How to Clean Up Nitpicking Imperfections in Your Spouse

Nitpicky Perfectionism - This post by Carmen Brown offers 3 ways to clean up and replace nitpicky perfectionism with our mates. Click to read more! #nitpicky #perfectionism #perfectionisticspouse #messymarriage #marriagematters #marriage #adultery #proactivespouse

Today, I’m excited to be joined by my next guest blogger in the “Spring Clean Your Marriage” series, Carmen Brown. Her story will move you in powerful ways to see the destructiveness of nitpicking your spouse’s imperfections! See her bio below to find out more about her and her ministry.

I was alone in my bedroom. I could hear the pounding of the rain.  With the seal opened just a couples of inches, the cool wind was coming in. My eyes were nearly swollen shut, but I could still see my sheer white curtains gently moving with the rhythm of the wind.

Nitpicky Perfectionism - This post by Carmen Brown offers 3 ways to clean up and replace nitpicky perfectionism with our mates. Click to read more! #nitpicky #perfectionism #perfectionisticspouse #messymarriage #marriagematters #marriage #adultery #proactivespouse

The smell of rain was refreshing to my weary soul and it was eagerly trying to bring a slight glimmer of hope to my spirit.

Rain often reminds me of those hard days in my adolescent years. I was raised near agricultural land, so for me the smell of fresh rain has always had a tinge of renewal to it. From afar you can sense the soil becoming rich. Those rainy nights would encourage me to start new the next day, just like the soil was becoming renewed through the moisture.

As I sat alone against the wall there in my master bedroom, I stared at my neatly made, empty bed. Feeling like I could barely hold my body up as my fingers would clench through the carpet, the outburst of anger, sorrow, and pain came rushing through again as I took in another deep breath of fresh air that was coming from the outside.

How could I start new the next day after this?!

Every fear I had, had just unraveled in one night.

Just an hour before, my husband had walked out of our home.

My last sight of him was looking through the entry door as he sat in his truck, his head bowed down to the steering wheel with his hands gripping on it as he cried. Even through the dark night, with a busted street light out and the rain coming down aggressively, I could still see him cry.

I will never forget that night putting the kids to bed with him, then walking into our dining room where he said those dreadful words, “We need to talk.”

[bctt tweet=”In that moment, the knots in my stomach that I had for a few months of wondering if he was having an affair went to a vomiting feel of confirmation that it was real. Find out what happened next in Carmen’s story at MM!” username=”BethSteffaniak”]

Every thought. Every fear. Was real.

Little details of the what, when, and why were given that night. I immediately went into a daze when he began to say the words, “I am sorry Carmen but ….”

To this day, the majority of what I remember is of me finishing his sentences throughout the twenty-minute conversation we had before he left our home.

Him: I am sorry Carmen but ….

Me: You are leaving me for someone.

Him: Yes, how do you know?

Me: Silence.

Him: There is something else, I need to tell you….

Me: She’s pregnant.

Him: Yes. I am so sorry but I need. ….

Me: You feel it’s best to be with her. (Not a question, just an acknowledgement)

Him: Yes.

Me: Just looked at him in the eyes and cried. “But God can restore us, you just need to believe with me, that’s all… just believe with me.”

Him: I already made my decision.

Me: Took a deep breathe, “The baby is a girl”.

Him: We just found out, how do you know?

Me: With a gut wrenching pain. “I had a dream recently. I thought it was for us but now I see it’s not.”

That night was the beginning of two major stories in my life.

  1. The story of a long heartbreaking divorce.
  2. The story of me transforming as a future wife.

What I didn’t know was how much these two stories would intertwine with each other. How God would guide me through the path of forgiveness, then to the path of freedom in marriage.

Less than a year later from that night, we were divorced.

Then one night when seeking God to take away the pain of unforgiveness toward my now ex-husband for the adultery and the pain that came with it, the Lord showed me something: I had to forgive him.  

That also meant asking my ex-husband for forgiveness.

[bctt tweet=”What I didn’t know was how much these two stories would intertwine with each other. How God would guide me through the path of forgiveness then to the path of freedom in marriage. @Marriedbygrace #SpringCleanYourMarriage” username=”BethSteffaniak”]

Ok, I know some of you (probably, most of you) are saying, “What?! You asked him to forgive you?!”

Yes, I was to ask him for forgiveness. Here’s why…

Before the adultery transpired, many times I threw his imperfections into his face.

When he would tell me he was struggling with things in life, I would shout, “Man up, get over it and do what you got to do.”

When he would tell me, “I need you to be my wife and hear me, just listen to me.”

Because of my own shame of not knowing how to be a wife, I would shout, “Listen, to what? Excuses!”

Was adultery wrong? Absolutely!

Were my actions wrong? Absolutely.

Did I want to measure his offense to be more than mine and make it only about me forgiving him? Absolutely!

But, I knew better. God spoke to me that night and it changed everything about me as a person and as a wife.

Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.  —Luke 6:38 NIV

That season of pleading to God about forgiveness for someone else led me to ask for forgiveness so that I could be free. That freedom brought healing, and in that healing I was able to marry again. Being freed from the past, meant transforming to become the wife the Lord has created me to be according to His Word

My focus on imperfections has become minimal and even forgotten.

Instead, my focus has been to build my husband up in the new marriage God gave me.

Three ways I have learned to “clean up” & let go of nitpicking at imperfections in my spouse …

1. Thinking about his feelings.

Imagine how much our spouse also has to learn to embrace us, be patient with us, and sacrifice for us. This is not a one-way street. I realized how easy it can be to be bothered by my husband’s habits or faults, but not realizing how much my husband also has to deal with my habits and faults, and yet I expect him to be sensitive toward me.

2. Praying for the Lord to teach me how to love my spouse as He loves him.

After this devastating situation, I knew I never wanted to provoke emotional division again, so I sought God as to how He wanted me to love my husband.

3. Learning about the power of our tongues.

Reading about the power of our tongues in the Bible and through encouraging books of how to speak to our spouses, I began to live it out. Though I’m not perfect, I now see how different my tongue is and how natural it is for me to encourage my spouse.

What is God speaking to you about your marriage?

What imperfections does God want you to let go of?

How does He want you to embrace your spouse today?

Whatever it is, I pray you do as He speaks to you. Our spouses are not just another person in our lives. God has made us one with them.

As I write, I am reminded of the scripture:

He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church, for we are members of his body.  —Ephesians 5:28-30

Love your spouse for no one hates their own body, feed and care for the body and love just as Christ loves me and you.


 

What are some imperfections in your spouse that you need to let go of to God? 

 

Which of the three ways that Carmen offered do you most want to try in your marriage, and why?

 

Carmen Brown blogs at marriedbyhisgrace.com. Through her walk with Christ as a wife and mom of five, she actively writes to women who are desiring to build their home with the word of God. Her passions involve staying connected with her family and developing content that will help and encourage new Christian Bloggers. You can connect with Carmen on her blog, Instagram,Twitter, and Pinterest.


Be sure to join me next week in the “Spring Clean Your Marriage” series, when Julie Loos will be sharing how to “clean up” & cut out ruminating, pouting and arguing in marriage! You won’t want to miss it! Check out the image below to see the other fine bloggers joining me in this series …

Spring Clean Marriage - In this blog series, you'll discover ways to clean your marriage and attitude toward your spouse. Click to find out more! #marriagematters #godlyspouse #messymarriage #springclean #springcleanyourmarriage #attitude #conflictsinmarriage


Check out my (Beth’s) first published Bible study! Click the image below to go directly to Amazon to find out more about it!Ephesians Bible Study - Click the link to head to Amazon to find out more about this powerful Bible study on Ephesians. #Biblestudy #Bible #Bibleverses #Scripture #quiettime #devotional #Godsword #studyscripture

Here are some other lovely linkups I join – Inspire Me MondayKingdom BloggersLiterary Musing MondaysTea and Word TuesdayPurposeful FaithTell His StoryRecharge WednesdayPorch Stories Linkup, Welcome Heart, Worth Beyond Rubies WednesdaySitting Among FriendsDestination InspirationTune in ThursdayHeart EncouragementGrace and Truth Faith and Friends Faith on Fire FridayFresh Market Friday, and DanceWithJesusFriday

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27 responses to “How to Clean Up Nitpicking Imperfections in Your Spouse”

  1. Carmen, thank you for this poignant and startling account of your heart break–and your bold obedience to God. I’m sure God will use your story to impact marriages for good.

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    1. Thank you so much for your encouragement! My prayer is for my testimony of transformation in marriage is to give encouragement to women, with God all things are possible.

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  2. Thank you so much Beth for allowing me to share my words here! You have blessed me with your support and encouragement!

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    1. Thank YOU, Carmen! It’s been my pleasure to share your very transparent, vulnerable, and convicting post, my friend! I know you’ve probably shared your story on your blog, but it’s such a brave thing to share anywhere. So I feel very honored and grateful that you chose to share it on my space as well. Hugs to you!

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  3. Carmen, wow…your honesty in relating your story is heroic, and I am sure you have helped many, many people through this.

    You inspired a sonnet. Hope you like it!

    It’s funny how so many things
    don’t really matter in this place;
    of all the stuff that cancer brings,
    the least expected’s grace.
    I wish I had known years ago
    that my haughty eyes of pride
    would nearly strike a killing blow
    to the spirit of my bride.
    Somehow we made it past the worst
    but no thanks, for sure, to me;
    then illness came, and I wasn’t cursed
    but could open my eyes and see.
    I wouldn’t go back, I’ll make that plain;
    I’m a better man, for circling the drain.

    Like

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words and beautiful words in the sonnet. “I wasn’t cursed, but open my eyes and see” Isn’t is a wonderful thing to be able to see what God wants us to see!

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  4. Wow! Such an encouragement to read these words this morning. Thank you for the reminder to consider my husbands feelings before I speak. And to continue to pray for him and for us.

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    1. So glad this was encouragement for you! I pray you see you receive all that God has for you both through your perseverance in prayer.

