From Part One:
These days, my husband and I rarely fuss or fight. Our relationship isn’t a show or a sham, it’s the real deal — not perfect, but really, really amazing. We’ve learned a lot of things over thirty-two years, and I’ll share some of our fun tips, practical ideas, spiritual insights, and several secrets.
If I were to ask the long-termers, “When people told you marriage was hard and it took a lot of work, did you have any idea what that really meant? Could you imagine in any detailed way what hard might look like?” I can see the head nods and raised hands — an, “Amen, preach it sister,” might seep in from the crowd.
The truth is, marriage is excruciating at times. Just today, I received three messages about the challenges in holding together a marital relationship. Crushing financial weights, children not behaving in ways wanted or expected, stubbornness, pride, and anger replacing the hopes, dreams, and goals that brought a couple together.
Who feels romantic when your world is crashing in?
Is there anything you can do to alleviate the pressures? To stop blaming each other for all that’s going wrong?
From experience, I unequivocably say, “Yes, together you can lighten the load and make things better. You and your mate can team up, instead of teaming against each other.” And it isn’t as as complicated as you might think. Today, I’ll share a couple of my more powerful secrets. In Part Three, I’ll get into some fun stuff.
1. Accept the fact that a genuinely happy marriage follows the plan of its Creator. God designed and ordained marriage between one man and one woman, clearly and specifically telling us He is to be at the head of our relationship — it takes three to make a marriage work well. 1 Corinthians 11:3 If this outline is an issue for you, then I ask that you take it up with God, since He wrote the plan for marriage from its inception, not me.
2. Don’t lie about how you really feel. I used to make the mistake of telling my husband nothing was wrong when inside I smouldered from resentment, anger, frustration, or fear. I’ve since learned how healing it is to speak the truth.
The other night I had a bad dream. One of those long lasting, feels-so-real-you-want-to-punch-him-in-the-face-when-you-wake-up kind. Let’s just say my husband and I weren’t the only two in the nightmare. In the light of morning, with relief flooding my soul that it was, “just a dream,” I decided to put it behind me — but emotions don’t always comply when you want to tuck them into the deep corners of your soul.
My husband asked me what was wrong.
At first, I reverted to my old way. “Nothing.”
He knows my old ways too. Having learned a lot himself, he came closer with a look of compassion on his face. “Don’t lie to me. What’s wrong. Let’s talk about it.”
So we sat down together, and with tears streaming down my face, keeping my voice calm, I told him all of the sordid details of my dream. And he listened. He didn’t interrupt. He didn’t defend. He gave me exactly what I needed when he held my hands and said, “I’m here. I’m committed to you. I’m not going anywhere.”
In the old days, I wouldn’t have dared tell my husband what I dreamed, in superstitious fear my words might somehow turn it into reality. But I would have sniped, harped, and verbally snapped at him in reaction to my inner panic. And I would have missed a wonderful moment — where the truth set me free.
On that morning, something painful was transformed into something beautiful. Through my husband’s demonstration of Ephesians 5:25-28, our bond deepened because of his care and concern. In a spiritual way, he demonstrated his willingness to die for me, instead of killing my soul.
Truth and authenticity are crucial for two people to reside together in harmony, otherwise the entire relationship is built on an illusion — it isn’t real. As a wife, something else is equally important, even though our 21st century culture tries to diminish its power. This is my third secret to a happy marriage.
During an especially painful period in our relationship, many encouraged me to divorce my husband. But God was giving me a distinctly different message. Had I chosen the influence of voices opposing what God said, my husband and I would not be together today. Both of us would have missed out. The laughter of inside jokes, the comfort of knowing each other so well, the acceptance that comes from going through the downs and the ups, the history only we share, the impact on our families and friends, not to mention the financial consequences.
The second way I chose to listen to God over people flies in the face of our 21st century culture, crying, “Look out for number one.” Ephesians 5:22-24 tells wives to submit to their husbands. It wasn’t easy in the beginning, but over time, my husband became a better leader and I became a better follower. He is more comfortable in his own skin, and so am I. The Original Marriage Planner had it right from the beginning.
Marriage is not easy, but sticking it out, choosing to look at the original design plan and follow it, makes for an amazing outcome. My husband made me laugh from the first time I met him, but never as much as he does today. There’s no one I’d rather spend time with. But it hasn’t always been this way.
Can your marriage be saved? With God, I know it can. Matthew 19:26
Anita Fresh Faith
Anita Brooks motivates others to dynamic break-throughs. Blending mind, heart, and spirit, as an Inspirational Business/Life Coach, International Speaker, and award-winning Author. Her latest book, released through Barbour Publishing, is Getting Through What You Can’t Get Over.
Anita is also author of First Hired, Last Fired — How to Become Irreplaceable in Any Job Market, released by Leafwood Publishing, Death Defied-Life Defined: A Miracle Man’s Memoir, and contributor to The Change Book Series. Her titles are available at all major bookstores, Amazon, plus other online retailers.
She is also host of the Fresh Faith Inspirations podcast. In all she does, Anita fulfills her mission to help 21st century women and men make fresh starts with fresh faith by sharing what she’s learned through experience, interviews, and research.
She’s energized by overcoming adversity, work with integrity, healthy relationships, identity issues, and abundant living. Anita inspires audiences all over the world to believe as she does — in business, as in life and love, it’s never too late!
Anita’s favorite pastime is watching sunsets with her husband of 30 years, while they laugh and dip their toes in the water. Her favorite passion is inspiring others to take life’s battles, and transform them into victories.
You can connect with Anita on Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn, or Twitter. Keep up with Anita’s latest happenings at anitabrooks.com. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to request information on having Anita speak or train at your next event.