Feeling Safe Everyday

One of the gals I follow in Twitter, Sheila Wray Gregoire, has a great blog called To Love, Honor and Vacuum, which I really enjoy keeping up with. She has a great Wifey Wednesday topic today which really lines up with what the marriage ministry we’re involved in stresses in such a huge way – a wife feeling safe with her husband – so I wanted to post my answer to her question: How does your husband make you feel safe?

I can definitely tell you how my husband does it: he listens to my heart. He’s totally in tune with me and attentive to my needs. If I wake up at night feeling anxious or unsettled, he pulls me towards him and prays for me. He washes my hair at least twice a week and plays with my hair every night before bed. He never raises his voice to me; instead he says kind things to me and tells me everyday that I’m beautiful and sexy. He helps with the housework and the kids and he works hard for us. He’s quick to apologize. He’s completely devoted to me and our children. He’s basically just kind to me all the time.

Ever since Michael learned how to become the man that God has called him to be, he’s become the husband that I need him to be. The result? Our marriage, and my heart, have never been better and I’ve never felt safer with my husband than I do now!

Yippy Skippy!


Who's Loving Your Wife?

This is an actual billboard that was done by Joel & Kathy Davisson to advertise their ministry. It's a bold statement. When they were asking the members of their ministry to help them come up with a slogan, I remember telling them that it needed to be something that would create a visual "accident". I think they succeeded.

If you've seen the moving FIREPROOF, then you'll know how vulnerable a wife can become when her husband isn't loving her the way she needsto be loved and is being emotionally and verbally abusive towards her.Her heart can become so empty that when a man, who isn't her husband,pays her a compliment or notices she's sad and offers an interested ear,a place within her that is meant to be filled solely by her husband can begin to be filled by someone else.

I'm going to make a bold statement myself and suggest that when a Christian husband isn't loving his wife the way Christ has called him to, when he isn't willing to sacrifice everything for her, when he isn't loving her as he loves himself, when he's ignoring and neglecting her, criticizing her, blaming her for their problems, taking second glances at other women or looking at porn, when he isn't loving or respecting her (yep, I said respecting), when he is relating to her the way that he wants to, when he's being violent with her or when he's taking her for granted and not even talking to her, that he is practically pushing her into the arms of another man and causing her to sin.

Does a Christian wife have a choice? Of course she does. No one is holding a gun to her head and telling her to get into an affair or else. She's responsible for her own actions and will have to answer to God. The thing is, no Christian woman who is being shown agape love by her husband would even entertain the thought of an affair, emotional or otherwise. When her husband is meeting her needs, when he turns off the tv and takes a walk with her because he knows she likes to go for walks with him, when he pays her compliments and takes her out on dates, when he helps her with the children, when he buys her little gifts on days that aren't associated with a specific date, takes her to a movie that she likes, persues her (and only her) sexually, is in tune with her and attentive and asks how she's feeling, there's no way in H-E-Double Hockey Sticks that she's going to be even slightly vulnerable to some wolf in sheep's clothing that comes her way.

She just won't.


He Never Listens

There was a time when I seriously considered buying my q-tips from Costco so that I could get them IN BULK! I envisioned embarking on this endeavor in the hope that my husband would clean all the gunk from his ears (and there was a lot hence, the BULK part of my story) so that he would be able to hear what I had to say because surely that was part of the problem. It wasn't that he didn't want to listen to me, it was that he couldn't. I mean, isn't that right?

For years I talked and talked until my throat was raw and my husband just never got what I was feeling or needing from him. In fact, as soon as I opened my mouth he would shut down; turn on the television, walk into another room (forcing me to follow him), fall asleep, turn the conversation around to make it about him, think about something that had nothing to do with what I was saying or, even worse, say something like, "I don't want to talk about this right now!" (exclamation mark intended). I'm telling you he never heard me, never listened to what I was really saying, never validated my heart. I remember always feeling so bereft of any emotional connection with him which he would turn back on me by saying that I wasn't emotionally committed to our relationship.
Oy! I'm so very glad that we're not there anymore!

