After joining a launch team for No More Perfect Moms, I committed to keeping it real on Pruning Princesses. If you only know about my good ideas, well, it misrepresents me and the Internet is full of pretty pictures that show only perfect things. I don’t want to add to the epidemic. Perfect may inspire but it rarely encourages. If I am honest, I am more encouraged when I visit a messy house than I am when a house is sparkling clean. Keeping it real helps us connect.
The topic for the blog hop for Hearts at Home today is imperfect marriages–the hardest and most delicate of the imperfects to be real about.
“My husband yelled at me for forgetting to pay a bill. I’m in the bathroom crying.”
“My wife claimed headache again tonight.”
“My husband never talks to me.”
“My wife spends all her free time chatting with people on the Internet.”
Yeah. We can’t blog or tweet or post on Facebook about our marriages the way we can about our shortcomings as a mom or a housekeeper. So mostly you only see the good things: the husband who insists on watching the kids so his wife can go out with friends, the wife who bought her husband a puppy. And if your marriage is struggling, those compliments, well they feel like arrows of jealousy piercing your heart because you feel like the only one with a difficult marriage.
Know this. Marriage is hard. For everyone at some point. You can’t determine the health of marriage by Facebook posts. I have a friend whose husband was regularly complimenting her on Facebook. He left her a month ago.
Marriage requires losing your selfishness and keeping your eyes fixed on Christ. But reading that previous sentence, well it doesn’t heal the pain of a hurting marriage. While I committed to keeping it real, today I won’t be sharing personally–not about how I struggle with letting my girls’ needs take precedence over my husbands or about how unreasonable expectations have hindered us. I started writing this post last night and my husband is out of town, and on this topic, he needs to read a post before I hit publish!
Instead, I will share three things that have helped me during seasons of difficulties.
First, know that you are not alone. And never let yourself believe you are. Find one or two friends who stand firm in their faith, who listen well, and who never gossip. Confide in them. Make sure these friends are women who pray, who will fight for your marriage and will never help you pick out your husband’s flaws (most of need no help in this area). Having friendly prayer warriors by you side in all seasons of a marriage will help keep Satan and selfishness away.
Second, find some resources that relate to your marital issues. It helps to connect with others (even just internet others) who have walked in your shoes. (Most of these resources can be found in chapter 5 of No More Perfect Moms)
- Broken Heart On Hold is a blog and a book by Linda Rooks who was separated from her husband for 3 years and has since had her marriage restored.
- www.laurabwilliams.com and www.refineus.org both offer stories and resources for marriages where one spouse had an affair. Refine Us has evolved into a full ministry too.
- www.tolovehonorandvacuum.com is a blog by Shelia Gregoire who offers regular advice for improving marriages in areas like communication, sex, how to handle ongoing conflicts, etc.
- Today’s Christian Woman has a whole list of articles on depression and marriage, whether it is you or your husband who struggles with it.
- Call Focus on the Family to find resources or receive a free counseling session at 1-855-771-HELP.
Third, when the flaws and shortcomings of your spouse loom larger than the gifts, pray. Pray prayers of thankfulness for any good thing you can think about your husband. Pray for every situation you can think of in his life: his health, his words, his business transactions, his family relationship. Use scripture to guide those prayers. Stormie Omartin’s book Power of Praying Wife is a tremendous resource in praying for you husband no matter what season you are in. And then, every day, try to do one unselfish thing to serve your spouse. These life-giving techniques will carry you through the difficult times.
I started to write hundreds of words about how marriage isn’t meant for our happiness but is designed for God’s glory. But really, since it was more of a soapbox than a spirit-led writing, I will stick to prayer today (For an excellent book on God’s view of marriage read John Piper’s This Momentary Marriage-free in PDF form). I will be praying for the marriages I can think of today because I know Satan delights in destroying marriages. How can I pray for you? Leave a comment or send me an email.