Life officially goes back to normal this week. Last week didn't count, being a 3-day work week and all. Tuesday night Bible study is starting back up. I can't wait for that. Due to funerals, teacher illness, the holidays, etc. I haven't been there since before Thanksgiving! The ladies' group starts back up this Saturday. We're going to be doing Beth Moore's study of Jesus. Should be good stuff.
Megan is with Cody. He stopped to get her and take her for a ride in his truck. He didn't get a new one, but he finally got his lift put on and wanted to show it off. She is getting pretty tired of his shenanigans (calling and telling her he's coming to get her...then going to the bar instead and never calling) so maybe one of these days she'll get fed up enough to move on to someone who respects her enough to treat her right. She has a job interview at a plant a couple of miles from the house this afternoon. Really, really hoping she gets hired. I think a job, income, and a reason to get up everyday would do wonders for her. It would also introduce her to new people, something else she needs since she gave up her friends while dating Cody and of course, with the break up his friends no longer talk to her.
Tim's still not feeling well. He's supposed to call the doctor about an appointment. He won't go today, I know. He's working too far away to get back before the office closes and he has to meet the workers at the church to give them the work schedule for the week. I'm hoping he can get in tomorrow.
Marriage is hard. People don't like hard. I guess that's why there are so many failed marriages out there. I hate to see a marriage bite the dust. There's so much trauma involved and not just for the couple, but also for everyone who cares about them. And the kids, can't forget the kids.
I've been watching several friends go through rough patches in their marriages lately. A couple aren't so sure their marriages will survive. Heck, I'm coming out of my own particularly tough stretch. Tim's a workaholic and after a while or during an extended period of long hours if I don't keep on my toes, all my insecurities, jealousies, and assorted uglies can (and often do) bubble up to the surface.
After all I've been through in 28 years of marriage and all I've read and all I've seen, heard, and witnessed....I've learned a few things:
- Real love isn't an emotion or a feeling or sexual desire. Back in my youth leader days this is the big point I tried to get across to the teens. Emotions and feelings and desire definitely are a part of it, an important part, but they come later...or at least they should. In our world they all too often come first and love never gets a chance to grow. What I've always tried to explain is that love, real, abiding love of the sort God intended to be between a husband and wife, is a choice. It is making a decision to put someone else's needs before your own. It is deciding that you will do all that is within your power (and God's will) to make someone's life better. It is wanting the best for someone....even before yourself. It is hard work and sacrifice and it is making a commitment to stick it out "for better or for worse and in sickness and in health."
- Two wrongs do NOT make a right. Your spouse's wrong behavior in no way justifies you behaving badly. You can't control your spouse's behavior, moods, actions or anything else. That is up to him and between him and God. What you can control are your own actions and reactions. God spells out pretty clearly what he calls us to be as wives in several places in the Bible. Ultimately, he is the one we will answer to. We want to be able to one day stand before him and know that we did our part right, no matter what our spouse did. God isn't going to listen to any "yes, but he's...." or "I tried, but did you see what he's...." When the day comes for us to go before him all we are going to be judged on is our own actions.
- Pray for your spouse. Even when you don't want to. Especially when you don't want to. Prayer changes hearts....and it will start with yours. It is very difficult to remain angry at or have bad feelings about someone you are sincerely (that's key) praying for. Refusing to do this and hanging on to your anger is not good for you or your marriage and let's get honest....it's a sin.
- Treat your spouse with respect no matter what. A lot of you are probably sitting there thinking that either you always do. Or maybe you think he didn't do anything to earn your respect. On the first, do you ever grumble to your girlfriends about something he does? Roll your eyes behind his back? Make decisions that affect the household or marriage without at least getting his input? Those are all disrespect. And the second? That goes back to the first thing on the list....real love is a choice. It is your gift, freely given to someone. They don't have to earn it (just like we don't earn God's grace).
I'm not perfect at this marriage stuff. I still struggle with it all the time, but I keep working at it. That's what God expects....not perfection, but the earnest trying and growing.
If you need some really good advice on marriage, I'll leave you with three excellent books that are always within my reach....
This book has gotten me through some really rough times and I find that I go back to it over and over again.
Find it at Amazon.
A Woman's High Calling takes a look at the woman of Titus 2 and shows us just what God has called us to be.
Find it at Amazon.
And finally, The Power of a Praying Wife is probably my all time favorite. There is nothing like prayer and as I said, prayer changes everything. Stormie shows how to pray for all areas of our spouse's life. I love that the first chapter is about taking a look at ourselves and praying for change in our own life before we start praying for our spouse.
Find this one at Amazon, too.