My wife and I spent a lot of time fighting about issues that should, and could, have been easily resolved if we could have just put away our pride and anger and worked together, instead of against each other. We both had our own way of doing things and that caused us to bump heads with each other many times.
The good thing was, I had to work either long hours or two jobs during the early part of our marriage, which I contribute to how we survived the first several years of our marriage. I won’t give working all the glory for keeping our marriage together, because in one way or another, God was working behind the scenes to keep our marriage together as well, whether we knew it or not.
There were many times in which I would be so upset with my wife that I wanted to give up. Instead of doing that, I would pray to God this simple but effective prayer:
“Lord if you don’t take away this anger that I have towards my wife, it's over. If you want us to stay together, you will have to do something, because I don’t have the ability to do it myself.”
Invariably, every time that I prayed that prayer, (and I did it a lot during the 1st half of our marriage), God would intervene and cause something to happen that would break me out of my funk and cause our marriage to resume. He would either cause my wife to apologize for something she said to me that was out of the way, or something unexpectedly would happen that would cause me to break out in a smile and praise God for His small wonders. So you could say that working and a simple prayer from the heart, that God honored, kept our marriage together during the first half of our marriage. And yes, there were times in which, I had to make some apologies myself.
This was due to being blessed with enough income coming in to make that happen. I quit my second job, but was still in school, and that’s when major issues begin to present themselves. The problems that were kept under control by my absence from the house and my simple but effective prayer began to resurface. We started fighting more, my anger and resentment began to grow, and it all came to a head one night as we were driving home from school.
God spoke to my heart that night in a way that would change how I would deal with the conflicts that I was having with my wife. As I wrote in our workbook, The Color of Marriage: 15 Principles to Improve Your Marriage, the Holy Spirit put 1 Peter 3:7 into my heart and mind as I was passionately trying to resolve an ongoing issue that I was having with my wife. I was elevating my voice as I was speaking to my wife and that’s when it happened.
The Holy Spirit spoke to my heart in a discernible manner and reminded me of 1 Peter 3:7. The only part of the verse that I could remember at that point was, “Husbands live with your wives in an understanding way so that your prayers will not be hindered”. The point that the Holy Spirit was trying to get across to me was, that if I did not stop what I was doing, my prayers would be hindered.
Right then and there, I realized the mistake that I had been making. Instead of using the Word of God to resolve the conflicts that I was having with my wife, I was using my own wisdom. From that moment on, I started praying and asking God for answers concerning every conflict that I was having with my wife. I was no longer going to church on Sunday, hearing the message, and being a forgetful hearer of The Word when it came to my marriage, I was now making an intentional and conscious effort to live it out in my marriage. Since that day, I have gleaned a wealth of knowledge from studying God’s plan for marriage. Not only have I gained wisdom from the Word of God, I went on to complete my Bachelor of Science degree in Counseling and Human Services from Point University, became a Certified Christian Marriage Replenishment Specialist, and completed my Master of Arts: Human Services Counseling: Life Coaching degree from Liberty University.
No, that doesn’t mean that it’s perfect, but what it does mean is that I have learned how to communicate how I am feeling to my wife in a way that helps her to better understand how I am feeling. I have learned how to put pride aside and apologize and how to accept her apology. I have also learned to continue to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit as He guides me not only in my marriage, but during every Marriage Replenishment Session and every Marriage Replenishment Event that God allows my wife and I to facilitate.