Friday, June 29, 2012

How Sweet It Is {Part 6} “Through My Mistakes II"

7,300 {close enough} days of being married makes me feel like I should have this thing licked. Sometimes, for just a few minutes, Jeff and I sit and regret all time we’ve wasted in conflict, especially when it’s been “conflicted” over and over again.  We pull out of the nose dive before we crash and move on to the things God has done in our marriage.  I will never be able to express my gratitude to the Father or even to Jeff who has championed so many of these “battles”, fighting the good fight, for the dream, the vision of what we both have longed for.  Where I didn’t have a clue of how to pursue the dream, he did and he has.  Settling would have been much easier on him.  On me too, but I praise the Lord he hasn’t given up.  We have what we have now because he’s navigated us through “minefields” as Andrew Peterson sings about so insightfully.  There will be more and I’m so glad I am walking with Jeff.

Back in the day..... no thoughts of minefields!!!
And Botox didn’t exist in 1991! Needing me some of that good healthy collagen now!   

We have much to learn, but I want to say a huge thank you to you, Jeff, for all you’ve taught me and how you have loved me strong these years.  You’ve added value to this union in ways I cannot express, in ways I would never have imagined, and with GREAT sacrifice.  Thank you for following the Lord Jesus so completely and encouraging me to come along.  I am honing my following skills moment to moment.  Thank you for your grace.  Now and for all the years He gives us.  I love you.

If you missed my first five things I’ve learned the hard way in marriage, here you go.  Here are the last four, in no particular order.

Be friends.  There is much work ahead.  In this most intimate relationship of your life, you need a friend.  A good one.  It is supposed to be your spouse.  We have benefited so much from the transparency of Tim and Kathy Keller-- their discussions at Focus on the Family and with the release of their new book, The Meaning of Marriage.  Just a few weeks ago during an exhausting bout of tail chasing, an Amazon order arrived on my doorstep ~ early.   I thumbed through the book wondering if I should have ordered it, thinking, can another marriage book really enhance our marriage?  I thumbed to here-- the quote in the margin of my blog.

“What if, however, you began your marriage understanding its purpose as spiritual friendship for the journey to the new creation?  What if you expected marriage to be about helping each other grow OUT of your sins and flaws into the new self God is creating?  Then you will be actually expecting the “stranger” seasons, and when you come to one you will roll up your sleeves and get to work.”  
That paragraph is spilling over.  Read it again.  Friendship, a journey, new creation, expectations {huge}, helping each other, sins and flaws, work.  And that’s just in the introduction.  Our friend, our spouse, is to be that person who can lovingly speak Truth into our lives, causing us to see our failures from which we need to repent.  Our friend should then ~gently~ nudge us to fall on the grace of God who has already forgiven us and done the work on the cross for our sins.  ALL IN LOVE.  Love from God and love from our spouse, our friend.

The Kellers also say, “What are the “tools” for this work?  How can we engage in spiritual friendship to help us on our journey toward our future selves?  How do we love each other so that our marriage goes on from strength to strength rather than stalling out in repetitive arguments that end in fruitless silence?  The basic answer is that you must speak the truth in love with the power of God’s grace.” 

In other words, don’t speak unless you are doing so in love “with the power of God’s grace”.  Don’t do it.  Zip it.  It doesn’t work. Another good guess of mine. It “end[s] in fruitless silence”.    We’ve all heard it said, you must be a friend to have a friend.  I won’t belabor that point.  I know you get it.

Learn to say, “Can I have a do-over?”. It might be the 5 most glorious words ever.  Especially if the answer is “yes”.  Is it easy to say?  No, and repetition doesn’t help either.  It’s humbling every time.  Just the other day, Jeff and Brighton came home with a purchase I was less than thrilled about and with just a few words, I was able to suck all the fun out of their find. {something I do easily with my words}  Sometimes you know you need a do-over without anyone telling you and sometimes you have to find out the hard way..... by your spouse bringing it to your attention.  Ugh.  I repented and asked them for a do-over.  I had them come back in with their purchase and we just did the whole thing over. “Do-overs”, if I am humble enough to ask for them, are my new best friend.

Check in with each other regarding weaknesses.  I don’t mean ask him about all his weaknesses.  Ask him about yours and how you are doing.  And do this when tension is low or non-existent.  It’s easy for me to get through conflict and hope it never comes up again.  Ever.  It goes against everything in me to ASK him how I am doing in an area that I know has caused hurt and frustration.  But it’s necessary.  It shows humility.  It shows him I am working FOR our relationship.  It reminds him that I haven’t forgotten and that it is current business that I am doing with  God.

Last thing, decide on a “quitting time” for the day and spend time together. You wouldn’t think this would be so hard.  Or so necessary!  I’ve already dedicated an entire post to this because it is so critical to marriage.  If we aren’t connecting with our spouses regularly, self centeredness, complacency and discontentment walk right through the front door..... with far too many pieces of luggage.  Satan’s intention is for an extended stay.  I spin in my own little world without much thought of anyone else’s.  I think I am doing fine and wonder why everyone else has a problem with me.  I figure if I can just complete my list~working on into the night~, everything and everybody else will just fall into place.  And some time later, I feel this disconnect in my spirit, a need to reach out and I can either fight it or look for connection in the right place.  The world’s way is to keep spinning and allow the cavern to remain and even widen between you and your spouse.  This is Satan’s ultimate playground.   When I make the decision to reach out/ re-connect, Christ always points me to Jeff first, my most important human relationship. It takes humility to reach out.  Easy?  No.

All three things above come into play here-- I need to be a friend and plunge into the work of reconnecting.  I need ask for a do-over and check in as to where the disconnect got started which will most likely be traced back to a weak area.  For me, this brings the peace home.

 To live here is just good.

His grace is sufficient.  He is able.  Ask Him for help.

We do everyday.

1 comment:

his said...

As all of you know Krista is being very gracious! God has been good to us in light of my ignorance.

Love you