A Difficult Question

Linda S editWhile I’m away on my anniversary trip to England and Wales, Linda Stoll from Creekside Ministries has graciously agreed to be our guest and host of this week’s Wedded Wednesday!

If you know anything about Linda from her blog or from her visits to your blogs, you’ll know she is a true sweetheart who loves God deeply! I’m just so glad God has brought so many great blogging friends like Linda into my life! How about you?!

 

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This one’s for all the wives out there who are married to men who are just plain disappointing. We’re not talking abusive here. It’s just that these guys are, well, never enough. Or they’re just way too much. The relationship isn’t looking like the romantic rendezvous we imagined it would be. We’re not resonating with each other. There’s some kind of disconnect going on and our needs aren’t getting met. A slow fade has descended. And a creeping celibacy has set in.

We gripe, nag, or pout.

We compare ourselves with others.

And when he doesn’t respond the way we think he should, we slowly begin to shut down and lapse into silence. The empty kind.
 Perhaps we begin to desperately search for validation from some kind of captive audience, sharing our litanies {often ‘guised as prayer requests} with anyone willing to lend an ear. On the phone, online, in our small groups … it seems that no one is exempt from our endless tales of woe.

Our husbands aren’t perfect.
 But maybe we’ve missed the boat.

In our eagerness to dwell on every possible fault, every perceived injustice, and all wrongs ever committed, we’ve neglected to closely examine a major player in this saga.
 Ourselves.
 There is that question that just begs to be asked. And it’s not an easy one to consider …

What’s it like being married to you?

 

Window LindaIt’s not until we look into our own mirrors and invite the Spirit to join us in gazing deeply within that we begin to gain a realistic view of what’s really going on. It’s much easier to look at someone else’s faults than peer deep into our own untended heart-gardens and wade through the brokenness, the ugly debris that’s piled high.

This is hard work. It requires humility, honesty, and courage. An authentic willingness to step up to the plate and admit our own imperfections, idiosyncrasies, faults, and sins. Doing a soul inventory with the Lover of our souls is serious business. Hard work. Wrenching really, if truth be told.

But it’s out of those painful wrestlings with God that truth can finally emerge. And then we’re able to figure out what we want to do with who we’ve become, rather than putting all the emphasis on the frailties of the one we’ve committed to walk through life with.

So be courageous, dear sister. Pick up the mirror. It’s ok. If you ask for His companionship, the Spirit will be your guide as you sort through what you are and are not bringing to this table called marriage. He’s gentle, yet rather persistent in His conviction. Not to send us on a never-ending guilt trip.  But to shape us into someone holy.

Not perfect …

But redeemed.

 

And the good news is that as we do this heavy lifting, we are able to begin to release our men to their Creator.  And ask God to do the work in the hearts of our spouses that He’s already started in us.

What fears do you have about taking your eyes off your mate’s issues and letting God work on you?

 

What have you seen God do in your marriage when you’ve freely let God work on your heart?

 

Linda Stoll is an off-season beachcomber, mama bear family lover, dyed-in-the-wool introvert, deep conversationalist, and devoted Jesus follower. She’s been married to her long-suffering husband, Tim, for 37 years, and is co-founder of Creekside Ministries in New York, where she’s a pastoral counselor to women … and the resident blogging maven.

And congratulations to the winners of last week’s giveaway of the book, When Sorry Isn’t Enough: Making Things Right with Those You Love  – Ngina Otiende and Sheila (longingsend.com)

One more thing – don’t forget to register for Tyson Cooper’s 25 Acts of Kindness Challenge! The deadline is October 4th. I’m certain it will put a little more excitement and passion back into your marriage, if you do!

Photo credit – Linda Stoll

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Joining with NOBH, Works for Me Wednesday, To Love Honor and Vacuum, Whimsical Wednesday and Wholehearted Wednesday

Now, it’s time for Wedded Wednesday!

WW rules:

Write in any way you feel inspired about marriage, parenthood or anything that is spiritually encouraging.

  1. Enter in a permalink directly to your blog post and not the main URL to your blog.
  2. Be sure to include a link to Wedded Wednesday or add the WW button (code is in MM’s footer) to your current blog post and/or sidebar.
  3. Visit and comment on at least one other person’s blog that’s linked up here.
  4. Please no offensive or inappropriate content or sexually explicit images!

Optional but encouraged:

  1. Consider setting up your Gravatar profile and Disqus Profile with a link to your blog … it makes it so much easier for all of us to find those of you who blog!
  2. If you have the time, visit those who visit your blog and comment at their place as well … sort of a “Say it forward.”
Come join our Wednesday Link-up!

  • Sometimes we don’t want to look too closely because we don’t want to change! We believe if he changes then “all our problems’ will be over 🙂 Other times we are too afraid of what we’ll discover if we looked too closely at ourselves and allowed God to search our hearts. I’ve struggled with both, still a work in progress!

    Thanks for sharing the thoughts Linda.
    Beth – not sure if it’s only from my end, can’t see the linky tool.

    • You’ve hit the nail on the head, Ngina! We really don’t want to change and it’s so much easier to pass the buck! And oh, the fear that arises when we even think about going deep with God … because we KNOW there’s so much that needs attention way down deep.
      Thanks for kicking off this conversation today!

