If you have been married for any length of time, you may have experience moments or even seasons of time that you and your spouse have not been exactly in sync with each other….
The summer our boys were turning 3, 7 & 9 my husband, Rick quit his job of 14 years and went to a full-time police academy. It was an intense 6-month program. He would leave at 6:00 am and get home around 6:00 pm, with usually 2 to 3 hours of homework each night. He had to keep his uniform pressed and his shoes shined. We made an agreement. He would take care of everything he needed and work incredibly hard to successfully complete this program. I would take care of our 3 boys, 2 with special needs, take care of everything with the house and try to keep my real estate career going. During those 6 months, our oldest son that had been born blind, developed asthma and had to start using an inhaler. Our middle son started having migraine headaches and when they hit he couldn’t keep anything down all day. We found out our youngest son, who would later be diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, had a hearing lost that we didn’t know for a few months if it could be corrected or not. I had 6 real estate deals fall apart, so basically, I worked for practice (no income) the last half of the year. All this created a lot of extra doctors’ appointments, financial strain, and a new level of stress. Rick was dealing with a different kind of stress but just as real. I could not take anything off him nor could he take any of my load.
Rick successfully completed the academy in mid-December. Rick had always been good about helping around the house and sharing in parenting duties. With him now working just a normal 40-hour week, I could not wait to have him jump back in. I knew there would be some adjustments with a new job and new hours, but after the holidays, I was over the top ready for things to get back to some normalcy. Rick was really enjoying JUST working 40 hours a week, period. I was still doing most all the running with the kids and he still wasn’t helping hardly at all around the house. I found myself, constantly frustrated with him for not jumping back into his role, sometimes being very vocal about it. If I opened my mouth, I struggled to be kind. I didn’t like who I was becoming.
A few weeks into this, we were in an adult Sunday school class and this lady, Sharon shared something that struck a chord with me. She talked about a time she was struggling with her husband. She said, “I decided to stop talking and start praying!”. She cut a piece of cloth and anointed it with oil… I think she used Crisco, the super spiritual kind. She held the cloth while she prayed for her husband. Then she slid it into his pillow case. Every day for the next 30 days she pulled that piece of cloth out while she prayed for her husband and then slid it back in his pillowcase. She talked about how powerful it was and all the positive changes that happen to her husband and somethings that God changed in her heart during that time as well.
That week I found myself still whining and even more resentful towards Rick. I cut up an old faded baby blanket, I put a few drops of whatever oil we had in the kitchen and started praying. I slipped it into his pillowcase… my biggest fear was him finding it and thinking I was crazy. Actually, at this point I probably was on the edge of crazy, I was desperate and willing to try about anything! I week went by… nothing, two weeks went by… nothing was changing. I remember Sharon saying, don’t give up after two or three weeks, commit to 30 days. So, every day I prayed! I tried really hard to not say anything to Rick (or anyone else) about everything he wasn’t doing, some days I had to bite my lip harder than others. Around the 22nd day, I came home and he was doing the dishes. I will be honest, I had a quick moment of joy and then wanted to blurt, “it’s about time!” Thankfully, I was able to swallow my pride and not say anything until I could say something nice. I said something to the affect, “I was glad to see you doing the dishes and that you folded some laundry”. He said, “yeah, it was kind of like a light bulb went off and I realized I needed to help more around the house”. I kept such a poker face, but there was an out of control happy dance happening inside of me. I went off and cried, I knew God had intervene and He had done a way better job than my nagging would have ever done.
Has our marriage been perfect ever since… heck no! We are two imperfect people. I am thankful and blessed to be married to someone that even during our tough seasons neither of us have been willing to give up on “us”.
What I have learned is sometimes we need to talk about whatever it is, but there are times, in any close relationship, you need to stop talking and pray even more! It maybe your spouse or your friend that needs a change of heart or direction, but it also might be you! I find when I really spend time in prayer and learn to let God jump in, sometimes He is wanting to give me correction or direction. Prayer is a powerful tool, not to manipulate but with a pure heart to prayerfully gain wisdom and help direct us and others to a better path.
I do believe in spiritual warfare… a thief (evil) is only there to steal, kill and destroy… he wants to rob you of any precious relationships you have. My bible notes say in contrast, life in Christ is lived on a higher plane because of his overflowing forgiveness, love and guidance. Our marriages, families and close friends are worth going to battle for!