What Marriage is Teaching Me

By Annie Garman

Recently I called two friends and asked if we could get together for prayer and accountability.  I knew it wasn’t going to be much fun.  I mean, I would have much rather asked them to go to Applebees for a Triple Chocolate Meltdown, but I knew I needed this.  I needed to reach out and admit that I wasn’t doing okay and that I needed prayer.  It was the last thing on earth that I wanted to do–be vulnerable and share my sin struggles.  It’s a lot easier to put on like I’m strong and have things together.  It’s a lot easier to pretend like marriage is easy and never a struggle.

My friends counseled me late into the night, much later than stay-at-home moms should stay up.  They gave me tools for my toolbox, truths to chew on, and verses to savor (at one point I even asked for a pen and paper so I could take notes). They listened. They led me like a groping blind person who just needed to find her way.

Some of my notes that night included:

1. God is a great recycler.

God doesn’t waste our marriage struggles.  He uses them to expose our sin, humble us, and make us cling to Him like never before.

2. You can either be miserable or LET THINGS GO (!!).  Choose wisely.

3. Focus on loving instead of being loved. The question, “How can I make HIS life happy and peaceful?” should be on the forefront of your mind. (P.S. The flesh will HATE this activity and kick and scream like a toddler who has just had a toy stolen)

4. Put it in perspective. Your husband loves you, but is also a depraved sinner. You are too, by the way.

5. Trust God and respond lovingly when you feel you are being wronged. Look to Jesus for this example.

6. When you lean entirely on your husband to meet your need for attention, affection, affirmation, encouragement, you will most surely fall. He is not God.

7.  You need to practice saying the words, “Yes.  You are right.  I AM that sinful.”

8. You have equal opportunity in the relationship to set the tone/mood/thermostat. If he is headed down, you have the power to help him. And, by the way, helping him is the better choice than throwing a temper tantrum.

9. Sometimes we lose our way and need to ask for prayer. We need to be strong enough to admit weakness (I’m pretty sure Beth Moore came up with that quote and not me). It doesn’t help anyone when you pretend you have it together.

I’m thankful that I reached out for prayer and counsel when I felt the sting of relational stress recently.

What about you? Do you reach out to a trusted friend or do you try to cope alone? I understand both sides of this argument, but I would encourage you to find someone you can trust when marital stress begins to rub you raw. Ask God to help you have wisdom to know who to talk to and when.

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that the surpassing power belongs to GOD and not to us.” 2 Corinithians 4:7

Published October 6, 2014

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Annie Garman

Annie and her husband Colby live in Northern Virginia where Colby serves as the teaching pastor of Pillar Church. Before their church ministry days, they served for two years as IMB missionaries in Iceland. Annie spends her days taking care of her four daughters, writing and ministering at her local church. She shares about motherhood, mayhem, and the meaning of life from a place of transparency at anniebgarman.com.