Friday, January 29, 2010

God's Insight Into My Marriage

Yesterday I wrote about the price of my dreams and promised that I would share what God recently showed me about my marriage. Last week things came to a head and we ended up in his car talking things out while the kids were inside the house and couldn't hear. (You do what you can for privacy in our house.) I had told him I wanted to "go over our calendars" which was really just code for "I need to tell you all the things I need to do and places I need to be and I need you to agree with it and be here for the kids."

He saw right through my little plan and called me on it. "I'm not your nanny," he said. There was contempt in his voice when he said it, pent-up anger that we needed to deal with. So we did. And I was honest with him for the first time about how I felt. I took off my brave, chin-up, I-can-do-this face and told him how scared I was about all that I have on me and how I am struggling with being away from my kids and not the physically and mentally present mom I once was. I told him that this is not the normal I want. That it might have to be our normal for awhile because of commitments I have made-- but it is not the life I am ascribing to permanently. I want to write, but I want to do so at a sloooower pace. I want to find a better balance.

Our talk softened him but left me a bit rattled. He seemed buoyed by hearing my heart. I think he thought his wife was changing on him and leaving her family behind in the process. He needed to know that-- while my life doesn't reflect it right now-- they are still my number one priority. While he seemed to feel better after our talk in the car, the next morning I was still chewing on things. Did I need to stop doing something now? Was it asking too much of my family to wait til summer when things will settle down? And what about my marriage? I didn't want damage to occur while I looked the other way.

Knowing that my husband is not my god-- I went to my God. I could hear my husband's opinion and take it to heart, but I needed to hear from the One who is all-knowing, the One who created me, and him, and our children and who knows us all better than we know ourselves. And so I went to my prayer closet (the shower) and poured out my heart before Him. I told Him to tell me what to do. I asked Him what was wrong with Curt and me and what I should do about it.

As He answered, I listened. He showed me that I needed to not quit or change anything. He assured me that this was a finite situation: there was a beginning to it and there will be an end. It won't always be this crazy and we can take steps to make sure it never gets this way again. In the meantime, I need to see my commitments through and trust that Curt being home to take up my slack is one of the blessings that's been hidden in this job loss trial.

And then He clearly showed me what's wrong with our relationship. "It's out of whack," He impressed on my heart. "When Curt said, 'I'm not your nanny,' it was because he was feeling like you were expecting him to be your helper. And that's not the way I designed your marriage to work. You are to be his helper. So change your attitude. Stop expecting him to help you and start asking nicely. Don't take advantage of his presence in the house. Look for ways you can still be his helpmeet, even though he seems very capable. Now humble yourself and go tell him what I just told you."

So I went to Curt and told him. He visibly relaxed as I spoke, the defensive bristle I have noticed whenever he sees me coming softened. He smiled and said, "I know this is coming from God because this isn't something you would ever come up with on your own!" And he was right. I don't often think about being his helper. I do tend to want him to help me. How easily I get it backwards.

And so I am trying to do what God asked of me-- looking for ways to help him, pulling back on how much I ask for his help unless I really need it, giving him space and time to do what he needs to do as he looks for a job instead of pouting because I have a lot to do and he's not there to pick up my slack. He wasn't designed to be my helper, I was designed to be his. For some of you that is going to really bother you to hear me say. But don't shoot the messenger. These are not my words, but God's. (Genesis 2:18, I Corinthians 11:8-9) It's what He's asking of me, and maybe of you too. I don't know your situation. But I know that for me, seeking His insight made all the difference in a very tense situation with my husband. I am determined to not give Satan a foothold as we walk through his unemployment coupled with one of the busiest times in my life. If that's my goal then I have to be willing to live life according to God's design and not the world's.

Going to God really changed my perspective. I am glad I went to Him immediately rather than waiting like I usually do. He's a great marriage counselor. I need to remember that in the future.

James 4:10, "Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up."
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sagreen125 said...

that was awesome post. to remind me, even when my hubby may be home on vacation. to ask him to do things and not assume.

Bonita said...

I appreciate your brutal honesty and your insights. We have been in a simliar situation. When I lost my publisher everything kind of went haywire and I have so much on me right now that I can hardly see straight sometimes. In one respect it's good, but in another it angers me that I can't be the wife and mom that I was. I'm in survival mode.

