Monday, September 9, 2013

On Marriage and Commitment

     Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9

     Tears streamed down my face as I clutched a shredded Kleenex in one hand. My sobs echoed loudly in the stillness of the room while I poured out my heart to the pastor who sat before me. I’d come to him seeking guidance about my husband and some of his recent, hurtful behavior. He’d disappointed me and let me down, making promises he wasn’t able to keep.
     My wounds from a previous marriage were fresh and raw. I’d been through so much pain; I vowed no other man would ever hurt me again.
     The pastor sat quietly, listening, scribbling notes every so often on a pad before him. “As I see it,” he said, leaning forward in his chair, “bold prayer from your heart is the answer. Treat him as you want to be treated, with kindness and respect.”
     Are you kidding? I thought. How could I do this when I’ve been the one so grievously wounded? He doesn’t deserve it.
     I slipped behind the wheel of my car that day deep in thought while glorious sunshine streamed through the windows. The warmth enveloped me, opened my heart to the feeling of God’s love surrounding me. Perhaps my hardened heart wasn’t allowing me to see how much unforgiveness I held onto from my past. Though my husband had been wrong in how he behaved, I realized the only person you can truly change is yourself.
       A little later in the day, a cup of tea sat before me upon the kitchen table, untouched as I began speaking to God as one would talk with a loving parent or dear friend.
     Help me to know you better.  I want to completely surrender to your will. My husband has his own burdens. Please help me to see him in a different light.
     Something inside me broke then. When he returned from work that evening, I spoke more kindly toward him. I made an effort to ask about his day, and really listen from my heart. Little by little, it became easier to affirm his good traits. It became easier to hold my tongue when I wanted to lash out in anger. My husband melted as I considered his needs first. He softened toward me when I began to love him with my whole heart.
     It’s been three years since I spoke to the pastor and surrendered myself to becoming a godly wife. Daily prayer has become a strong bond in this marriage. Before we leave for work, my husband and I sit in the stillness of our living room, hands clasped together while we speak aloud to our Father for guidance. This has been the greatest change of all: The power of spoken words which has rooted our love and commitment to one another more deeply than I ever thought possible.
        Father, I pray our commitment to you and each other will grow stronger with every passing day. May I continue to be a source of inspiration and encouragement to my husband and may our home be a safe haven he can return to each night.

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