I got married when I knew I shouldn’t because a) I felt the Spirit nudging, and b) others had counseled me not to.
Once married, I yelled. A lot.
I was cruel and self-serving and critical with my words. Probably daily.
I looked out for number one and tried to protect her (aka, me).
I didn’t serve enough.
I didn’t build him up enough.
I didn’t respect him. (Let me take a moment with this one. I used to argue that once I felt he deserved respect, I’d begin to respect him. I now believe that there are two kinds, or levels, of respect. There is earned respect and there is role-expected respect. For instance, I might not respect President Such-&-Such, but if he walked into the room, you’d better believe I’d stand and probably clap just because of his role. So, if for nothing else, I withheld role-expected respect.)
I prayed for him and I prayed for us, but I didn’t do so enough.
I was needy, beyond needy, and so I would take any and all attention. I even stirred things up into arguments because yucky attention was better than no attention.Accountability. Things were going on that were outright sinful and wrong. I didn’t call him on it. I used to think that wasn’t my job but the job of another man. I now realize that is part of a partner’s job…that’s what a help-mate should do. Gently of course. Help. I asked for help. A ton. But then when I didn’t get it, I stopped. I crawled back into my shell and tried to keep wading through. And I say this even though we went to nine counselors and met with other couples and I read a bunch of marriage books. I never spoke the full truth until four months before we ended up separating. And when I did, when I literally laid our marriage out on the table at a local diner for another couple from church, I said what I should have said ten years before, “I’m not saying I’m sinless. But I’m saying this is wrong, and I can’t do this anymore, and I am begging you to help me.” There’s more, I’m sure. Because remember, this is just my perception of my part in it all. There is still my ex-spouse’s, and more importantly, there’s how God sees me in all of this. So there you have it, in case I ever gave the impression that I thought I was the victim in a hit-and-run marriage, I wasn’t. I was a full participant in our dysfunction. But I’m beyond grateful to say that there’s hope now, that healing is coming, that I sense joy so much more than I have in years and years. I messed up, absolutely. But then there’s Jesus to clean me up and stand me up on my feet again. And he is. If this post helped you, I would encourage you to check out “Surviving in a Difficult Christian Marriage”, found here.