(Me on my wedding day @ the Courthouse!)
This is the first post in a series of posts that I am writing about how the Lord has not only used my marriage to bring my own personal healing and growth in Christ, but how He actually led me to seeing what was at the root of all the conflict and struggles in my marriage and life!
I can honestly say that I don’t regret getting married one bit! It didn’t turn out to be the way I thought it would, but it has forced me to change for the better, and that is so much better than anything I hoped to get out of this marriage!
When I entered this marriage, I also entered the wine press, where the Lord has been squashing me over and over in order to bring forth the sweetest savour of Christ in me.
What was I like before marriage?
- fiercely independent
- overly dramatic
I may still be all of these things *in myself*, but thanks be to God—- HE HAS SENT THIS SELF TO THE GRAVE! And now, it is no longer “I” who lives, but CHRIST who lives in me! And all that God sees in me is CHRIST! Wow. That really is amazing grace!
Before I got married, though, I didn’t realize to what extent I was really all of those things. I knew I was controlling. But I didn’t realize WHY I was so controlling. I never knew the fear behind it all. I never knew the wounds behind it all. I knew I was selfish and independent, but I never realized how I ended up there!
HOW I ENDED UP WHERE I WAS
Because I was mistreated and grew up mistreated, and did not develop a healthy self-worth, and developed that desire in my heart to be loved and wanted and all those idols that are attached to that desire—-it actually made me self-centered. That’s what happens when we are mistreated in life, as a young woman, we become fearful and controlling because we feel the need to protect ourselves because we have not been treated right. We become independent and self-reliant. All I cared about was what I wanted, what I needed, what I wasn’t getting from this guy or my father or whoever. In reaction to the way I was mistreated by my own father and men in my life, my heart grew very cold and I became even more selfish. I was living in self-protection mode which entails controlling and fear for my whole life really. All I cared about was myself, honestly. I wanted what I wanted.
When the Lord truly revealed Himself in me, and opened my eyes a long time ago, He led me immediately to learn about dying to self. I read the book, “Not a Fan”, which is all about this, and I remember how much my own selfishness was exposed.
There were also lessons about control that I went through during the months before meeting my husband. I remember seeing clearly how controlling I really was. But I never knew WHY.
MARRIAGE FORCED ME TO SEEK GOD
I was already captivated by the Lord, but ever since marrying, I was sent even more to Him when all my expectations for marriage were not being met. When all my expectations for my husband were not being met. When my idol of happiness was not attained, I slowly was brought more and more to the Lord’s feet. He was my only hope. And still is.
Before my eyes were opened to all my control and fear and things, I thought my husband was just being mean by telling me how I was. My husband pointed this out to me a long time ago, really right after we got married, how selfish I was and how focused I was on having my needs met in the marriage. And because my needs and expectations weren’t getting met the way I wanted them to (with the never ending black hole heart), I was disrespectful, complaining, negative, argumentative, controlling, etc.
I remember seeking God immediately after getting married to learn about why I was acting the way I was acting. All I wanted was for the Holy Spirit to be in control! I thought I was seeking God and I thought He would take over and make me a better person! I didn’t understand what was going on at all in my own heart and life! I had NO IDEA what the CROSS meant! I didn’t know that I was to reckon myself DEAD! I had very little spiritual understanding!
But I kept on seeking Him anyway, and asking Him to show me what it all meant—to show me what He was doing in me and in my life!
Nothing really changed for the better. Things actually got a lot worse first. Being married exposed my own sin like NEVER before! All of my sinful desires and motives were exposed the more I didn’t get my way and what I wanted from my marriage and husband. I was totally discontent, and unconsciously placing all of my life and hope in getting my idols from marriage: feeling loved, being happy, control, etc.
Along the way, there were little victories here and there where I felt the Lord was truly speaking to me and showing me what was going on in my heart, but nothing ever stuck. I kept doing the same things over and over. I got no where.
My husband and I would text argue and he would BLATANTLY tell me I was being controlling and disrespecting him by saying things like this (read whole post here):
- “You question everything I do or don’t do.”
- “Only God can change me.”
- “I get upset because you disagree too much.”
- “I especially get upset when you talk with a bratty tone of voice.”
- “I get mad because you talk to me like you’re my dad or something.”
- “Do you realize the stuff you say – how offensive it is?”
- “I already feel like I’m not good enough for anything in life. Seriously, I know you feel like I need to do what you think I should do and you feel like you can play God and tell me I’m not trusting, seeking, etc… That is very offensive”
- “You can’t expect me to be godly if I’m not giving God my all.” (*because I demanded all his time/attention!)
- “You think because you got a little Bible knowledge, you’re all high and mighty and been on this doing-everything-right trip but by your attitude and words it shows your maturity in Christ.”
- “I’m grown. I don’t need people cutting me down and trying to control me.”
- “I’ve been hearing since I married you how much I don’t love you – and all I do is take care of you and your son.”
- “You think you can act any kind of way and do it again and again and it not affect the way I feel toward you??”
- “You’re so stuck on yourself – you won’t let me be your husband.”
- “I honestly feel like nothing I do is good enough for you and I don’t know how to feel good about myself knowing that.”
- “You wonder why I get depressed. All I am is a failure.”
- “If you can’t be supportive through me making mistakes, then it’s pointless.”
- “Instead of encouraging me through this difficult time, you’ve been throwing fits.”
- “You make my life hell to get your way.”
- “I’ve had to turn my back on what I knew was best more than once just so you’re not (ticked) off at me.”
- “I’ve been trying to lead, you’ve been getting in the way for some time now.”
- “You were never in it for the ‘worse.’ You want the ‘better’”
I looked at everything my husband did through the lens of my wounded selfish heart, instead of through Christ and the Cross.
I had no idea that my wounded heart was behind all of the control, fear, and disrespect.
I didn’t realize that wounded heart was behind a lot of the conflicts in marriage. All I saw was my husband shutting down, and I felt unloved most of the time. I didn’t realize that he was pulling away because of how I was treating him! But as he pulled away, my heart became more and more wounded and full of bitterness and anger, and then I started pulling away and shutting him out. Things got really really bad before anything good happened.
But now I know that God has a purpose and a plan in allowing me to reach that bottom point! Because without it, I would have never been able to see the difference and know that HE IS ALTOGETHER OTHER than I am! AND HE IS EVERYTHING! NOT ME!
Tomorrow, I will continue in sharing how the Lord has truly brought healing and change and growth through my marriage! 🙂