that!)
AN IMPORTANT THING I DID
We own a house out of town…. for all the years since we have been here, I have been the one to deal with everything! Tenant issues, mortgage payments, maintenance stuff etc. “I” have also been thinking of selling the house in another year or so. Well, I told him that I “can’t” (not won’t) manage it anymore, and I would be so happy if he could take it over for me because it is so much. (I had briefly told him of this intention to let him take “control” of this, about 2 days earlier on the phone). It was his pleasure!!! I gave him all the passwords, contact information, account numbers – everything- – and tell him that moving forward he is responsible for everything, and I know he will do a great job.
I realize that I was burdened with everything because I INADVERTENTLY CHOSE TO BE – IT WAS PART OF MY CONTROLLING SPIRIT!
I have always “whined/complained/nagged/criticized” him for leaving it all on me…. but I really did not give him a chance to want to do it!
In fact — dealing with the house has been one of our biggest “arguing topics” since we have been here. This is because I usually tell him that it is too much for me, in what I now know to be the TOTALLY WRONG way. The way I did it degraded his worth, made him feel less than a man, etc. (disrespect). He always responded by saying he does not care about the house anyway, because he does not want to own anything with me (unloving) — the Crazy Cycle (Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs)! Of course – my actions were due to my stress, my desire for him to just want to help me, but I came across as criticizing his abilities as a man when all I had to do was ask nicely, and make him feel as if I needed him – not as if I was his mom reprimanding him for his lack of initiative.
It is the same house — and the same me (or, the-“not-so-same-ME”), and now he seems to feel empowered to take charge. I AM AMAZED.
I would have never been able to hand over this aspect of our lives to him if I did not learn so much from this blog ….I must admit that I felt as if I was having a mild panic attack, when I started to consider passing on some of the responsibilities to him. I was especially worried about his abilities to make sure the mortgage is paid on time, the tenant is paying the rent, etc etc. Now I feel so less burdened. He told me that he will deal with the issues, except where he really needs me to do something (example, If he will need my signature on documents etc.)
Your advice to LIVE IN THE NOW – has been VERY powerful to me and this visit. I was able to enjoy him, based on what he has to offer today! Not get so caught up on whether or not this was a picture of what a marriage should be. It certainly was not helping to make the “now” worse than it had to be, because I so badly wanted the “past.” In fact, adding to the destruction of the “now” only further guaranteed a worse future.
Our son was so very loving to his dad —- extremely, and again, I am so happy that despite all the pain, we can both love on him. That in itself is a testament of how God has washed our hearts, how we are learning to please GOD FIRST. There was a time when our son was so cold to him, and although I know it was not entirely my fault for this, I can see how my own bitterness, my own steadfastness on focusing on my dh’s part, significantly contributed to this. Sigh….
I am so glad that God has opened my eyes. Praise God for not giving up on me…. He is patient, I was so far from being at this place.
…. Now we see beyond dh’s sins, and just see him as God does. That is what happens when we focus on our own sinfulness. I have realized that I have contributed SOOOO much sin to my marriage, I do not know how on earth I had so much time to focus on his sin. I must have said it 1000 times – pardon me for being so repetitive…but it is beyond my level of understanding how much I have learned from you in such a short time. I thank God for your powerful spirit. (From Peacefulwife – that is a GOD thing 100%, not an April thing!)
Today, I said nothing more about my plans to be respectful to him….. I will just let my actions speak moving forward.
I won’t get it right all the time, but I will certainly not go back as far as — or anywhere near — where I was before. He has not mentioned that he has noticed any difference. I AM OK WITH THAT! I know he does – and it really is about my walk with God, not a desperate need to please dh (though it is nice to see him more relaxed with us).
I enjoyed my husband’s presence today because I chose to:
– accept what he can give today
– focus on what he is doing right, instead of what he is doing wrong
– live in the joy of the moment, instead of the better life I want in the future
– let my joy come from God– my husband is only a man – not God
April – that is a big thing you have taught me too.
I wanted my husband to be my JESUS.
I am so ashamed to say that 🙁 🙁 I certainly did not feel as if that was what I was doing all those years!!! Yikes! I wanted him to be the source of, or a part of any joy I had. That is just too much even for the BEST husband on the planet. Now I have learned that my Joy is in Christ alone….and I can be joyful even in less than ideal circumstances. God’s plan for me supersedes anything that my husband can do to me. Many are the plans of dh’s heart – but it is God’s plans that will prevail. Why then have I been so focused on my husband’s plan? Because I am only human. Yes – but I can draw on the strength that comes through the Word of God
There are so many more things I could say about this visit. My desires have not changed, but now they are not misplaced. That makes it easier. I am also humbled, because I don’t have to try to be “God” to my husband. I use that energy to let God minister to me. Dh’s heart has not changed towards me — but that changes nothing that God wants for me.
My husband is on his way back (to his place) now, and I know there is less turmoil, pain, frustration and anger in his heart than when he usually sees me.
- Praise God for showing me MY OWN SINFULNESS.
I just read the post (of my 1st email) — Oh how terrible I was. I am thankful for the prayers and support that have been offered by everyone. Especially the prayers!! Thank God for those! One lovely person stated that there are times when I will wonder if I should wait on my husband – she is so wise —there are times when I feel HOPELESS. Times when the tears feel like a flowing river. Times when I am too weak to even pray.
However, thinking of one day at a time will help me even more, and remembering that if it is about “me” I will be even weaker! It is at times like these that I need the most prayers. There have been times when I know only the prayers of others have moved me from my emotionally paralyzed state. It is not a state of a desperate woman. God has blessed me to be a “strong,” brilliant and capable woman (This is not to be full of pride – it is just to share that it is not out of desperation that I am standing for my marriage, it is out of my desire to walk the rough road I think God has been leading me on). When my marriage first crumbled, I begged God for the strength to let go and let it be! I thought that was what took strength! That would have been way easier. Sometimes God takes us on some very rough road to draw us closer to him and to bare us of our own selfish desires.
The truth is, regardless of what happens in the future, I am better for having endured this. God’s methods might be different for everyone – each student learns differently. I NEEDED THIS.
Just now, as I am typing……. dh just called to let me know he has reached home. He never usually does!
Thank you so much. This visit was different even though my husband’s stance has not changed. For years, things may very well be the same from my husband’s view point – but I am different. I am the one that is saved – so that is exactly how it should have been all along.
You showed me how to accept what my dh has to offer – today. You showed me how while praying for a BIG cake, I was blindly pushing away the ingredients to make the cake because I was so focused on “All I want is the cake!” “Why is he (dh) giving me eggs if he says he does not want to give me cake?” Why is he giving me an oven if he says he does not want to give me cake.” I was rejecting God’s hand in my life, because I was so focused on the future which is TOTALLY in God’s hands. Even if all I end up with are eggs – they are still good for me. God must know what I need today! Additionally, I have seen how relaxed dh is around me when I don’t keep hammering the marital problems over his head. It surely can’t speed up his journey home to have him be uncomfortable around me! Plus – most importantly — the healing of my marriage/changing of dh’s heart is God’s job.
Thanks for your kind words and your support — your blog has been like FOOD to me.