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“Giving Up on My Dream for My Marriage”

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This is from the same wife who wrote to me about not pursuing her husband anymore last week. This is what it looks like to painfully tear out our idols by the root and totally surrender to Christ as LORD of ALL.   Here the idols are control, feeling loved in a certain way and romance.  Thankfully, God will not allow us to find contentment in anything but Christ.  Our idols will always disappoint us! This is what it means to die to self and give Jesus full control of our lives.   THIS is the beginning of living in the power of God.  We must come to the place where we can sincerely say about EVERYTHING in our lives, “Not my will, but Your will be done.”   Each wife’s story and journey will look different. For a follow up on how this wife is doing in September, 2014, please check out her update!
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I started on my journey in seeking to become a godly wife in October of 2012.  My husband and I had a horrible fight that ended with angry words on both of our parts and a lot of hurt feelings.  I remember the term that led me to The Peacefulwife’s website was “how to get your husband to lead” because that was something I wanted and needed desperately.
My husband and I have never really had a bad relationship.  We are both Christians.  We deeply love each other.  We are strong in our commitment to each other.  But things still weren’t on the right balance and it could be felt by both of us and in our home.  We were not where we needed to be to have a godly marriage… and we are still very much in process.
There was no question I was disrespectful. 
  • I rolled my eyes at him.
  • I used a tone.
  • I insulted his income.
  • I said things in front of people that were unkind.
  • I called the shots.
  • I kept him in line.  Although, he wasn’t lining up so great for me

and I am not proud of any of these things.

Ever the do-er, I dove right in to work.  I would fix it!  After all, all I really had to do was stop the disrespectful things, right?
But I did not fully get the depth of what I was doing.  And because of that, I grew overwhelmed.  I was trying all the right steps, why weren’t things happening?  Don’t misunderstand; things did improve somewhat.

But the total renovation that I read about happening to Peacefulwife and other wives who did this was not happening for this girl. 

My heart was truly wanting to do the right thing.  But I hadn’t *hit* where I needed to hit to truly make the change.  It was like I was trying to work a 5000 piece puzzle with only 2000 of the pieces.  Every now and then I would get a glimpse of how beautiful it could be but I didn’t have all the pieces I needed to get that picture.
I was still feeling lonely and neglected by my husband.  He still wasn’t responding to me very well, although I was making lots of practical steps toward respecting him.  I did a lot of things right.  While I didn’t completely stop being disrespectful, I cut a lot of it out.
  • I turned a lot of decisions over to my husband.
  • I tried to focus on building him up.
(From Peacefulwife –  when our husbands don’t change when we start to learn respect and biblical submission, we can get REALLY disappointed.  This is a flag to check our motives.  Our motives HAVE to be ONLY to please God – not to change our husbands.  This can also be a flag to look for deeper layers of unintentional disrespect and control.  It ALL has to go!)
Here I was, trying to be the best wife I could be and I didn’t think he cared at all what kind of husband he was being.  He seemed selfish and tuned out.  Then he made a choice that hurt me very deeply.  Were there worse things that could have happened in our marriage?  Certainly.  But for me, it was the last brick that finally broke down the load I was carrying.  I just could not carry it anymore.  I remember thinking this thought, in my heart for at least a couple of years before I finally hit “My Breaking Point”…

“I am so tired of fighting for him!  I have done nothing but fight for his attention and to be his priority for ALL of our marriage.”

I felt absolutely exhausted from that fight.
  • I had given it my all.
  • I had tried everything to win.
  • I wanted to win.
  • I NEEDED to win.
  • It was VERY, VERY important to me that my husband show me and everyone else in the world how much I mattered to him.

I did not win.

I waved the white flag.

I.  LET.  GO.

Not because I made the mature choice and saw that my behavior was not pleasing to God.  I wish I could tell you that was the reason.  It wasn’t.  That came a bit later.  No.  I let go because it was too painful to try to hold him any longer.  I just hit a point where  I could not fight for him to love me any longer.  He always HAS loved me.  But he hasn’t always loved me in the way that *I* wanted.  Which is what I was fighting for.

This is not something you can just decide to do.  This is something that you have to HIT.

I told my husband this very clearly that

I would no longer try to make him show me how much he cared about me. 

