Early on in my marriage, when we were full-throttle in the messes of our own making, the last thing I wanted to do was admit my part in those messes.
And the more I ran from taking responsibility and the more I pointed the finger of blame at my husband for “driving me to make those messes,” the more our messiness in marriage grew.
In this last post of the “Resurrect Me” series—on how to bring our addictions and bad habits to the Lord and leave them there—I want to unpack some important insights from James 4:9-10 . . .
“Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.”
As I mentioned earlier in this series (see this post), my marriage messes were ultimately idols and addictions that took over my heart, driving it away from my husband and most importantly from God.
[bctt tweet=”Some of the addictions in my life could have been overlooked by the casual observer. Those are the worst kind because they are so subtle and easy to ignore. #addiction #idol #Godmatters” username=”BethSteffaniak”]
My addictions and idols were . . .
- Letting my devotion and attention to my children trump and overtake my devotion and attention to God and to my husband. This is so very common for young moms, especially ones in challenging marriages! Can you relate?
- Focusing addictively on my anger towards my husband. This was ultimately demonstrating that I did not believe God was in control. #majorfaithfail
- Running after the affirmation that my accomplishments in motherhood and ministry would bring. At that time a good pat on the back became the proverbial “high” I longed for and addictively sought.
- Habitually unleashing my anger on my hubby through arguments and venting could also bring a false sense of control and superiority. This too was intoxicating! #asuglyasitgets
I had to realize that I was destroying my marriage with these sinful habits before I would give them up. This called for two very important, yet simple, steps to find healing through grieving. I’m hoping the steps I took (and take) will be a great roadmap for you as well.
2 Important Steps for Healing Your Marriage
1. Grieve for the way you have hurt your spouse and your marriage.
Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. James 4:9
For me, this first meant abandoning the blame game. The game where I focused on my husband’s negative contribution rather than my own. It also involved recognizing that my sin was poisoning my marriage.
The only power that playing the “victim card” afforded me was the power to lock myself behind walls of defensiveness and self-protection. The release from these prison walls always involves confession and apology. It’s the cure that hurts so good!
Question: What are some of the ways you have hurt your spouse and marriage? Pray for God to give you the courage to confess and apologize to your mate about every single one!
2. Humbly confess to God for all the ways you have sinned against your spouse.
Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. James 4:10
Don’t make this about your spouse another minute! God wants to know how you have sinned. He already knows exactly how your spouse has sinned against you.
Trust the Lord to do the convicting of your spouse, while you respond to His conviction of your heart. When you do, your new attitude will ironically serve to convict your mate much more than any harsh and judgmental word ever could!
Question: What are some of the reasons why you’ve hesitated to own and confess your sins to God in regard to your marriage? Trust the Lord to forgive and bring healing as soon as you drop your guard with Him.
Here’s how this works . . .
I began to replace the bitter venting I did in my head whenever my husband did or said something that angered me with humble confession (See that Push Pull Principle at play?). It will work the same way for you too!
My confession to my husband typically looks something like this . . .
“I was hurt by the tone you used with me earlier. And because I love you, I don’t want us to argue. I know that I’ve hurt you by my hateful tone and defensiveness. Will you forgive me?”
My confession to the Lord looks more like this . . .
“Father! Please help me! I am so angry at this man! But he has not done anything more sinful or ugly than I have at one time or another. Both of us are in need of Your grace and mercy, so please take my sinful and angry heart and soften it with Your love and grace. Help me to respond to Gary in caring and humble ways even though that feels like the hardest thing ever right now! But I know that You are walking with me into the fray, Lord! You are the Keeper of my heart! Help me to live out Your love to my husband in this painful moment.”
What doubts do you have about how God can use your grief and humility to set you free from addiction?
What stories can you share with us of how God used your grief and humility to set you free?
I want to give a special shout out to Trinity Community Church in Knoxville, Tennessee who hosted our Connect U. Marriage Workshop this past weekend. We had an incredible time! Thank you so much! 🙂
Here are some other lovely linkups I join – Inspire Me Monday, Literary Musing Mondays, Purposeful Faith, Tell His Story, InstaEncouragements Linkup, Recharge Wednesday, Worth Beyond Rubies Wednesday, Tune in Thursday, Heart Encouragement, Grace and Truth, and Faith on Fire Friday. [yikes-mailchimp form=”1″]
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