A good Christian husband listens to his wife when she talks to him. If he doesn't understand what she's saying, he lets her know and asks that she please explain it to him again. He stays present in the conversation, maybe even holds her hand or brushes her hair over her ear while she's talking. He focuses on her and the words she's speaking. He even takes an interest in her life by asking her questions. Whoa!
And I tell you what, something magical happens when a husband listens to his wife. She feels cherished and validated. She feels like her husband loves her and falls more deeply in love with him. She begins to respond positively to her husband because her heart feels safe with him. She wants to get closer to him; even physically closer.
Here's something interesting. The Chinese character, ting, which represents the verb “to listen" is significant in that it explains the difference between simply hearing and truly listening. It integrates representations of not only our ears, but of our eyes, our heart and the selfless act of undivided attention.
Men of God, your Lord gave you two ears. Begin to really listen to your wife.


For Better Or For Worse

I’m not really sure where our marriage problems started. Well, that’s not entirely true…I do know. They started before we even got married. Even though we were both Christians and desirous of a Christian marriage, both of us were wounded people and wounded people seem to gravitate towards other wounded people.

Actually, I thought marriage would make us better (I can hear you wincing through the computer). Surely when I married him he would know that I was totally committed to the relationship. Surely he would finally believe that I’d never cheated on him. Surely, when he saw how much money I was spending to give us a beautiful wedding, he would know that I really loved him.

Okay…who was I kidding? Well, if you have a lick of sense – which I’m sure you do – you already know the answer to that question. Suffice it to say, I didn’t have a very healthy respect for myself and I was afraid of being alone. Not good reasons to get married and yet I know I’m not the only woman to have done this. This is also part of my own arrested development which I’ll address in another post.

But you know it’s really sad when we take God’s perfect creation and distort it with what we believe about ourselves instead of embracing it with what He believes about us. And when our husband isn’t a safe place for our heart to rest in, those distortions become increasingly easier to believe even though we want to save our marriage.


Our Failing Marriage Kept Getting Worse

As believers, we know that God has a perfect plan for us, a plan of peace...to give us a future and a hope. My husband, Michael, and I believe this applies to every aspect of our lives ~ even our marriage. So why did ours end up in crisis? Why is yours?

Believe it or not, men and women both had a dream about what their marriage would be like and it never included the chaos that you may be in now. Despite the warm fuzzies that we both felt for one another when we were dating, our marriage didn't look anything like we thought it would or should for that matter. We both loved God and wanted Him to be at the center of our marriage, so why the tears, the fights, the craziness, the frustration? Because we kept doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results, this time. All we got were the same fights over and over again.

We wanted to have a biblical Christian marriage and so we sought marriage counceling, went on marriage retreats, read books on how to have a great marriage and listened to popular pastors speak on on the subject. We did get a few golden nuggets from time-to-time that seemed to help but only for a few weeks or months and then we just went right back to the insanity. Perhaps you've both experienced the same things.

For a moment, imagine all of the couples that you know who appear ~ on the outside ~ to be happily married. In fact, if they were to divorce you'd be totally shocked because you didn't even know they were having problems. Now stop and realize that, according to statistics, half of these marriages will end in divorce and the other half that does appear "successful" contain one or both partners that aren't really happy at all but they're staying together simply because they know that God hates divorce.

Not very encouraging.

Two years ago, Michael and I were in crisis. Our marriage kept getting worse to the tune of three separations, emotional and verbal abuse, filing for divorce and a restraining order. Just when we thought it was completely over, I found a christian marriage ministry that gave us the missing ingredient in our marriage; not more of the same re-packaged teachings that have been popular for these many years and the answer is a biblically-based and totally new paradigm.
God does have a perfect plan for your marriage, one that can bring about changes that you've never thought possible up to this point. Michael and I have been living this out for two years now and while we're still on the journey, our marriage is completely different from what it was before.

If we can do it ~ you can do it too!