Marriage: Not for the Faint of Heart (part 2)

By Tish Hedger

Marriage is NOT for the faint of heart…. Here are six more powerful marriage practices we MUST incorporate. 5) When you have been short, irritable, or disrespectful do not entertain self-justifying thoughts, apologize IMMEDIATELY.  This is your flesh trying to minimize the reality of your sinfulness.  The more time goes by the more momentum our self-justification can gain. In the beginning of marriage I would lay in bed, under such conviction that I needed to apologize and I would lie there and count in my head, “okay on 3 I’m going to apologize.  1..2……………………okay really Tish on 3. 1…2………..3….ahhhhh!  Okay I’m just gonna do it 1…2…3.” Then I’d roll over and mumble “I’m sorry” Fortunately I had an open husband that would respond to my puny apology and we could move forward.  Now if I feel the conviction I need to apologize, I do it immediately.  If we are not face to face I’ll call him, and if he can’t answer because he’s in a meeting I’ll text.  It is so healthy for us and this shows such love and respect to our husbands. 6) How do you handle tension when you can’t address it immediately?  We’ve all been there.  We find ourselves in a frustrating place with our spouse but we are, ironically walking into church or into dinner with friends and can’t talk right then.  Make a decision to turn your heart away from your anger or hurt and check in quickly with your spouse and say something like, “I know we can’t talk this out right now, but I want you to know that I love you so much and am so thankful for you in my life.”  This will help guard us from moodiness or sulking.  This also keeps our heart soft towards our husbands.  This is true love in action and builds the muscle of self –control showing our emotions that they don’t get to run the show. 7) Make a habit to share with your spouse how God is convicting and challenging you.  This builds accountability into our lives, it cultivates great intimacy with our spouse, while opening up spiritual conversation. 8) When our husbands are being insensitive or short with us, offense can quickly rise up.  The truth is life is hard and we all battle fatigue, temptation, and sin.  Instead change your perspective and see the spiritual, physical, or emotional need that is there.  Joshua and I ask each other often, “Babe what do you need today?” or “What do you need from me today?”  Christ will bless us when we put our spouses needs above your own. 9) When you confront sin or a mistake never do it while you are frustrated or in selfishness.  Part of marriage is that we look out for each other’s blind spots.  We speak truth to each other in love.  This can be so very beneficial as you both continue to grow in faith, however Satan will try to hijack this process. It is of utmost importance that you do an honest scan for selfishness in your heart.  The only time to confront sin is when we are bringing it to light only out of love for our spouse.  Wait until you have mastered your frustration or until you are in complete humility of heart.  I often have waited until the next day or even a few days. 10) When you are hurting, confused, weary, struggling with despair, depression, anxiety, grief, or burn out do not go to your spouse first.  Make a habit of pouring out your heart first to your Creator.  Take your neediness to him before your husband.  Husbands are a great blessing, but they make crummy gods.  If we first take our neediness to them we will be disappointed and they may feel overwhelmed.  Allow God to be ultimate in your life. Above all cultivate intimacy with your Creator.  Joshua is my husband and the love of my life, but death will separate us one day.  When death closes my eyes their final time on this earth I will open them again and be face to face with the love of my eternity.  Man cannot be the fulfillment of our hearts desires; only Christ fills all in all.  Continue falling in love with your creator and intimacy with your spouse will be an outflow. “For your maker is your husband, the Lord of hosts is his name…” Isaiah 54:5

Published December 2, 2013

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Tish Hedger

Tish is a counselor at Emmaus Counseling in Kansas City. She is married to Joshua Hedger, pastor of Emmaus Church in Kansas City. They have a two-year-old son named Asa and an adopted 17-year-old daughter named Trisha. Tish writes for FTC, Flourish and Emmaus and speaks at women's conferences and retreats.
You can follow Tish's writing at her personal blog, on Flourish, and at For The Church.