On the last Friday of August, my husband and I decided to clear out some weeds in our yard. Unbeknownst to me, I picked up a batch of weeds “Poison Ivy,” hugging it ever so tenderly on the way to the yard waste bag. In the words of Julia Roberts, “Big mistake! BIG!”
Until this fateful day, I’d never had Poison Ivy. I didn’t know what to look for or ever worried about looking for this infectious beast! I just figured that at my 40 something age, I wasn’t allergic. Yeah, right.
My case of P.I. is going on its fourth week now and I’m still struggling a bit with itchiness. And, as with most difficult things God allows in my life, I’ve wondered what I can learn from this trial. Along with my welts, three truths emerged …
1. Ignored the Signs
I knew I had P.I. (Poison Ivy) but I refused to realize the seriousness of my problem. In the same way, we often ignore our marriage troubles, until our troubles infect and threaten to overtake our marriage. It’s often difficult to know where or when our marriage has crossed that dangerous line.
2. Tried to “fix things” on my own
During the first week of my P.I. infestation, I was trying all sorts of home remedies. You name it, if it was on the internet, I was trying it. I have to confess that some of those remedies I tried may have actually made my P.I. worse instead of better.
Isn’t that like most of us with marriage problems? We try to figure out how to fix our marriage troubles by ourselves and end up making matters worse. I finally realized that I couldn’t “fix” my P.I. on my own and called the doc for a prescription, which leads to my next point …
3. Waited too long before calling an expert
Apparently, even the typical regimen of Prednisone and antihistamines wasn’t going to cut it in my case. A few days later, my legs and left arm went from lots of small spots to huge heated blobs of ITCHINESS! So on Labor Day, my husband and I spent three hours in Urgent Care waiting for “the quick fix” – a cortisone shot. They told me it would take 24 hours to feel the effects of the shot. No such luck! I was in for the long haul.
In the same way, we can wait too long before going to a counselor with marriage problems—making the uphill climb back to recovery all the steeper. Even the experts can’t wave a magic wand over a marriage that is fractured and full of poison. If you’ve waited too long to work through the problems, you’ll double or even triple the time and effort it will take to get back on track, even with the help of a professional. But don’t despair. Look to God for the strength and perseverance you’ll need to rebuild your ailing marriage.
Bottom Line – If you’re sensing that the problems in your marriage are getting worse even after several attempts to “fix” or change things, don’t hesitate—head for a trusted, Christian counselor. There’s no shame in this. Sometimes we all need a little help finding our way toward healing.
“Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” Proverbs 15:22 (NIV)