Living In Understanding

You may know that on Tuesday nights, Michael & I facilitate a couple’s call for the marriage ministry that we’re involved in and that has saved our marriage. This past Tuesday we were working with a couple of which the husband regularly (over the past 24 years) isolates himself from being in relationship with his wife. This post is the actual transcript ~ with only some minor editing from me ~ of Michael’s conversation with him.

I was so taken by what he said that I knew I needed to post his words because they are vital in a husband and wife really understanding this process. Michael has been asked many times when it was that he actually “got it” and what that looked like for him; I’ve wondered the same myself. What follows not only addresses the hopelessness of isolation but also the beauty of what takes place in a marriage when a husband lives with his wife in understanding as God’s Word calls him to.

I love you so much, Michael…thank you for your willingness to walk this journey with me! Annalea (your BWE)


C.S. Lewis wrote about isolation and the pain and fear that surround it. He said that a man who chooses to live in isolation is a man who’s choosing to live in his own hell before he even gets there because in hell there’s no risk, there’s nothing but complete darkness; there’s no one there to love. And a man who chooses to love explicitly accepts the risk of loving and not being loved back. Isolation is born mainly out of a fear of the loss that’s guaranteed when you love and that’s a scary thing.

My arguments with Annalea were a mixture of me thinking she was wrong and that she didn’t know what love looked like and I did. That was on the surface. What it was really about was me thinking that if she’s right and I’m wrong then I’m really going to lose her and if she’s right and I’m not doing it right then there’s no reason for her to stay. And that was where a lot of my insecurity lay. How it showed up was me behaving as I’m right and she’s wrong and she needs to repent and change and get her act together and then she can be with me.

What I’m getting at is that I didn’t know how to love. I really wasn’t risking much by arguing with her and becoming angry because that’s just selfishness masked in love under my terms and being more concerned with my wants and needs being met by her. When I risk by putting my needs and feelings aside, I’m entering into the realm of real love and it is uncomfortable and it is scary and it is painful…all of those things that C.S. Lewis wrote about because when you’re risking…your feelings are going to get hurt and there’s going to be times when ~ even if you’re right ~ you’re setting aside your right to be right in order to bring healing to your wife’s heart.

Look guys, most of the times, our wives are right. 99.9% of the time Annalea was right and if there was a time when I was right ~ so what! Her feelings being honored and validated were more important. For once in our lives, we’re choosing to lay down our lives and ourselves; our feelings and our needs in the hope that it will all pay off. That’s the scary part. That’s love.

One of the things that I’d do with Annalea that would shift my attitude and mind was to recognize what I’d done or said to her, own it, validate her heart and apologize to her. Additionally, I began to recognize that what got me arguing with her in the first place was me thinking that she was wrong and needed to see things from my point of view. I’d remind myself that if I’d been the man that she needed me to be from the beginning we wouldn’t even be having this argument or these problems and this would always change my attitude towards her where before there was never enough room in my mind and heart to hear her heart and understand what she was truly needing.

My experience from being involved in this ministry and working with other couples and husbands is that there isn’t a man around (myself included) who can carry the two: meet his wife’s needs (listening to her heart and validate her feelings) and getting his wife to see things from his perspective and get his needs and feelings validated. I don’t know a man who’s that creative.

If we, as husbands, are so worried about the pain we’re going to experience in laying down our lives for our wife then we’re selling ourselves and our marriages short. The reward is being able to present our wives holy and blameless before the Lord and we do this by bringing healing to them. It’s through this sanctification process that we receive a happy, whole wife who’s experiencing all of these amazing things in her life that she’s never experienced before. Now how cool is that to know that God has given a husband the power to give this gift to our wives? In a sense, all we’re really doing is just trusting God that our wife isn’t our enemy ~ she’s our helpmeet calling us to be the mighty great man that God intended us to be; caring enough to help us get there. Finally, we get to experience oneness with our wives.

This is contrary to what a lot of men think of as “manly” which is to demand that our wives (verbally, emotionally, physically, etc.) be submissive. That’s what the enemy does; demands compliance and submission which isn’t love and that’s what I was doing with Annalea ~ the work of the enemy ~ saying to her, “Hey, I’m a good guy, a Christian, how dare you say I’m not doing it right!” I was fighting against God and against my wife when what they were both trying to show me what it really meant to be a lover of the Lord and a lover of her soul.

It’s two been two years since I started to live in understanding with my wife and I’m still learning how to do it and that’s a good thing. And as I live out my life with her and trust in God that this process works, more and more I’m enjoying the fruits of my labor with Annalea.

1 comment:

  1. June 13th 2009
    It is now 5:46 AM , watching the sun come up and been on your blog since 2AM.IT IS AWESOME!!!!!

    Now we can connect your faces to your voices .
    What an attractive couple you are :)

    I was thinking Annalea, WOULDN'T IT BE SO COOL IF WE COULD PUT EVERYONE IN FRONT OF A WEBCAM to talk.....But then I thought, as a wife I would want to "look" my best and then that throws the "relaxing in "old clothes" OR the "LET'S GETTING COMFY" idea right out the window..LOL LOL LOL
    :) Don is working again.....He has been working more often and going back out as soon as he is rested.....

    I figure I might as well put my insomnia to good use and reading your blog is perfect to make time fly..... !! :-)

    Michael and Annelea,
    We are sooooo impressed AND BLESSESD with what you and Michael have created and are creating WOW!!!!.

    We are so very proud of all the work you have done...

    For all of you out there wondering???

    Is this for real????

    Are these folks for real!! YES!!AGAIN "WE" say YES!!!

    And because they are real and
    Joel n Kathy's ministry is real, "everyone "is "real"...
    They help hurting couples breathe new life into their marriages.
    LIKE OURS!!!!

    Our marriage was ABSOLUTELY on the verge of DEATH. I FOUND THIS MINISTRY MARCH 15TH 2009 and in 90 days almost to the day, OUR MARRIAGE has been resurrected!!!

    Yes, there are bumps in the road , but in this ministry there are always "repairers" standing by ready to help.........

    My husband is NO longer abusing me after 7 1/2 years!!

    DON, IS changing EVERY DAY.

    We have loved getting to know you Michael and Annalea!!! ( We have grown to love you guys!!) Plus we love the other wonderful moderator, they are all our family now.....ALL of them along with J/K saved "US" and literally "saved" my sanity!!!

    MY husband DON is becoming a "new man in Christ",,,,He is becoming a new husband to ME!! WOW!!!!

    This site is FABULOUS!!!
    What a great "tie into" Joel and Kathy's ministry!!! Our prayer is that every hurting couple will reach out and join in this ministry, find all the help, love and support in J/K 's ministry so they too can be back on the road again to an OHM.... AN "Outrageously Happy Marriage". I remeber the first time I asked DON, " Don't you want an OUTRAGEOUSLY HAPPY MARRIAGE??? AND HE SAID, "WHERE DID YOU HEAR THAT , WHO SAID THAT TO YOU???" " I JUST SMILED ON THE INSIDE AND THOUGHT, " YOU WILL KNOW SOON ENOUGH." {WINK}

    We are out to CANCEL every atatck on marriages......AMEN AND AMEN!!!!!
    OK time to sleep ,
    I watched the sun come up. LOL



    Don n Joyce :-)

    I am just learning this whole "Blog" thing ........