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  5. Thank you, Carmen, for sharing your story. These are powerful truths!

    I can relate to your experience of realizing you had your own sin to repent of in the face of your husband’s hurtful actions. I clearly remember the moment God opened my eyes to my own need for forgiveness. It’s quite the wake-up call! But, oh, how sweet the forgiveness through Christ and the freedom that results!

    The 3 ways you focus on building your husband up are total game-changers. They require ongoing intention, but the resulting rewards in relationship are worth the effort and commitment.

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    1. Yes! Absolutely worth the effort and commitment! There will be days that it feels like it’s been forever without results but in God’s timing all things will come to the light and be such a transformation through our obedience to the Lord for our marriages.

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  6. Carmen, such a heart-wrenching, soul-stirring, and wife-freeing post. All three of the ways to clean up nitpicking resonated with me, particularly learning about the power of the our tongues. I know life and death is in the tongue and I’m familiar with the power of words because I’ve been hurt or encouraged in these ways by others. Yet, it’s so easy to not see the part our own words play in our marriage and how they affect our husband. Thank you for your words of wisdom.

    Like

    1. Thank you Karen so much taking the time to read this and to encourage me with your words! You are so right, we are familiar with the power of the tongue because of what has been transpired to us but yet we forget so easily. This darn flesh…..lol But yet God, His mercy for us…. just awes me.

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  7. Such a heart wrenching story. I am so grateful for you sharing this today as well as your healing, restoration and accountability. It’s so easy for us to see our spouses faults but not our own. A much needed read for me.

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    1. Thank you my dear friend. I am very guilty of seeing more of my own husbands faults than of my own. When I do noticed how I have reacted or treated my hubby for something and realize he never said a word of it, I feel so convicted but I am so blessed for the Lord to remind me I can change it and I can ask for forgiveness. Have a beautiful day my friend!

      Like

  8. Carmen, your story is powerful, tender, and so hope-filled. Thank you for sharing your soul. Your words are sure to hit home for many …

    Beth … you’ve gathered superb marriage writers in this series.

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    1. Thank you so much for your kind words today! I am encouraged by them. My prayer is to give my testimony in humbleness and to war for wives and marriages in prayer mightily.

      Like

  9. I’m visiting from Kristin’s Porch Stories. Thanks so much for sharing your story, Carmen. It’s so easy to get frustrated with the everyday irritations. I was just reminded again this week to put them in their proper perspective, forgive as I have been forgiven, and focus on the bigger picture. I’m often convicted, too, that I’m sure I have just as many irritating habits, yet my husband rarely points them out. Even though I learned these things long ago, I still have to have refresher courses. 🙂

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    1. Forgive as I have been forgiven! Wow, that just gave me chills. I can just vision what Christ did for us. what a beautiful reminder and conviction for me today. Thank you for taking the time to read this and leave your experience. We can all learn and feed from each other the glory of God!

      Like

  10. Carmen, thank you for sharing your story and giving God the glory in your story of heartbreak, healing and the power of God’s grace in your story of divorce and re-marriage. I know that God has led me in my second marriage in seeing how I too learned many hard lessons from my first one. God has the power to restore our hearts in so many ways! #destinationinspiration linkup

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  11. Even when we’re sinned against in terrible ways, there are things God wants us to see about ourselves. I have had to learn some of those hard lessons, too. But what hope you have pointed to when we’re willing to do that! Thanks for sharing your story, Carmen.

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  12. Carmen,

    Thank you for your vulnerability and being an example to all of us. Your willingness to look at your part is impressive.

    Yikes, you have penetrated my heart. Even after 31 years of marriage, I still need to clean up and quit my nitpicking. I will start right now but sending an encouraging text to my hubby.

    I am so glad this post was shared on Grace & Truth.

    Blessings,

    Maree

    Like

    1. I wanted to let you two ladies know. I will be featuring this article tomorrow on Grace & Truth Link-Up. Maree

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      1. That’s wonderful news! I’ll make sure Carmen hears about this too, Maree Dee! You’ve blessed us both!

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        1. Honestly, You blessed me the most! Hopefully, my husband too. I am struggling with this right now.

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  13. Wow, Carmen. There are some hard truths here. After going through a hard divorce myself (over a decade ago), I could see some of our story in yours. I knew I didn’t handle it well back then. I don’t know anyone who can gracefully handle their husband leaving them for another woman. But I love that, with God’s help, we can come out stronger on the other side.

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  14. God is into transformation – I always thought it was my man in plaid who needed it most! I had to get over myself and recognize that God loved him as much as He loved me (oh brother, what did that say about me? perish the thought) 31 years and things are better – not because he changed, but I continue to. love your story, Carmen and how God is using you. I mean, 5 kids? Bless you. And come visit. We live near the ocean – for a good couples getaway.

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  15. What a touching story. I often pray that God will help me to love and respect my husband in the ways that he wants to be loved and respected. And yet I never thought of praying for God to help me love my husband as He loves him. I know little differences can make huge impacts. Many Thanks 8)

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