“Trouble and distress have come upon me (us), but Your commands give me delight. Your statutes are always righteous; give me (us) understanding that I (we) may live.” Psalm 119:143-144 (italics added by me)
A month ago I bought 2 copies of the book Draw Close- A Devotional for Couples by Willard and Joyce Harley. It is a weekly journey that is designed to bring couples closer to God and thus closer to each other. Because we are often separated by work and family responsibilities, sweetheart and I each have a copy to take with us.The book is broken up into daily devotions which cover the vast array of issues that come into play in a marriage.
We have to be very intentional about reading it each day. At first I think it was our competitive nature that drove us to be the first to share the message. Over the last few days however, I have noticed that the tone of our conversations have changed. We look forward to sharing what we have read, talking about the deeper meaning of the verses that are included. It is apparent that the Holy Spirit has joined us in our reading “For we know how dearly God loves us, because He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our heart with His love.” Romans 5:5b
Sweetheart and I are both very opinionated. (no really!) The one-upmanship has had a much too prominent place in our marriage. The last word? Mine. The desire to be right? Yep. The first to point out a mistake? Oh yeah. Let’s just say that there have been more than a few occasions that do not go on the wall of our finest moment memories. With both of us being passionate, type A personalities we often revert to the “because I said so” answer when a crisis occurs and a resolution is needed.
For a little backstory you have to understand that sweetheart was an officer in the Army. Worse than that, he was a pilot officer. In his world you have to be right about every choice or people’s lives will be in jeopardy. I, on the other hand, was a small business owner with employees. (Think herding cats!) I had to make decisions that would ultimately make or break my business which could effect dozens of people as well. When both of us came to the table we had an arsenal of past experiences to use as ammunition to prove our worthiness to be the boss or even worse to put someone in their “place”.
Instead of having a rational discussion on the merits of each other’s opinion, sweetheart and I usually spend our time trying to prove why the other person is wrong. The Harley’s point out in their book that “respectful persuasion never involves an attack on your spouse’s opinions. Remember: you are trying to blend your lives together.” What a powerful statement. As Gru says in the movie Despicable Me….”LIGHT-BULB!”
I have been around long enough to know that sweetheart and I won’t be able to solve all of our communication issues in one day or with one book. We have to learn from other’s who have fought these battles before and learned how to bring God into their marriage. We have to rely on our marriage counselor who has an outside perspective and helps us navigate through the rough patches. Most importantly we have to spend time TOGETHER in His Word, reading and talking through all the instructions He gave us for a Godly marriage.
Dearest Adonai, we truly are grateful for Your instruction about marriage. We thank You for Your servants who so carefully take the gifts You have given them and use them wisely to teach others. We are humbled by Your love and mercy for us. We pray for grace, both to give it and to receive it. We pray for Your Grace to rain down upon us. We pray for those whose marriages are struggling. We pray that Your Holy Spirit will step right into the gap and whisper Your words to broken hearts. Let Godly people be watchful for those around them who need help in seeing how You are the cornerstone that keeps a marriage foundation strong. We pray these things in the Name of Christ our Savior, Amen
©Michelle Welch, team member of the Breath Of Life Women’s Ministries
photography property of Michelle Welch, all rights reserved
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