Leaving Self On The Shelf
Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
As we discussed yesterday, everyone goes into marriage with their own preconceived ideas of how things should be. We know what we want in our mates and in our marriages. We have all of these expectations. However, disappointment sets in when we realize that our dream marriage just isn’t to be because this is real life and not a fairy tale. Pretty soon we’re questioning why we got married in the first place because our spouse is not meeting all of our needs. Maybe we desire a husband that is able to express himself emotionally yet he clams up instead of talking things out as we’d like. Or, what about our desire for more emotional support with what we’re going through, yet our spouse appears cold and distant instead of caring and compassionate. At times like this you may have prayed to God asking exactly what He was thinking to allow this union in the first place. God knows you, and He knows what you need in your mate. Yet, this is what you get? How is that even possible?
In the book that Cindi co-wrote with her husband, Hugh, Cindi speaks of how she was having these thoughts and feelings toward her husband. She complained to the Lord about her husband, and she questioned why God let them get married. Further, she wanted to know why God wasn’t transforming her husband to be the man that she needed to meet her needs and expectations. Then it hit her, and she felt as if God was saying to her that maybe, just maybe, He was looking at what her husband needed.
Wow. This is a tough one. I will be the first to admit it. We have our own wants, needs, and desires along with our expectations in the perfect mate. The truth is that there is no perfect mate just as there is no perfect marriage! When we focus only on ourselves, we are failing to recognize and realize that there are two people in the marriage.
In the bible we are told that God created man in the image of God, and woman was created to be man’s helper. As Cindi & Hugh point out in their book, woman was created to complete man. In other words, it’s not all about us, ladies. We’re here to be just what our men need. That was tough to write, and I know there are probably a few rolling their eyes right now after reading that. But, please don’t stop reading. Hear us out.
We focus so long and so hard on what we want never really stopping to consider that maybe God allowed this union because you were exactly what your spouse needed instead. When you’re busy complaining and finding fault with your mate not meeting all of your wants, needs, and expectations, have you ever just stopped and turned your focus to asking God to show you how you can help your husband? Maybe the qualities you possess will help complete him and make him become the man that he was meant to be. Maybe, just maybe, God brought you and your spouse together not to aggravate each other or annoy each other all the days of your lives, BUT maybe He brought you two together so that you could help him become the man God created him to be. Maybe you are exactly what your husband needs to work through his issues and be a better man. Have you stopped long enough to consider that? Does it give you a different outlook now?
Consider this. There have been times in my marriage that I questioned and I wondered, too, just like Cindi did. There have been times that my wants, needs, and desires were not met. There have been times when I felt alone, neglected, and abandoned. This is me being as real as I can be because we are real people that have struggled in our marriage. What I did not realize at the time that this was all going on is that my husband was struggling within himself. There was a secret addiction going on that I was not fully aware of that held him in his own self made prison. While I questioned, struggled, and complained, maybe God allowed our union so that I could help draw out his issues, his addiction, and finally have them addressed once and for all. Maybe it took something drastic happening in our marriage for him to finally see that he needed to reveal the secrets he kept and get the help he needed. Maybe God put us together so that I could help him become a better man in this way. I would have preferred not to have suffered as I did throughout this whole denial thing of what was happening in our marriage to the awakening that things needed to change, right down to his revealing the secret addiction and hold it had on him, to the painful process of the disclosure and working on the intimacy disorder. Maybe all of this was necessary for God to work on Him in his life through the support and encouragement I have provided as his wife. He sought help, is in treatment, and is making progress, so I have to say that while I did not know why all of this happened, God did. He knew all along the steps that would be needed to get my husband to where he is today and for him to shed his secret life and become a better man.
Do I have faults and flaws? You betcha! I know that I fall short on my end at times also when he expects me to be all that he needs and for me to meet all of his needs. As an imperfect person, I fail. Although I try hard, I know that realistically there is no way for me to be everything that he needs or wants me to be. It doesn’t stop me from trying, even on days that I fail miserably. However, neither of us should look to the other to fulfill us. There is only one person that can do that, and that is GOD! Only God can provide joy, rest, security, and peace for us, ladies. Likewise, only God can provide affirmation, a sense of worth, and validation for men! As we each become more sure of who we are in the eyes of God, only then will our mates be relieved of having to be our all-in-all. They simply cannot be this for us, but God can if we allow Him to be.
It comes natural for us all to be selfish. We have to truly work at it to become selfless. We have to really work hard at leaving self on a shelf and putting our spouses first. It is not easy at all. But, you will see amazing results as your hearts are drawn closer together when you do this.
We hope you’ll join us tomorrow for … From Tense to Tender.
Buy the book on Amazon: When Couples Walk Together: 31 Days to a Closer Connection
(Previously posted Enjoying The Journey)
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