I married this warrior of a man 28 years ago. I knew nothing about what it took to have a good marriage and honor him.  Face it; we all come from dysfunction of some kind so we usually end up bringing some sort of baggage with us into a relationship. To make things worse, this guy was in full-time ministry and I was not ministry material at all.  I was simply a girl that loved the Lord and surrendered my life to HIM then fell in love with this hunk of a guy.  Throughout our marriage, I think every ministry employer told him I was not a good fit for him and divorce would be a good option.  I can’t blame them.  I didn’t have their religious spirit. I’m so glad he didn’t listen to them.

Yes, I had my issues because I was newly in love with Jesus. Weren’t they supposed to let HIM change and mold me into HIS image and not the image they wanted?  Don’t get me started!

We have gone through many awesome and some not so awesome seasons in our marriage. Shocking, right? No, not really.  If you ask any married couple that has been married for any length of time, they will tell you that you are not always living in the honeymoon phase of your marriage.  If they say they are, they’re LYING! Some of the seasons we endured we thought we wouldn’t recover from but we also knew that it was God’s plan that brought us together.  At our core, we both have a relationship with the Lord and we surrender not only our marriage but our hearts to him so HE can change us and HIS will can be done. Even doing that at times is hard and might not happen in the heat of an argument but we eventually come around or God’s voice gets so loud we can’t ignore HIM saying, surrender your pride! Let me help you!.

Yes, it would have been easier many times to quit and go our separate ways but we made a commitment 28 years ago. You don’t think about the hard times when you are standing at that alter reciting your vows. Honestly, you’re thinking about that honeymoon night. You’re thinking about all his great qualities and none of the bad. Every word in the vow you recite will be tested. You need the Lord in your marriage to be able to stay committed to those vows.

I want to share with you my 5 top mistakes that I made in my marriage that will hopefully help you no matter how long you’ve been married.  

  1. I always focused on how I can improve him.
  2. I would nag him for every little thing he did wrong and never praise him for what he did right.
  3. I didn’t take time to pray for my marriage, my husband or myself.
  4. I would continue to hold unforgiveness in my heart towards him.
  5. I withheld sex as a form of punishment.

DON’T….. I repeat ….DON’T DO THESE 5 THINGS!  This will definitely ruin your relationship.  Instead, implement these 5 things to help nurture and support your man.

  1. Focus on spending time with the Lord so HE can fill your heart with love for yourself first then you can love others.
  2. Always build your man up with positive words.  Always speak life into him.  Praise him even if you don’t see him doing what you know he’s capable of doing.  Speak it into existence and you will see it manifest.
  3. Pray with and for your husband.
  4. Never go against your husband in front of the kids.  Stay united.
  5. Daily release any offenses you have picked up throughout the day.

Here is a simple plan that helps to usher in forgiveness:

ME: May I ask you for forgiveness? (asking permission so I know he’s ready)

Pat: Yes.

Me: I’m sorry that I called you lazy, please forgive me.  (don’t give excuses)

Pat:  I forgive you.

ME:  How did that make you feel.  (You have to give the person space to tell you how it makes them feel so they get out the toxic emotions.

Pat:  That made me feel worthless and less of a man. You can be very mean with your tongue.

Me.  I’m silently listening to him….(My flesh is dying but my spirit is rising. It’s hard to hear how you really are)  

Me:  What can I do better? (He now has to partner with me to create a game plan for us to be better connected)

That’s it! It’s super important that we ask the person we hurt, “How did this make you feel?”  They now have a chance to be heard and eliminate the toxic emotions that might be in their heart as a result of what we did.

Once the conversation is over I take this to the Lord in my prayer time and ask HIM to change my heart because I don’t want to be this woman that has a sharp tongue.

If you can start to do this practice with those you need to reconcile with, you will start to see all your relationships shift for the better. You will see God move miraculously.  You will see your children flourish when you practice it with them too and you will be teaching them conflict resolution skills.

A successful marriage is not a business of perfect people, living perfectly by perfect principles. Rather marriage is a state in which very imperfect people often hurt and humiliate one another, yet find the grace to extend forgiveness to one another and so allow the power of God to transform their marriage.

p.s. Leave me a comment and let me know you stopped by.  I would love to hear from you.

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