Lists, Lessons, and Lasting Love
a wife shares her journey of rebuilding a marriage.
Do you have a list? Not one of those “honey-do” lists of what we would like to have done around the house, like fixing the dripping faucet or cleaning the garage. I’m talking about a list of your husband’s failures.
What would you tell a counselor or your best friend when no one else is around? Your list can consist of large hurtful failures and small aggravations, sometimes the same actions and attitudes performed over and over again. Each time a new failure occurs, it is added to the list.
I know about lists—I had one of my own, and it was long. My husband had failed in large, hurtful ways. He had broken his word numerous times. He had hurt our daughter too, and she was reacting strongly. He had been counseled by Godly people that his actions were wrong, but it made no difference. I was ready to walk out on him.
A Turning Point
In God’s graciousness, He intervened on our behalf. Life Action Revival Ministry came to our church, and listening to the Word of God turned me. Yes, it turned me. I met with the revivalist and his wife, and I realized I was angry with God.
My expectations of what a Christian husband should be were not being fulfilled. Our home was an emotional war zone. In my heart, I asked, “How could God allow these things to happen? Haven’t I turned from my old life and changed almost everything to show God how much I love Him? Where is He now that my life is falling apart?”
I met with God and let out my frustrations with Him. I told Him how disappointed I was and that I felt betrayed, but in the end I asked for His forgiveness. I gave Him every hurt and every broken promise. I purposed in my heart that no matter what happened, I would obey God’s Word. I would submit to God’s direction and allow my husband to lead. I purposed to forgive the hurts and act as a loving wife.
The Journey Towards Change
I wish I could tell you everything changed overnight, but it didn’t happen that way. Many times I sat at my friend’s table and cried about the hurtful things that were happening. Many a time I wanted to take matters in my own hands. My friend would say, “Penny, are you going to obey God or not? You have to choose.” Sometimes I hurt so deeply that I couldn’t even talk, and she would make tea and talk while I cried until I could finally speak.
Each time I went away with a clear decision to obey, because I knew in my heart of hearts that God was trustworthy. Though I couldn’t trust my husband, I knew I could count on God—even in this situation. I prayed that God would cause me to forget all the things on my list and make me love my husband again.
What I did not know during this time was that God was speaking to my husband too. He heard wise counsel that “God doesn’t go around your wife, but through her.” My husband started listening to my counsel. He didn’t always follow it, but he valued it. Other things began to change as well. He has his own story of how he struggled with the changes God asked him to make.
Finding God Trustworthy
All of this happened ten years ago. Today as I wrote this testimony, I could not remember the once well-rehearsed items that had been on my list! My husband and I now have a loving relationship. Perhaps you can understand when I say that I like him as well as love him. I want to go places with him, just because he is going.
To imply that everything is always smooth would be misleading. I still have some very self-centered moments, but my husband responds with love and quietness more times than not.
Through this experience, I see clearly that God is faithful and trustworthy. He leaves nothing to chance when it concerns the people He loves. You can trust Him with all your feelings, disappointments, hurts, anger, joy, and love.
Do you have a list? If you can recite your husband’s failures, your list may be a warning sign that you have some business to do with God. Give your list to God, and allow Him to work. Even if you can’t forgive the wrongs or believe that your husband can stick to the commitments he made, it’s okay. Tell God you want to obey Him but can’t do it in your own strength. He will be sufficient in your weakness. Trust Him to do the work in you.