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.
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?
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)
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.
- The story of a long heartbreaking divorce.
- 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 …
Check out my (Beth’s) first published Bible study! Click the image below to go directly to Amazon to find out more about it!
Here are some other lovely linkups I join – Inspire Me Monday, Kingdom Bloggers, Literary Musing Mondays, Tea and Word Tuesday, Purposeful Faith, Tell His Story, Recharge Wednesday, Porch Stories Linkup, Welcome Heart, Worth Beyond Rubies Wednesday, Sitting Among Friends, Destination Inspiration, Tune in Thursday, Heart Encouragement, Grace and Truth, Faith and Friends, Faith on Fire Friday, Fresh Market Friday, and DanceWithJesusFriday
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