I've found myself expecting so much "help" from both my husband and my teenagers because I feel completely overwhelmed. The other day I was lamenting all my "needs" to God in the shower (me too!) and He posed a question. "Why don't you ask me what you really need?" I was making a lot of assumptions about my need for help before really going to God and asking Him for His perspective. Maybe I didn't need all the help I thought I did. Maybe He was going to provide me with the strength and wisdom to handle things instead of expecting others to help.

Again, thanks for sharing. I need to get things back in line to being the helpmate instead of the one expecting the help. I'll make sure that John knows this wisdom came from the MBT too so he can thank you personally. LOL

Christi said...

Thanks for sharing what you've learned. This issue has been a struggle for me too - my husband has been officially unemployed for a year; before that a builder with not a lot to do as the economy tanked. So he's been home A LOT.

Good things to remember!

Stephenie said...

Thank you for sharing. You have given me a fresh perspective on my marriage. My husband has been working an unpredictable schedule. It's the nature of his job in the winter months. I've been expecting a lot of him when he is home, and not doing a very good job of asking what he needs. That will be changing.

Robin said...

God's word in action displayed in your life... A beautiful thing to behold. You go girl....Love that man.

Mary Y said...

Excellent post, Marybeth. What a great reminder to be a true helper to our husbands. Learning to anticipate my own husband's needs has been an amazing thing in our marriage as well.

Shelley said...

Thank you so much Marybeth. God definitely used you to touch my heart. My husband lost his job last June, which has been very hard on my "never been out of work in his life" husband. I would get upset with him when I would go to work and things I felt should get done at the house didnt get done. But now I realize that they have always been my to do before and I have been selfish and not a very good helper to him. Thanks for allowing God to use you.

tiggerdaisy said...

That's a Word that should be transformed into a message.

Prayers and blessings,

Danielle said...

Oh, ouch! I was just ranting to my mother earlier that I left the house with no dishes in the sink and I come home to some. Ack! I was like, "Are you kidding me!" My attitude reared its ugly head and I got fed up.

My husband asks me sometimes what he can do to help, and instead of telling him, sometimes, I just expect him to know. I mean, he does live in the same house that I do. He should see what needs to get done. But, men are not like we are. I am learning this and your post today just reinforced that even more.

I truly need to learn to ask, no assume. Thank you, Wendy, for being so transparent with this topic. I think it should be spoken of more!

Kelly said...

This was very good to read...a good wake up husband is on swing shift right now and I work days and we don't see each other much during the week...I come home from work and see things that I think he should have done while he was home in the morning..but resentment isn't going to get me anywhere..thanks for sharing what God told you about you being the one to help your husband...praying for extra grace and strength for you right now..
also, I am really excited to read your novel The Mailbox when it comes out...I love the cover!

Jodi aka One Blessed Mama said...


Just what I needed to hear. Thank you so much for being the messenger! God is pleased... Bless You!


Lisa V. said...

You’re right, before you even said it, I thought to myself, “I don’t like hearing this.” The idea that I was created to be my husband’s helper and not the other way around. I bristled a bit. I am in a situation where I find myself resentful of my workload and not getting the help I need. But God has been pressing on my heart prior to end of last year to set a resolution to Serve my husband. Because you see my husband is a good man. From the day I married him, I knew God put him into my life, that he was chosen for me. And I find myself lately taking my husband for granted (and also he of me). But the issue is that God is telling ME to serve my husband and let Him take care of what He wants my husband to be. It’s tough though Mary. Even though I’m “on board” with serving my husband, am I really? Because far as I can tell, I still have this resentment in me. But I read further in your blog today and there is the next answer. Have I brought it to God? No. And there you go. I can’t do it on my own. Just like your husband said to you that he knew it wasn’t coming from you. So Mary you’ve shaken some sense into me. I’m bringing this to our Glorious, Loving, Wise, Awesome God. Thanks Mary. You’re a sweetie.

Bethany from Confessions of an Organized Homeschool Mom said...

Preach it, Sistah!! I needed to hear all of that today. Thanks for sharing such a personal topic.

Nicole O'Dell said...