If he didn’t do it from the heart, it didn’t count anyway, did it?  What satisfaction is there in buffaloing your husband into doing something you want him to do when you know deep down that you pushed him into it?
As I let go of him, I thought about what this  truly meant.
  • It meant I would no longer pursue him to get him to pursue me.
  • It meant that the ball was in his court.
  • If he wanted to play ball, I am up for it but I will not make the first move.
  • I handed him control of our relationship.
  • I finally understood what Peacefulwife meant when she said she had to grow content in a season of waiting because this meant I was going to wait on my husband until he was ready to make a moveAnd if he didn’t, we would sit here.
I did this lovingly.
There was directness but no harshness.

 I made a decision that I would continue to meet his needs even if he didn’t mine.  That was not easy because that was unselfish which is not something I was very closely acquainted with.

Although I still had the love of my life, what I did not have was the fantasy marriage (the idol) I wanted and had fought for, for so very long.

I let that fantasy die. 

I cannot tell you it was not painful.  It was, heart wrenchingly so.  In fact, I am crying just thinking about this.  But that fantasy was not good for me.  It only brought me pain. 

Letting go of that fantasy also brought me some good things.  Life giving and healing things.

  • Peacefulness in myself
  • Security regardless of what my husband does or does not do.
  • An ability to see things more clearly.
  • An ability to find God in a totally new way.
  • I got a few more puzzle pieces to work with.

I did not get that when I tried to make him give me what I needed that I was using another form of control.  

In what I am learning about men- and my knowledge is very limited at this point-  the surest way NOT to get what I wanted was to push for it.  

My husband may never choose to meet my needs.

Perhaps he will.

This really isn’t about that at all.

This is about me

  • hitting the point where I could not go on living in such an unhealthy way any longer.
  • saying, “Lord, my husband belongs to you.  You take him and work with Him.  You are far better equipped than I.”
  • realizing how little control I actually had.
  • realizing just how tiny I am and how big God is.  I am just a little ant in his great big world.
  • realizing that although my husband and I are joined by marriage, I do not own him.
  • seeing God show me how much work there is to do in ME.
  • realizing that it is okay to focus on ME and my relationship with God and let my husband have his own process.
For me, this was not a joyful experience.
No.
This was an experience where I had to reach a point where I tearfully, brokenly handed my marriage to God and said,

“Lord, I cannot do this any longer. 

Please take this because it is too heavy for me. 

Take all of my expectations of my husband and

all of my hurts and unfulfilled dreams because

they are too painful to carry any longer. 

I pray someday you bless our marriage with the things

You know I have wanted so desperately

but even if You never, ever do,

I can’t do this without You any longer

I need You to help me.

I need You to do the changing and fixing in our marriage. 

I am not equipped to do it and I am sorry I ever, ever tried. 

I pray You work with both of us. 

And start with me.” 

That was a hard place to be and a hard thing to say.  My heart was so broken accepting that the things I have waited on and wanted so desperately may never be a reality.

  • I had to get to where I could go on EVEN if my worst fears happened. 
  • I had to get to a place where I realized that I never really had any control at all.  At best, what I had was some sinful tools of manipulation and guilt to try to get my way.
  • I had to get to a place where I let go of my husband and got ahold of myself again.  Where I could realize that the only person I could change was myself.
While there are still some hurts in my heart and still some things God and I have left to work through, I can tell you that

This is a much more peaceful way to live.  Trying to control my husband and the outcome of everything in our marriage was exhausting.  Resting in myself and my relationship with God is refreshing.

I do not know what the future holds.  I see some little sprigs of hope springing up.
  • I see my husband beginning to stand taller.
  • I see my husband beginning to search for his wife now that she is not following his every step.

I am hopeful good things are coming.  I have to trust that this is for my ultimate good.  Since I am a child of God I believe that anything that happens to me is FOR my good or He would not allow it.  I felt frustrated and overwhelmed when I first started out to become a godly wife because I didn’t have all of the puzzle pieces yet.  I may not have them all now.  I don’t know.  My puzzle isn’t finished.  But I have more than I did have and the picture is becoming clearer.

Blessings to you.
Then He said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow Me. 
For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for Me will save it.  
Luke 9:23-24
FOLLOW UP:
To see how A Fellow Wife (the author of this post) is doing 3 years into her journey, and what she wishes she could tell herself 3 years ago, check out this post!

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