Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Keep Quiet - Marriage Series - #3

If you've made it this far, through Step #1 and Step #2, perhaps you are willing to go a little farther.

In the eternal scheme of things, this next step takes you miles and miles and miles ahead of where you are now.  When you've said your piece, when you've stood on righteousness, then you can stop using your words to convince your spouse.  Convince him/her of what?  That depends on you, but my guess would be, to love you the way you want to be loved.

That was my trouble.  I kept talking and talking (very loudly and aggressively at times), telling him how he wasn't doing it right.  I kept coming at him till I got tuned out.  My words became a cacophony rather than a melody, so my husband quit listening.  Kind of like a young baby who is overstimulated and will just pass out - my husband's ears fell asleep to the sound of my nagging voice.

The remedy here is....

Be quiet. 

1 Peter 3:1-2 leads us down the right path: 
Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. (emphasis mine)
(I read this verse in every translation available.  If you don't get it the first time, if it doesn't speak to your heart, keep on changing translations on Biblegateway.com till you do.  The Lord will speak to you.  He will give you the strength to do what He is asking.) 

For some of us who are quite loquacious (myself included here) this seemed at once the hardest and the easiest thing to do.  Hard because you might be used to getting your way using words.  Easy because when you stop trying to verbally convince someone, the pressure is off.

It is in the quiet that you find God.  It is in the silence that you find the beauty of showing rather than telling someone you love them.  If your spouse is so used to your words, when he/she doesn't hear them anymore, your actions will be that much louder.  
Don't share things with him/her until their ears are opened.  That's what Jesus was talking about in Matthew 7:6: Don't expend your breath on someone who is not ready to listen (and who might even be hostile towards hearing whatever you have to say).  It is a waste, a fruitless investment.  You want validation and encouragement, I know.  But trust me when I tell you: spouses used to hearing your voice will take more notice when you stop speaking and start serving. 

Give the glorious happenings would normally share with your spouse to the Lord - hold your hands up in prayer and let them be your sacrifices.  Let this be a fast of sorts, to enable you to depend on the Lord for the love you desire, instead of trying to force it out of your spouse.  Get intimate with God when the verbal intimacy of your marriage is waning.

When you do that - the Lord will drench you in His love.  If you get the love you need, then you will be able to demonstrate it to your spouse.  This requires as much spiritual as mental and emotional growth.  Spend time in God's word.  Spend time in prayer.  Spend time listening to songs about God.  Spend time praising Him for Who He is and what He has done for you.  Turn that attention you want from your spouse to the Lord.  You will not regret it.

Now - I'm not saying totally ignore your spouse.  You do have to dial it back, but what I'm saying is the energy you've been pouring into your spouse, to pry out the love you so desperately need (and they aren't able to give) - turn that effort into falling in love with Jesus (again).

These steps are not the cure-all for everything that ails your marriage.  It's just the experience of someone who has been in your shoes.   I don't have all the answers and you might need to enlist professional help.  There are a lot really good therapists out there who can help you work through "stuff."

Dear Friend - Don't give up.  The Lord wants your marriage to succeed.  When you believe that, you can feel confident that your efforts to love and obey Him will be rewarded, however that turns out here on Earth.  If I can pray for you, please leave it in the comments or email me at amysvogel@hotmail.com  

Strong marriages are not perfect marriages, but they are possible. In the Lord's hands, your marriage will end up better than you could ever ask for or imagine. 

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