Marriage is sanctifying. I wish the journey was easier and I never have to wrestle with the flesh. But I do. All the time.
I suspect you wrestle too.
And I just want to share a bit of my struggles..although you probably know a few of them because I write about them here.
But sometimes we forget. We forget that the couple across the street, the one laughing next door, or the one reaching across the internet are very much like ourselves.
So we look at their stories, compare their outside to our inside and despair.
I know because I’ve compared and contrasted and despaired. And others have looked at mine and despaired at their own.
Let me tell you of my struggles and how the Lord has triumphed for me.
This is an area I’ve struggled with all of my life. God has transformed me over the years but it continues to be one of those places I need Him the most.
Before I knew Christ well, I thought it was a good thing, a gift almost. Mostly because it manifested as competitiveness (more of that in a minute.)
I have always loved a good win, from the time I was a kid. I loved to debate and argue and generally boss people around to get my way.
Over time the Spirit showed me why I was a calculative scanner – always looking at people with “I want to be better than you”. It wasn’t because I was an achiever. It was because I did not know whose I was. Fear controlled me.
The Bible says those who compare themselves against each other are not wise. 2 Corinthians 10:12
Comparison makes you restless in your marriage. You can have the greatest relationship but completely miss it because you only see what you do not have.
You worry about the distance you have to cover, the heights you want to scale..if only my husband was like this, if only we had that, if only I was like this..
And because your eyes rarely rest on your little green patch, you live a frustrated life. You could have the greenest patch of grass, be putting all the effort to make your marriage beautiful.
But never feel the reward because your eyes never rest. And any time you experience a bump on the road, the enemy has a field day in your soul, reminding you your imperfections, your failures.
Friend, I am constantly asking God to help me see His goodness in my marriage. To help me appreciate my husband for who he is now, not who he will be tomorrow. To be happy and satisfied. To be a content wife.
Will you join me? Maybe you struggle sometimes, just like I do. And I don’t mean struggle like in a big way..those big ones we can catch. It’s the little things that slay us.
Your marriage doesn’t have to be perfect to be content. Contentment does not mean you have everything. The most content I have been was when things were falling apart and I crawled to Christ and He stilled my heart.
Contentment is not a product of our circumstances, it’s a gift God gives us when we start to look upwards, towards Him, instead of around us. (Click to Tweet)
let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith Hebrews 12: 1, 2
Competitiveness and desire for more
There’s nothing wrong with having a peculiar drive, a thirst for more, a grit that keeps you going when others have called it quits. But like all things, when it does not spring from Christ, it becomes a trap, a soul crusher.
Mine sprung from not understanding the love of my heavenly Father.
I thought a good win earned me points. With people. With opportunities. And ultimately with my Father in heaven. So I was a crazy-hard-worker, determined to reach my goals and live out my potential.
When you bring competitiveness into marriage, you make a huge mess. Because you always want to one-up your husband, even unconsciously. And men tend to have sensitive egos, the kind that sniffs out ‘competition’ before competition knows she has arrived.
Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the fall but this desire remained – “Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you” (Gen 3:16) Some Bible scholars interpret that as having a desire for a man’s leadership but having an equal (possibly stronger) desire to rule over him.
I’ve seen that ugliness in my marriage. In my words, in my actions, in silent ruminations. Second-guessing him. “Speaking up” on his behalf to the point of disrespect. Minimizing my wrong and blowing up his.
It manifests as incessant worry over his leading abilities. Not because he’s a bad leader (he’s a great leader) but because he leads differently. When I want to take up the reigns because this help-meet thinks she has female intuition and insight into the heart of issues.
But Christ. Oh His love and determination to sanctify and transform! He reminds me what happens when I try to run my life – death. I was never meant to rule my life. I was always His. The dynamics of marriage remind me of it.
If I trust God, then I will trust my husband. If I trust God, I will say no to fear and worry. If I trust God, I will do what the Spirit asks me to do.
Dear friend, I just want to encourage you today, let’s not give the enemy a foot hold in our marriage.
A struggle that is not surrendered cannot be healed. Your problem is not too small, or too big or too shameful to take to God.
God wants to help you (Jeremiah 3:33). But first we must own up to our issues.
“I have been rude, I’ve skipped my prayer times, I’ve been angry and vengeful, I’ve been envious, I’ve talked behind his back, I’ve flirted with other men, I’ve put career above my relationship, I’ve stopped pursuing God like I used to…”
Will you do business with God today? Maybe you are thinking “how about my husband, when will you start talking about his issues?” I hear you but friend this is not about your husband.
He probably has his own issues but guess what, he’s not the one reading this post today (Or maybe he is..Shout out to all the husbands who read this blog!)
But even then, God has your attention and no matter whose on the wrong – or right – He starts with the one that will listen and obey. And when we give Him access to our hearts, we give Him access to our circumstances. You get right with God, take care of you and God will take care of him.
I hope you are encouraged to face up the hard stuff. Curve out sometime to quiet down, and think and do business with God. Sometimes things get harder before they get easier. But they don’t get there without our intentional engagement.
Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.” And you forgave the guilt of my sin. Psalm 32:5
*My friend Barb Raveling has a great book called “The Renewing of the Mind Project: Going to God for Help with Your Habits, Goals, and Emotions” If you have struggled with the same self-defeating habits and can’t seem to break through, if you’ve wanted to start life-enriching habits, such as having a daily quiet time, this book will help you tremendously. It helped me a lot. Check it out here. *