“Can I talk to you?” I could tell by her tear wrecked eyes something serious was wrong.
I get marriage questions a lot. Partly because I’m a thirty-one year veteran, and word gets out when you survive things that many other couples don’t.
I think another reason it happens is because I want to encourage others, so I strive to share our story authentically and vulnerably — with respect for my husband and forgiveness for us both. It doesn’t hurt that we not only love, but adore each other, after going through long periods where we didn’t even like each other.
But when people talk to me about their relationships, one question is often whispered. “Do you think I might have married the wrong person?”
When it happens I can’t help it, I have to chuckle. Not because I’m laughing at the person, my heart aches for the wounded in relationships. But because I remember.
After speaking to numerous audiences, and countless individuals one-on-one, I can assure you many marrieds have something in common. Almost before the breathiness of your, “I do,” leaves your mouth, the doubts begin.
“Am I making a mistake?”
“Is there someone better, and will I miss them because I settled?”
“What if I was supposed to choose someone else?”
“I’m not sure we have enough in common.”
“Is he/she really my soul mate?”
I’d like to say these doubts are fleeting thoughts, quickly doused when you settle in to marital bliss. But sadly, those creeper notions don’t always go away. At least not permanently. Usually somewhere within the first two years, if not during the first two days, those nagging doubts try to convince you that you messed up. The danger isn’t necessarily in the questions, as I said, most men and women have to wrestle with them at some point, but giving them serious attention will get you in trouble.
So how do you fight the uncertainty?
First, let me say you cannot force change on another person, even if you know it will make you both happier. Sometimes, a spouse leaves to look for something they are lacking, but most often, the vaccum comes from inside of them, not because you weren’t doing something that would have made them happy. I’m not God, so I can’t tell you the exact remedy for your situation, but I can share some practical, emotional, and spiritual things that transformed my own marriage misery into marriage joy.
1. Let God teach you what He had in mind for marriage when He created it. Too many of us try to do relationship on our own terms, and it doesn’t turn out well. In our darkest days, I asked God to show me what a godly wife was supposed to look like, and then I worked hard to act on it. My husband went on his own quest to discover what godly husbands should do. I tell people all the time, “It doesn’t take two, it takes three to make a marriage great.”
2. Speak well behind your mate’s back. Give what you want to get. Do you want your man/woman slandering you when you aren’t present?
3. Be the person you’d like to be around. How many of us crab about someone else’s attitude when we haven’t checked ours at the door?
4. Don’t try to turn your husband/wife into the perfect spouse, you already have that in Jesus if you’ll simply say yes to His proposal. Christ is our bridegroom. The ultimate mate. Never too tired. Never bored. Never too grumpy. He never falls out of love with you. Never anything but willing when you want to talk 24/7/365.
5. Surround yourself with those who exhibit these kinds of traits toward their own spouses. We are influenced by those we spend time with, niggling doubts can infiltrate a healthy marital image when we listen to the digs, put-downs, and disrespectful jokes offered by negative Nellie’s.
After all these years, I could offer more, but there isn’t enough space or time right now. But if you’re interested, I’ll share more on a future post. Before I end though, I must answer the question, “Did you marry the wrong person?”
I say, “No.” There’s a reason God hates divorce. It hurts people. Many more than the two directly involved. This is why He doesn’t want to see you split — He doesn’t want to see you hurt.
Another reason I say, “No, you didn’t marry the wrong person,” is because love is a choice. A verb. A positive action you take. Every. Single. Day.
I know what it’s like to have a void where the warm, fuzzy noun type feeling of love used to reside. But I’ve also experienced the results of asking God to place that desire, the emotion part of love back inside my heart. It took time, but while I waited I acted. In love, even when I didn’t feel love.
From what I’ve seen, there’s a reason the grass is greener on the other side — it’s usually because there’s septic tank seepage. Don’t make the mistake of stepping on squishy ground.
For More Marriage Tips Click this Link: Staying — When Marriage Gets Hard
Anita Fresh Faith
Do you focus on more positives or negatives in your spouse?
Malachi 2:16 (NLT)
“For I hate divorce!” says the Lord, the God of Israel. “To divorce your wife is to overwhelm her with cruelty,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. “So guard your heart; do not be unfaithful to your wife.”
Anita Agers-Brooks is a national speaker, Business and Inspirational Coach, Certified Training Facilitator, Communications Specialist, Certified Personality Trainer, and Certified Training Facilitator. Anita is also the author of, First Hired, Last Fired — How to Become Irreplaceable in Any Job Market. Her new book, Getting Through What You Can’t Get Over, releases through Barbour Publishing in April, 2015.
Anita co-hosts a weekly podcast, Engaging Life and Leadership with Darren Dake, available on iTunes, Stitcher, and other podcast platforms.
She’s a partner in The Zenith Zone, a business consulting firm. Member of the National Association of Professional Women, Christian Writer’s Guild, Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, and Toastmasters. A graduate of CLASSeminars for Leaders, Speakers, and Authors, a co-founder of The StoryWriting Studio, and speaker on circuit for Stonecroft International Ministries.
Anita is passionate about work with integrity, healthy relationships, and issues of identity. She travels the country teaching others from her personal experiences and research. She believes it’s never too late for a fresh start with fresh faith.
When she wants to let her hair down, Anita lounges by a river or lake in Missouri, laughing with her husband of over thirty years, Ricky.
Follow her FreshFaith blog anitabrooks.com. You may contact her via website www.brooksanita.com/contact/ or email firstname.lastname@example.org.