At the beginning of October, I attended a women’s retreat at Hume Lake, in Kings Canyon National Park. Among the things that were appealing to me about this event – like the beauty of the location and spending time with good friends – was the message I received from the talented speakers. As a result of reviewing my notes from this year’s retreat, I have written over five blog posts, of varying topics. This one, of course, is about marriage.
On the last morning of the retreat, in her final message of the weekend, the speaker said this:
Joy is evidence of God’s presence in your life.When the thing that is valuable becomes familiar, the joy is lost.
In my notes from Dr. Salierno’s final message of the weekend, I wrote these questions in the margin:
The more I started thinking about that last question and this word valuable, I wondered…how do I treat things differently when I consider them valuable? Some things, like precious jewelry (which I don’t have much of) I keep hidden away and don’t wear often. Other things, like important documents, I put in a special place in my files. To me, the theme was clear – these things I do are all in an attempt to protect what I deem valuable.
Obviously, I can’t put my marriage in a box or keep it hidden away somewhere. So, how do I protect it?
Prayer, alone and with your spouse. As wives, we should be praying for our marriages and our husbands. We should take these things to God daily, multiple times. It should be the priority of our hearts, to surrender these things, which are so precious, to God constantly. Prayer builds intimacy, which is a cord that is not easily broken.
I will admit, that since God convicted me about praying with my husband, in addition to praying for him, my actions have not been consistent with my desire. This is an area where I need take action and seek accountability (see below).
Show love, even when you don’t feel it. When describing love, many people often talk about feelings. But, I believe that love is an action. Take a look at the words Paul uses to describe love in 1 Corinthians 13: patient, kind, unassuming, humble, hopeful, and enduring.
There are many days when I don’t feel like being encouraging, kind, or loving. Whether it’s because I have let the stress of the day get to me or because my husband has forgotten to do the errand I asked him to do. Yet, love is not based on circumstance or feeling. We must make the choice to show love, to put another’s needs above our own, despite our circumstances.
Make time for each other. Finding time to spend with your spouse is difficult. Especially when you are not only husband and wife, but parents as well. However, it is important. How can your husband feel treasured if you don’t take time for him?
How we manage our time shows what we value. I know that if I don’t set aside quality time to spend with my husband, he won’t feel valued, at least by me. This is dangerous, especially if he is tempted to seek value from somewhere or someone else.
Find someone, other than your spouse, to be accountable to. In my weekly Bible study, we have been examining the book of Esther. In a recent lesson, I found a quote that I think stresses this need for connectedness and accountability. Beth Moore writes,
Disconnected people can never be whole. Vulnerable and painful though it may be, a community of people whose lives are tied together by the tender strings of the heart is life the way God meant it to be lived.
I am very lucky to have many Christian, women friends. Among those women, are a few who I trust completely. These are the women who I have asked for accountability and prayer. Sharing with a friend about your marriage may not be easy, but having a trusted friend who can ask you hard questions, while lifting your needs up to God, is essential.
We are all, both husbands and wives, human. Therefore, we are vulnerable to sin. This vulnerability, along with the desire to keep the valuable from becoming familiar, requires us to be intentional about protecting ourselves and our marriages.
What do you need to do to protect your marriage?
If you would like an accountability partner, but do not have the resources in your own life, please email me. I would love to pray for you and your marriage.