Our parents did not model what it was like to live married as God intended and prescribes through His Word. Praise God we DID have my husband’s grandparents to look to as an example of commitment. Commitment was, is and will always be the cornerstone of our marriage.
Commitment was the word I shared with the pastor marrying us so many years ago, as the most important element to live out until death do us part. She was stunned. She shared many couple share love as the most important, or maybe a good plan, or having lots of things in common. In my heart of hearts, I knew all of those things could change, fail, or simply not be present for a season. I also knew in my heart of hearts after moving out a couple days following my seventeenth birthday, commitment to him was vital if I never wanted him to feel rejected like I had.
The first eight years of our marriage consisted of babies, building, and growing. It also consisted of selfishness, fighting addiction and one another. It was hard. Then, Jesus.
Jesus called our whole family to Himself in the fall of 2008. He called me back after years of wandering. He called my husband after years of not believing. He called our daughters to enter relationship with Him at the tender ages of five and seven. Our lives changed for the better.
We were equipped. We were poured into. We were prayed over. We lived in a season of thriving for nearly eighteen months. And then we didn’t…
This new life, while a blessing, brought its own challenges. We didn’t know what we were up against in the spirit and slowly things began to fade away again. AS CHRISTIANS, living for GOD, we found ourselves separated twice, bickering non-stop, and continuing to fight for our own way.
“But this is what God needs me to do!” I would argue.
“Who am I to argue with God?!” my Husband would lament.
Talk about creating a confused environment for our children. I thought I had this divine order of living thing all figured out. He did not want anything to do with it if the picture I presented was what it looked like. But God and His good grace.
In January of 2015 my husband was so ill with influenza he lay on our couch with a 105° fever for nearly nine days. I could have cared less. Harsh, I know. I had so many reasons, so many justifications for WHY I didn’t need to care anymore. I had an arsenal to come back with if he took even one shot with his words. I had examples all around me of Christian women I knew that had left their marriage (some even encouraged me that some marriages just don’t work out), and God seemed OK with it. Needless to say, God needed to deal with me and my heart. When Holy Spirit very clearly instructed me to sit with my Husband, take care of him, and tend his needs the entire week - I did. When He reminded me of the bedrock of my perspective on marriage to remain committed until death do us part, and to remove divorce from my vocabulary and list of options once and for all – I did.
This year, we took a BIG HIT. HUGE. Praise God He had prepared me for it, but it still hurt – deeply. This time, though, I didn’t have an arsenal of justifications for being hurtful in return. Separation and divorce were not an option (although there was a break to "breath" and allow Holy Spirit in) – God had effectively pruned those “options”. COMMITMENT, again, was the Word repeatedly coming to mind... NO MATTER WHAT.
I began to seek God, rather than solace in my pain, and ask what was going on. How could this have happened? Why?
Little by little, Holy Spirit began to reveal to me some scenarios where I had deeply hurt my Husband. He had never shared the hurts with me, for fear of communicating selfishness. However, when I went to him with what I believed God had shared with me, his facial expression said it all. Thank You God for sharing with me!
As we moved to heal and "make right some wrongs”, God laid very specific love actions on my heart to follow through on, specifically to minister to my Husband. God always knows our hearts. He is just waiting for us to ask Him what will impact the hearts of those we love, and minister to them in the most profound of ways.
Something began to happen. The Lord began revealing my heart’s desires to my Husband – and HE WAS RESPONDING. These were “little things”. I thoroughly enjoy laying in the hammock with a good book and maybe even slipping off into a cat nap in the summer. Once my Husband cut the trees down that hosted my peaceful resting place, I no longer had that small pleasure – and I missed it. As part of meeting a heart desire for my Husband, I purchased a bike to ride with him and go places with him. We talked about this becoming something more than just a leisure ride every now and again, but no firm commitment to make it practical.
Within the span of about two weeks, after following through on the love actions God had placed on my heart, the following shaped up…
My husband bought a couple posts to plant in our yard so he could hang the hammock up again. Swoon. While he was away on business, a hitch arrived on our front porch. A hitch that would support a bike rack the two of us would then be able to haul our bikes on and go on bike tours together. When the tiniest of packages arrived that would eliminate the “pop-pop” sound that could wake up the entire house when just one of us was preparing breakfast – my heart burst!
Yesterday, when he asked me to open the door and close it again with no sound, I lost it. Sure I was grateful it would no longer urk me to no end, but I was grateful for something more. My Husband was beginning to gain confidence in those small whispers and then FOLLOWING THROUGH. This is HUGE. He was beginning to respond to Holy Spirit – whether he realized it or not. But you know what? God needed me to do the same.
My Husband and I are on really different places on our faith journey, and our walks look completely different, but I know the same God we have faith in loves us both SO MUCH and desires to make Himself known through the little acts of obedience that are really magnificent, miraculous acts of obedience when we consider our journey up to this point.
Be encouraged today, listen to God and move towards His call on your life. His call will not exempt those closest to you - specifically your spouse or children – your family will always be God’s first priority in your life. If you’re willing to pray for others and trust God to minister to the multitudes through your life and voice, trust Him to do the same in your home, with your Husband and kiddos. If your commitment is waning in your marriage, take a moment to reflect on all the ways God Himself has remained committed to you, regardless of shortcomings, and allow a fresh wind of the reminders of His faithfulness to move your sails to do the same in your marriage.