    • Yep, I was so sad to see that the linky tool didn’t work the past two weeks, but I didn’t bring my laptop nor my passwords to make any changes while I was overseas. So it ended up going undone. 🙁 I will have to make it up to Linda and Jennifer somehow. I just hated that things went haywire while I was away. But I still had a wonderful time and will be telling all about it on Tuesday night when I’ll publish this week’s Wedded Wed post. And yes, the link WILL work on that day! Congrats on winning this book and the other one too, Ngina. I’m certain you will put them both to good use and pay it forward on your blog! Hugs to you, sister!

  • Gaye @ CalmHealthySexy

    Ngina, I feel like I am following you around in “Comments” sections this morning! I can’t see the linky tool either.

    Thank you, Linda. This is a very encouraging post on something that is difficult to even consider, much less address. I appreciate your take on it, because I do think God will lead us gently through the process, rather than hitting us over the head with a big stick! Although Jesus sometimes took a tough approach with those who needed to deal with sin, He more often took a gentle approach. I think He will do that for us too, if we approach Him sincerely and allow the Spirit to work in us.

    • Yes, we have a gentle, compassionate Savior, Gaye! He woos us and calls us and longs for our healing. But He sometimes has to shake things up a bit to get our attention, yes? And what better place than in our marriages, with our families.
      Thanks for leaving a comment here … and over at Creekside, too!

  • Emily Fridenmaker

    Too often, I think we all forget that we were created to be fully satisfied in God, not in our spouse. Putting that burden on one another just isn’t fair, because we aren’t perfect and neither is our spouse. God has recently been working big-time in my husband, and it’s incredible and has been so good for our marriage. He works in both of us in His timing, as hard as it is to truly give that control over to Him sometimes.

    • For sure, Emily, we seem to want to get those deepest soul needs met from our earthly ‘soulmate’! And we’re sure that our spouses have a crystal ball and just instinctively know everything we want and need. Yikes – what pressure that puts on a relationship! To give up control to the One who has everything under control? Therein lies freedom, peace, hope.

  • Kim Adams Morgan

    This could not have been posted at a more perfect time. I have a few people who need to hear this message and was going to try to write it myself. I don’t have to now! Well Done!

    • Don’t you love God’s timing? I’m thankful that these words are helpful, Kim. I figure if something God teaches me hits home, it just might impact someone else. I so appreciate knowing that’s taking place!

  • Mia

    Dear Linda
    Oh, we all need to take a good look in the mirror at ourselves. We have a choice to get angry and frustrated at our hubbies “imperfections”, but it is usually our own fragile ego’s that makes us get angry. Let us first take the beam out of our own eyes.
    Blessings XX
    Mia

    • It’s good to see you over here, my friend! I hear what you’re saying about those fragile egos that too often seem to call the shots. Maybe what frustrates us most about others is the exact same things that we see when we really peer into our own souls.
      Thanks for your input into this discussion today, Mia!

  • Ceil

    Hi Linda! I did read somewhere that we should look to the Lord to be perfect, not our mates. That helps me get a more balanced view. But your point about looking to myself is a very good one, and challenging for sure!

    My marriage should like the union of Christ and his church, and that is a never-ending challenge. But it is one that I should continue to aspire to, even though I know only Christ can be that perfection. Living in that peace of the Holy Spirit will make me a much better partner!

    Thank you for this post today!
    Ceil

    • ‘We should look to the Lord to be perfect, not our mates.’ I LOVE that, Ceil! How different our relationships would look if we were grace-givers instead of perfection seekers. Yes, as the fruit of the Spirit continues to bloom and grow, there will be so much more love, joy, peace, patience, etc. springing forth into our most intimate of relationships.
      Thanks so much for coming by. You always bring so much to the table!

  • Mary

    Thank you for the reminder that our truth resides in God. I will hold this close as I make my way through this day. Blessings!

    • Yes, Mary, all truth surely comes from His wise and gracious heart! I’m thankful that you’ve found some encouragement here this morning. May this day shine with His peace …

  • Emily Wierenga

    SUCH an important message, friend… so very glad you shared it. How many marriages would be saved if we’d all humble ourselves and look deep to find some answers? Love to you Linda… and blessings on you,Beth, as you travel! e.

    • Humbleness. Yes, Emily. For many of us that seems to be one of the missing links that keeps us from intimacy with our Savior and from those closest to us. I always find it fascinating that most of our relationship messes seem to have a strong spiritual component lacking …

  • I just hung on every word as I read this post. That is my husband!! But NO, that is NOT my husband, it is ME that has to change. The interesting thing is that when we get our eyes OFF our husband and all his faults and start to allow the Lord to take the magnifying glass to ourSELF . . . THEN and only THEN will you see your husband change because you (I) are a LOT easier to get along with because it is Christ in me/you now rather than that old selfish nature that sees everything wrong in the other person rather than looking internally at yourself.

    Great anointed post!! Thanks for sharing it.

    And Beth, have a wonderful time while you are away in England.

    Oh, and YES! I have *met* so many sweet blogging friends online. It is really special because it has come at a time when my friendships have shifted due to friends moving to other states.

    • Hey Judith … thanks for your encouraging words! Yep, once we make that shift to examine our own agendas and deal with our own accumulation of heart-stuff, things truly do have the potential of turning around in those relationships that are a bit rocky, unsettling, unsatisfying.
      I love that you’ve come by and said ‘hello!’ …