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One of my sweetest friends invited myself and a few other ladies over to her home this weekend to watch a message (posted below) on the power of a respectful wife. To be honest, the entire message was a bit of a gut-punch, but very needed! See, I have a degree in marriage and family services. I have been in married small groups and done countless studies and books on this topic. But the truth is that in the hard pressing seasons, it is so easy to slip back into old habits and forget what you have learned. Marriage is not for the faint of heart, you guys.
It may come as a surprise to you all, but Michael and I both have very strong-willed natures. We both like to be right, have a bit of a temper and we have both had to learn a lot about conflicting well over the almost-9-years that we have been married. Another shocker– we still suck at this sometimes. We say the wrong things, we lose our tempers, we forget to fight fair and we hurt each other. Because we are two flawed individuals.
My biggest takeaway from this message was one simple question and challenge to the wives. “Are you a crown or a cancer in your husband’s life?” Ouch. I left this little get together with that question bouncing around in my mind and to be honest, in this current season of our lives I feel like I have been more of the latter and less of the former. I felt convicted and humbled, but also determined to put this all into practice and break the cycle.
And then in true Lysa TerKeurst fashion, she spoke directly to my heart on this topic in my devotional this morning. (The Lord uses this woman that I have never met to speak into my life literally every single day it seems like. Her Devotional is fantastic and I highly recommend it!).
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time.”
– 1 Peter 5:6-
The topic is how to handle tough relationships. Now hear me, my marriage is not always tough. But when we are out of sync with each other, because we are both strong-natured, it can be. I am always wanting to talk it out right that moment and bring resolution to the issue, when in reality sometimes it is best to just take a pause. These words really stuck out to me:
“Sometimes I try so hard to figure out just the right words to say and talk through a situation. While talking is good, sometimes the conversations start running in a circle, and there aren’t any productive words left to say. When this happens, it can make a girl feel like giving up. But before I give up, I’ve learned to hush up. Spending time getting quiet can be the best remedy for tangled situations. Taking a step back from all the emotion, frustration, and exhaustion to sit quietly with Jesus will do more to untangle a mess than anything else I’ve ever found.”
– Lysa TerKeurst, Embraced–
Now if you are my husband reading this, you are probably laughing. This is so not me. It is something that God is working on in me. See, when we choose to shut up and sit quietly with Jesus, He will help us to come to a more humble place. He will reveal the areas where we may have been wrong (because let’s face it, we all contribute to the problem when we argue) that we can’t see in the heat of the moment. He will help us to sort out our irrational thoughts and break the cycle of self-pity that we women can so easily work ourselves into. He helps to focus our hearts on working on ourselves rather than “fixing” the other person. And most importantly, if we are open to His voice, He will help us to see the truth that our real enemy is not our spouse (or whoever we are in conflict with).
“The truth is, we have an Enemy, and it’s not each other. Satan’s influence on me and the person offending me is the real culprit. I can’t realize that in the heat of the moment. But in the quiet, I become alert and can gain a strategy for acting and reacting in a more self-controlled manner.”
– Lysa TerKeurst, Embraced–
This has been the most revolutionary truth in my transformation into a respectful (and less reactive) wife. The simple realization that the harsh words or emotions that my husband is speaking to me, and the disrespectful words spewing out of my mouth are not from him at all, but rather are from the Enemy himself, has allowed me to step back and process things so differently. When we refocus our anger on the one that truly deserves it, it creates a lot more room for grace in our relationships.
This is an on-going process in my life and I am far from perfecting it. But it is an area that I am humbled and convicted about. I pray that this has spoken to someone’s heart today. And even if you think you have this whole “wife” thing down, you should check out the video below. I believe it is something we can all work on!