Today, I share wisdom I learned from friends.
A couple of good friends of mine have divorced. What I gleaned from them astounded me.
Deep in the middle of the slamfest, before divorces were final, my friends were hurling insults and accusations. The other spouse was worthless and had no redeeming qualities whatsoever. They never loved them in the first place. They only got married to get out away from their family of origin. Or, they only got married because she was pregnant. Or,…the reasons could be endless.
With a couple years of post-divorce clarity under their belts, these same friends have admitted it was partly their fault. They had loved their ex-spouse. Maybe they could have worked harder.
They could have worked harder….
My friends didn’t know they were encouraging me to work harder.
My husband, Dave, and I understand how divorce happens. We were at a point in our marriage where things could have gone down a very ugly road. But, at the crossroads we chose to work.
I’m not some Wonder Wife, really I’m not!! (Just this morning I messed up, again.) What I’ve got going for me, is I know how to work. I bet you have work-willingness going for you, too. You just have to be motivated to want to work for a person you are in conflict with.
How do you get motivated to work for a husband you don’t really like at the moment? You realize that working for the marriage is honoring God. You set your mind on what is above, not what is on earth (Col. 3:2). You put to death your selfish self which is the need to be justified and served.
You realize at the core of your husband still pumps the heart you love. It’s just buried under heaps of hurtful junk. Hurt you both have a hand in. You put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience, accepting one another and forgiving one another (Col. 3:12).
I worked harder by trying to understand he had different ways of thinking, processing emotion and had differing opinions from me and it was OK. We both had to embrace the phrase, “unity does not equal conformity.”
I worked harder by trying to understand sex from a positive point of view. I tried very hard to not just listen, but hear my husband’s view point about sex. I had to learn to trust him when he said sex was important to him. I could no longer marginalize sex just because it wasn’t important to me. If it was important to him, I had to make it important to me.
I had to undue false religious beliefs about sex and replace them with truth. I had to see sex as ‘emotion in motion,’ not just physical release.
Maybe if my friends had worked harder at understanding sex, their conflict wouldn’t have escalated to the point of no return. Did they have sexless marriages? I don’t know. I’m only guessing that sex was part of their demise. That topic didn’t come up.
These conversations were pre-Oysterbed7 or else I would have tried to talk about it. In our hard season, I had no one to talk to about sex and low libido. When I tried to start a conversation with my church lady friends there were more snide comments than genuine concern. That told me a lot of other Christians are having trouble with sex, too.
But, I digress…
How could you work harder for your marriage?
Above all, put on love – the perfect bond of unity (Col. 3:14).
(There are scriptural reasons for divorce. I am in no way advocating remaining in an abusive marriage. This is meant to encourage those in ‘good-willed’ marriages that are experiencing a season of extreme discord.)