How to Lessen the Pain of Change

after the jump

Just the other day I was feeling gripey.

I don’t know why. And as a woman, I reserve the right to have a gripey day or two every now and then! 😉

Unfortunately, my husband noticed. After 24 years of marriage, I definitely can’t pull one over on him! So I either snapped at him or used my favorite weapon of warfare—sarcasm. The point was that I was offensive and disrespectful. It didn’t feel like that big of deal to me, but it really was.

So I sat there with my thoughts, realizing that I had acted in a careless way with my spouse. I knew what I needed to do. I really believe God whispers most clearly to my heart in those times. But sometimes I try to drown God’s whisper out with , “La-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la” (Picture fingers in my ears).

This time, no smoke screen or distraction could keep me from hearing God asking me, “Why won’t you apologize, Beth?”

I wanted to say, “Because he did this or he did that” but I knew those answers fell short.

I knew that my pride was the only thing keeping me from apologizing.

Honestly … I didn’t like that realization.

And I also knew that squashing my pride would hurt. I know, I know—not much, but it does hurt a little! After all, who wants to go toward any level of pain?

God continued to whisper. 

I knew I was allowing my hurt to be my comfort (in a weird sort of way).  

How sick is that?

What’s more, I knew that even though squashing my pride might hurt, it wouldn’t hurt long and then I’d feel good and as an added bonus my spouse would feel good too! 

So I did it. I apologized and all was well.

But let me just say that years ago that apology or positive “change-of-course” would have hurt A LOT. When I was not in a good place—dropping my guard, being humble and vulnerable with my husband was not easy and definitely more painful than it is now. Part of the reason is because we’ve been working very hard (still a work in progress!) to normalize apologies and redirections.

Through the years I’ve seen this very hard process change for the better. It’s sort of like jumping into a cold pool of water. It’s really painful at first, but as you get used to it, it’s not so bad. In fact, after a while, it might feel colder to step out of the water.

Brrrr—why not stay in and swim a while?!

What I’m trying to say is that the good changes you want and know you need to make may be really painful at this point in your messy marriage. But realize it gets better and easier the more you do them. I’m not convinced that the pain ever completely goes away this side of heaven, but if you persevere, your pain will turn into the warm waters of positive change resulting in a not-so-messy marriage!

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” Hebrews 12:1 (NIV)

Photo credit by billaday (Flickr)

Today’s Post is Linked to – 



On In Around button

  • I am so familiar with this scenario….God does have us in marriages in order to change us, doesn’t He?

  • I love this post…
    God so awesome uses my marriage to change me and I could very-much-visualize this sort of scenario and my own responses in it.
    Thank you for sharing…
    ~Kara @ The Chuppies/NOBH

  • Kimberly

    BUSTED! I have either been at the extreme of being hard and unyielding, or wallowing in the over-emotional mud. Either way I have been been guilty of holding onto my hurt as a badge of honor and entitlement. I know if I just get over myself and jump in the pool, I will be so FREE! Held aloft and embraced completely by the water- every part of me, even each individual strand of hair. Thanks for the challenge and the reminder!

  • Meghan Carver

    It is SO hard to apologize. I mean, I have to be right some of the time, don’t I? (said sarcastically) Thanks for the encouragement.

  • Some very, very good thoughts here. I love that you and your husband are actively working on things–normalizing apologies…wow. I think you’re right, it’s never going to be easy in this life. But my, what rewards. Thank you for sharing this piece of vulnerability.

  • messymarriage

    I totally agree, Kimberly! He’s changing me every day–I have the “stretch marks” to prove it! haha! Thanks for coming by and weighing in!

  • messymarriage

    I’m so glad I’m not alone, Kara! And so glad you came by and encouraged me too! 🙂

  • messymarriage

    I love the way you described the water saturating every part. It reminds me of Peter asking Jesus to wash not just his feet but his entire body. Thanks for coming by and encouraging me as you always do! You’re the best, Kimberly!

  • messymarriage

    Hee hee! This reminds me of the that old country song, “Oh, Lord, it’s hard to be humble …” I’m just SO Glad that it’s getting easier. Thanks for coming by, Meghan! I appreciate it!

  • messymarriage

    Yes, my husband is a keeper. Without his cooperation on the growth we need and want to do in our marriage, I know I would have given up long ago! 😉 Thanks for stopping by and encouraging me, Laura!

  • Alicia Bruxvoort

    Oh, I totally agree with you— marriage might not get easy, but it does get easier. I often remind myself that when I’m frustrated with the fact that marriage can still feel so hard. But the gap between the pain and the healing, the hurtful words and the apology, grows slimmer with every year (and with a lot of hard work!) Can’t wait to experience relationships in Heaven 🙂

  • Beth-I agree with you. Marriage does seem easier, especially after you choose what you are willing to do, like asking for forgiveness instead of allowing pride, etc…to set up house in our souls, which can cause devastatingly hurt emotions and the instability of our homes.
    Many great points. I love the way you write. Blessings, Nona

  • Ro elliott

    great post…as always…I love an apology is like jumping into a cold pool…this has been a journey for me…oh but what freedom there is in just jumping:)

  • smoothstones

    An apology to anyone is hard, I think. I’m thankful for the Holy Spirit’s correction, although sometimes it feels like sitting on a bed of hot coals, doesn’t it? One of my favorite feelings is the one just after the apology…when peace returns.

  • Thank you for that! We do hold on to hurt and pride so easily and innately don’t we? When we’re hurt or we’ve done the hurting, we want to validate our feelings for as long as possible, I think – or like you said it best, “I knew I was allowing my hurt to be my comfort.”

    And thanks so much for joining up with the Moms Against Manic Monday Link Up over at FromMyMountainView.com !! <3

  • messymarriage

    That’s a good point, Rebecca. It is a flawed attempt to “validate our feelings” when our feelings are hurt. But it’s so freeing to come clean. I’m so glad you came by and also that I found your link up! 🙂

  • messymarriage

    Great observation–that feeling after the apology truly is wonderful! Thanks for stopping by and weighing in!

  • messymarriage

    Yes, let’s jump in and freely swim about, Ro! Thanks for coming by and encouraging me! Hugs*

  • messymarriage

    Yes, it’s all ours for the taking–forgiveness and peace! Why would we want to hang on to that yucky old pride? I guess it feels good in the moment but it’s really, oh-so-bad! Thanks for coming by and encouraging me, Nona!

  • messymarriage

    Yes, Alicia, working at it and making it the status-quo in our relationships can truly soften the harshness of swallowing our pride. Thanks so much for coming by! 🙂

  • So true. It is the way to a healthy marriage, to lay down pride and serve one another in this way. I am thankful to learn this early on in my marriage of 22 years. Can’t say it is any easier to do, but the results far outweigh the bit of pain we feel initially. Thanks!

  • soulstops

    brrr, as I thought about jumping in cold water…so glad that you listened to His gentle nudging and gave up your pride – always hard to do but the quicker you obey Him, the easier it gets…encouraging post, Beth 🙂

  • Thanks for sharing your marriage struggle. Too many of us just like to hide the struggles instead of sharing so we can learn from one another. This was an excellent written post with very good thoughts. I enjoyed the read and thanks for stopping by my blog.