“There’s no hope for my marriage, he’s never going to change.”
I’ve uttered that sentence a thousand times believing one massive lie… If he would change our marriage would be better, and I would be happy.
See I was a type A, want-what-I-want woman, who married at 35. I had many years of living alone to get set in my ways. Simple things like how he folded the hand towels drove me crazy. Why couldn’t he just do it the way I like it?
The man I dated was romantic, catered to me and cared about what I wanted. He swept me off my feet, and I fell deeply in love. But once married, things quickly changed.
A month into our marriage, Scott sunk into a depression and became a man I didn’t recognize. His wounds and dysfunctional coping patterns reared up, and the selfless man I dated was now a stranger – self-centered, withdrawn and cruel.
We started therapy, and life got better for a while. But several miscarriages, fertility issues and added pressure took our marriage from bad to worse.
Miserable, I felt abandoned. Scott declared regularly, “I don’t care about you.” I was certain he didn’t love me. I adored the man I dated but didn’t care for the stranger sleeping beside me. Deep down I knew my marriage was a mistake.
Many lies filtered through my mind. “I’d be better off alone.” “He’s never going to meet my needs.” These caused me to stop seeing the man God created Scott to be. I zeroed in on ways he didn’t measure up. All I saw was how he let me down. It was all his fault.
As a result I grew volatile. In righteous anger I’d sucker punch him verbally. I tore him to shreds with cruel words, but believed I was not the problem. He needed to change – not me!
In 2009, I sternly announced, “I want a separation.” I couldn’t take another second of Scott’s issues and his unwillingness to change. I had a growing baby in my belly and was convinced we’d be better off without Scott.
At the same time a friend raved about the book Love and Respect. I read it and implemented the principles the author suggested.
For months, I affirmed Scott. I never raised my voice. I sought forgiveness for what he said I did wrong. I truly gave this 100% effort, but Scott was blind to my effort. I wasn’t safe. He didn’t trust me. He held grudges and disconnected even though I was doing my best to connect.
As a result, anger turned to rage. Respect went out with the trash, and I flew off the handle. I wanted him to suffer the way I was suffering. I was belligerent and full of malice. I hated him.
In therapy, a counselor steered me in the wrong direction. “Get over your judgment about divorce and stop seeing marriage as a covenant,” she explained. “Scott broke the marriage contract, and you have every reason to leave.”
She said, “God would not want you to be this unhappy.” And with that, I planned my exit strategy, but God had other plans.
Tensions were thick, and we walked around on eggshells. I was miserable, but when I prayed asking if I could leave, I’d hear, “not yet.” That obviously made me mad. He wasn’t fixing my marriage!
There was no intimacy. We talked of superficial things like “what’s for dinner?”
The disconnection kept things peaceful, but also kept us broken. We no longer hugged or kissed, and I swore the lack of intimacy was his fault. Our marriage would ebb and flow between disconnected peace and world war. We were both battered, but neither had the strength to leave.
But shortly after our fifth anniversary, Scott changed. He confessed admitting he didn’t care the first years of our marriage, but now he did. He’d attempt to hold my hand, and I’d pull away. I deemed him a liar, and knew we’d never make it our sixth anniversary, so why bother?
However, with God all things are possible (Matthew 19:26), and six became seven. Seven became eight. We had serious problems, but Scott was trying
In 2013, God got a hold of me after I was consumed by unloving spirits. I hated my life and my marriage… filled with bitterness and accusation. I only saw what was wrong when God commanded, “I want you to affirm your husband 10 times a day.”
My first thought was “never gonna happen!” Convinced he didn’t love me – I wasn’t willing to put myself out there, but God armed me with strength and power (2 Sam. 22:33). I obeyed.
I struggled to think of two positives. “Thank you for going to work and paying bills.” But slowly, the effort paid off, and my perspective shifted. He’s funny, smart and witty. He’s an incredible dad. Kind. Sensitive. He’s a servant. He desired me to be happy.
The problem was my critical nature, need to have my way and anger were out of control. I felt I had a right to be mad and wore the victim hat proudly, until one day I took a good look in the mirror and realized:
• I was angry with myself – not Scott or God.
• I didn’t hate Scott. I hated myself.
• I needed help.
• I had to change. I realized for the first time – it wasn’t all his fault.
In 2014, I walked into Son Rise Church and Ministries, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ came alive in my life. I focused on ridding the matriarchal spirit and dealing with my junk through repentance and deliverance. Strongholds were replaced with truth. My happiness no longer depended on what Scott did or didn’t do. The major revelation was God is my helper, and Lord Jehovah sustains my soul (Psalm 54:4), not Scott.
I fixed my eyes on God and nothing else. I separated myself from sin and laid the worst parts of myself before Jesus Christ. I took responsibility for what I had done in the marriage. I began to take my thought captive. I sought forgiveness and let the Holy Spirit fill my wounded soul.
