Articles

A FRESH "REVELATION" GIVES A TIRED MARRIAGE NEW LIFE!
by Sally Green (Pseudonym)

It’s 7:30 AM. The cars in my complex parking lot are beginning to leave for work as I sit on my patio doing my weekly Bible study. This particular study is forcing me to dig into the book of Revelation for the answers. I always thought the book of Revelation was going to be too hard to understand so I stayed away from classes on it...until now. I never dreamed what mind-boggling delight was about to unfold in my life because of this particular morning.

In the next few minutes my life was about to make a 360 degree turn toward God. The effects of which only time will tell for God’s kingdom. A horn beeps. Out of the open apartment windows I hear the children getting ready for school. My neighbor waves to me. It is really just an ordinary weekday…but not for me!

Finally I push myself to get down to business forcing my eyes on to the text of the morning, Revelation 3:4-6. These verses speak about overcomers. These overcomers’ names will not be blotted out of the Lamb’s Book of Life. I read about these overcomers in a few verses. It is as if there is nothing else on the page but this phrase “he who overcomes”. Even though I have devoted all my married life trying to serve God I can’t get away from a searing stab in my soul from this phrase. Who in the world are these overcomers? All I can think of is that I want to be one of them.

I know if we allow Him, the Holy Spirit will put pressure on one’s spirit through reading and meditating on God’s word. Today this pressure was more than I could bear. I decided the only way to go was to ask God to help me make sure my name would not be blotted out of the Lamb's Book of Life.

Immediately the thought fell on me like the weight of a 2 ton truck….”Clean up your marriage”! “Lord, after 35 years there’s not much I can do - nothing is going to change. Our personalities are as far apart as the east is from the west. “Clean up your marriage”! The thought was not leaving. How can I do that? Where do I begin?

I did know where to begin. I had been harboring very long term heartache and suppressing it for over 30 years of marriage feeling emotionally neglected maybe even at times taken for granted by a man who probably couldn’t do any better if he tried due to his particular personality and upbringing. While he tried to show me love in his actions he found it difficult to express it in words.

Over the years I tried to tell him in different ways. Once I even asked him if he would like a divorce since he didn’t seem to notice me or act like he needed me. I had even stopped asking him if he could think of any nice things to say or tell me about myself. I had wished I didn’t have to ask.

It was then I realized no change would be possible since he said he had no idea he was treating me that way and he certainly did not want a divorce. He loved me.

We had gone to see a couple of counselors over the years to see what was going on in our interactions to cause this discrepancy in our thought processes. Certainly we started out very naively wanting to serve God together and love each other, I thought. These attempts didn’t seem to be of much help plus they were costly.

So I continued to move ahead with my attempts at asking periodically if he could think of any nice things to say to encourage me or about my personhood.

He continued to provide and help raise our children into wonderful adults. He also seemed to accept me as a peer in pastoring churches- respectfully passing along any credit to me when any of my ideas were successful in our work.

Here I was after 35 years of marriage working day in and day out enjoying a very good professional rapport but on the emotionally intimate side of life feeling there was no further help to be had and terribly heartbroken about it.

At times I felt such rejection to my personhood I could barely keep asking for kind words of affirmation. I still continued since just hearing kind loving words spoken to me by someone else were helpful to my spirit….until today.

“What are you saying to me Lord?’ Am I not doing enough for you both in our professional life and in our marriage?” I couldn’t help feeling sad about all those emotionally lost years. After all, no one said life was easy or perfect. I would actually need a lobotomy to erase all those years of memories.

“Give him a fresh start every morning as if you just met him.”

“No, Lord he doesn’t deserve that kind of treatment even if he isn’t capable of treating me any different. He should bear some of the responsibility."

"Do you deserve what I did for you in sending my Son? Do you deserve the air you breathe?"

The sun on the patio had become so hot I couldn’t stand it. The internal pressure I found myself in was so uncomfortable I was squirming to find a cool hole to crawl into to get away from the voice of the LIVING GOD. It was true and my spirit knew it. It wasn't about what my husband deserved; God only cared about my OBEDIENCE.

I felt like I was sacrificing something; possibly the hugest sacrifice of my life. What was it? I know what it will take. I will have to, in humility, set my pride completely aside and act like I just met this man tomorrow morning - perhaps look at him with the eyes of a person sitting next to him on a plane from Minneapolis to San Diego…

“Hi, are you going to San Diego on business?”

“Yes?”

“What business are you in?”

“Oh, you’re a pastor. How nice.” (I notice he doesn’t have a wedding ring on) “What? You are a college teacher also? How nice! You are also an author! Really! What books have you written?”

“Religious textbooks, counseling and Bible study books.”

“Really!”

At this point in my mind’s eye I think not only does this man seem intelligent and accomplished but has a strong work ethic - not to mention a strong dedication to helping people learn to follow God. On top of that I am extremely drawn to want to get to know him better. He is very handsome to boot. This is too good to be true, I think. How could I ever find all this rolled into one human? I have always wanted to find such a man. This man has the makings of a choice dating partner if not partner in life for someone like me. I also want to be useful in helping people find God.

“See, would that be too hard to see him the way I see him?“ God questioned. “You haven’t had to live with him for 35 years“, I said.

“Did I create the world?”

“Of course, Lord. Please forgive me. I’ll try it tomorrow.”

Post note: That was 10 years ago. We are still pastoring churches. Because of this terribly humbling step of faith of mine in my change of heart we have been able to deliberately take hurting churches and help them heal from their misunderstandings and reconcile their differences. We have been able to do this because we have seen what regular faithful study of God’s Word has done in our marriage hence can and does do in anyone’s life who will consistently do the same.

Sisters, we have the answers to life at our fingertips. We can’t let the evil one distract us. Purpose to get together with others of like mind and truly concentrate on what God wants us to know each and every week directly out of His Word besides our own daily quiet time. For me, only the sky has been my limit. I have never loved nor enjoyed working with my husband more than these last 10 years, giving him a fresh start every single morning. He tells me it doesn’t pay to try and win an argument since the next day it will be like nothing ever happened. There just isn’t any reason for stress. What has God been trying to tell you lately about your marriage? _____________________________________________________________________________________________

Sally Green (pseudonym) and her husband have been in ministry 35 years and are pastoring their fifth church. They have three grown children and one grandchild. She is a dear friend of Heart of America Ministry Women and we respect her desire for anonymity. She is happy to receive your Emails at sally.green2010@yahoo.com