Oh, dear. I'm going to have to chew on that for a while. You know how you sometimes wish you hadn't been hit over the head with a hard truth? That's how I feel right now.

I needed this...better yet, my hubby needed me to need this.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if it's all right, Marybeth. I think there must be a balance but I agree on the fact that the worst thing to do to your husb and in the present circumstances is to make him feel just your helper. He is your partner and needs your help but you have the right to have his help as well as long as it's balanced..:-)
the best of luck!

Debra said...

Thank You for sharing. You are so completely honest and forthright. Continued prayers my friend. Isn't it wonderful we can turn to him and ask for his wisdom on any situation in our lives.

Melissa Milbourn said...

Elvis is not your nanny. I'm just sayin'. ha.

I was actually so convicted by this that I had to apologize to Denny for an argument, I mean discussion, that we had this morning.

Victoria said...

Well huh. Sounds like the Lord was speaking to more than just you that day in the shower. Praying for you and that God will help me with my I-deserve-it attitude. I have not been much of a helper at all, and FULL of complaints.... Time to appreciate my husband. Thanks for your humility--it has brought me back to my own. God bless.

Mari said...

Awesome insights. Thanks for being real. My husband has been unemployed for almost 6 months now, and is looking for work. We are looking into many things, but I get very fearful and anxious about how our life is going to turn out. I let my circumstances dictate how my emotions will follow and how happy and content I am. I need to get up from this computer and do what you did, go sit with Jesus and ask Him what I need to do. What His plans are for us.
Thanks again for was a blessing to me.

Flamingo Mama said...

you are very brave for being so honest about such tough stuff.

God will honor that.

Without being in your situation and without being God (ha), it does seem like your increased workload coinciding with your hubby's job loss is to coincidental to not be from Him.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with "anonymous" above that husbands and wives need to help each other. I know you are being the messenger, and you are correct, that IS God's Word...He did create us to be helpers to our husbands, but the Word does not say therefore, husbands don't have to help their wives.

We are to be partners. The two become ONE. I agree with asking rather than assuming, but I don't think I agree that we are to do all the helping and they don't have to do anything.

My husband works.
I also work. AND I take the kids to school, pick them up from school, attend all their school functions as well as take them to sports practices and games. I am responsible for the meal planning, the grocery shopping, the budgeting, the banking, the cooking, the dishes, the laundry, dry cleaning, house cleaning, the yard work (yes), scheduling all repairmen that we may need (phone, plumber, etc), my own car maintenance...and the list goes on. I just don't see that husbands aren't supposed to help their wives.

Marybeth said...

To the two anonymous commenters, at no point in this post did I say that my husband didn't have to help me. If you knew my husband you would know he helps me a TON. The point of this post wasn't to talk about what my husband does or does not do-- it was about MY attitude, MY perspective. God has a lot to teach me that had nothing to do with my husband.

Anonymous said...

Preach it Marybeth!! Unfortunately a lot of women don't like to hear God's truth about their role as wife. Not saying that husbands should not do anything in their marriage or home. To me it is a self-centered, pride, and attitude issue.

If Marybeth's post bothers you then maybe you should be on your knees and seeking God's wisdom.

Anonymous said...

Mommy! Even though you may be "distracted" sometimes with your writing, please know that we are all very proud of you in everything that you do! I love you very much, and don't feel bad. We understand that you have to write and speak and that those to things are your passions, so we love to be able to be your cheerleaders! (: LOVE YOU!

Marybeth said...

Ok proud mama moment. What a sweet girl I have-- thanks Ash for your words of encouragement. I can always count on you to cheerlead for me!! And I will cheerlead for you whenever you pursue your passions!

Wish you were here... daddy just made a big bowl of popcorn!

Amy Carroll said...

Wow, Marybeth... I loved the last two posts. Thank you for continuing to speak truth about this amazing roll we get as wives and mothers. You are loved for keeping it real.

Ashley's comment is precious! Paste that to your forhead for those tough days.


Amber Ford said...

Thank you Marybeth. With my husband (still) unemployed, and me being the never-resting-always-productive-self, I tend to assume my husband's there to help since he isn't employed and of course, has nothing better to do. ;-)
This post was an echo of God's ever present whispering.