My life looked like Psalm 37:40 – the LORD shall help me, and deliver me: He shall deliver me from the wicked, and save me, because I trust in him.
I did trust God, and in May 2015, I experienced a radical encounter while attending healing training. As I felt horrible chest pain I heard, “I’ve fixed your heart. It’s no longer broken.” The pain faded into an unspeakable joy and peace I had never known before. I was touched by God and radically changed.
I forgave Scott, God and myself. I left the past behind and desired to start fresh. I knew I only had control over how I reacted to my spouse. I could pray for him but had no power change him. But even more I ditched all expectations of change, as they were the result of assumptions, judgments and accusations that were nothing more than sin.
The truth was simple: I can’t depend on Scott to meet my needs because that job belonged to God. I can be happy in my circumstances no matter what Scott brought to the table.
I gave Scott space to adjust to his new wife. This wasn’t an easy process. My past behaviors were thrown in my face, as I had not been forgiven. He wasn’t buying that I had been radically transformed. But as days turned to weeks, weeks turned into months, it became clear I was different.
Peace washed through our home for the first time. While I’m not perfect and can fall into old patterns, I quickly recognize what’s happening and shift my behavior. I changed and as a result, my marriage improved.
No matter what Scott was or wasn’t doing, I refused to make a laundry list of shortcomings. I refused to engage when he picked a fight, and I prayed my marriage would continue to improve.
And God was faithful as Scott realized he needed help and started his own ministry. I was now safe, and Scott the room to focus on him. I stopped trying to be the priest of the home and allowed him to rise. I submitted.
Together we are on guard for the spirit of offense. We think before reacting out of our emotions. We give each other the benefit of doubt. We talk, laugh and enjoy life more. What’s disappeared? All outbursts and the need to punish were gone. We became partners – we were finally becoming one flesh (Genesis 2:24).
Six months after my miraculous encounter I heard myself say three words I thought I’d never say again, “I love you.” And the thing is… I meant it.
What a testimony to God – we happily celebrated our 10th anniversary back in April. I never thought we’d make it, but with God all things are possible.
In Genesis 12:1 we learn God, who desires to lead us by the Holy Spirit, would like to lead us in to many things… one of them being a happy covenant relationship with our spouse.
I hate the fact that the enemy convinces Christians that divorce is the only option. We have a marriage crisis in our country because too many believe the enemy’s lies instead of adhering to God’s truth.
Marriage is a divine snapshot of the relationship between Christ and his Bride, the Church. As the Scriptures say, “A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one,” (Mark 10:7-8).
I feel like we finally ditched the contract mentality and understood for the first time the marriage covenant is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one.
My marriage is a testimony to the power of the Word of God being applied. Scott is learning to lay down his life in sacrificial love and protection. And I am learning to shed the type A personality – willing to submit to his leadership. I also have seen the fruit that comes from building up a man rather than tearing him down with critical words and unrealistic expectations.
Today I love Scott for the man he is and the man God made him to be. I no longer long for the man that courted me but enjoy the one that walks through the door at night. Divorce is no longer a word in my vocabulary.
A friend, we have known for years, recently came to the house. As we were leaving, I said “Bye babe” to Scott. Stunned she exclaimed, “That’s the first time I’ve heard you speak endearingly to him and about him. You were always so cold in the past.”
And with that, God whispered, “Good job, faithful servant. I’m proud of you.” Now I look in the mirror and like whom I see and that fills my heart with so much joy.
If you are struggling in your marriage, I urge you to pray this out loud:
Father God, I thank you that you have only good things planned for my marriage. I pray all of Satan’s strongholds will be broken, and my marriage will be saved. Help me Father speak life and not death over my spouse. I pray for restoration and not separation. I pray you draw us to connect and not withdraw. Father, I thank you for reminding me to fix my eyes on you and not on my current circumstances. I thank Jesus Christ for restoring the blessing of Abraham in our lives, and I am grateful this blessing included covenant relationships. Father please help both of us have faith that this blessing is a gift… ready to receive right now I pray the accuser be silenced, all expectations town down, and all bitterness disappears now in might name of Jesus. Renew my love and help me to see all the amazing qualities my spouse has. I lift up my marriage so it can flourish and not flounder in Jesus’ name. Amen and Amen.
Questions to ponder:
1. Are you harboring resentment, bitterness and refuse to forgive your spouse? If so, repent and ask the Holy Spirit help you in this area.
2. What negativity is the enemy speaking over your marriage? Are you convinced things would improve if your spouse changed? If so, get with God and let him lead you into the truth.
3. What areas of weakness do you need to work on that could help improve your marriage?
4. Are speaking life or death into your marriage? Your words matter! Start praising your partner and speaking life into your marriage by focusing on the good instead of the bad.
For further information on the Matriarchal and Patriarchal Passive/Control profiles, visit http://sonrisechurchandministries.sermon.net/main/main/8360324 and listen to the great teaching by Pastor John Aldridge of Son Rise Church and Ministries.