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Saturday, December 9, 2006

Conflict In Marriage, Part Two

As I mentioned last night, the early years of our marriage were filled with stress and conflict. Some self imposed, some from ignorance, while much was poor communication and immaturity. Oh that I could go back and do it over, knowing what I do now, how different our marriage would be.

Unfortunately, we don't get to live life over, but God does give us the present and hopefully, the future, in which to make good choices. Our marriage is on a solid foundation now and we've learned much about communicating. We haven't arrived, and yes....we still have times of stress normal to any Christian marriage, but the Lord broke us out of the downward spiral we were in those many years ago.

How, you might ask? What did it take to turn things around? It wasn't any one thing that did it, although there were a couple of events that helped get my attention.

I'd spoken to our pastor about our situation and my unhappiness with where Allen was (or wasn't) spiritually. He listened patiently. I remember little about the conversation, although I'm sure he must have been supportive and kind. But one thing he said stuck with me till this day. "Miralee, you've got to quit trying to play the Holy Spirit in Allen's life. It's not your job. As long as you continue to do so, God will step back and keep His hands off. He won't be able to do much for Allen until you release him, and allow God to be in control."

Control....that was a tough one for me. I didn't have a clue at the time what an issue it had become in my life. I don't remember ever having a problem with needing to be in control growing up and my mom says I was a very easy child to raise (other than loving to talk!). But the more our marriage drifted into trouble, and the more my husband pulled away, the stronger my need to be in control.

The other instance happened while in prayer. I'd spent considerable time detailing to God all the reasons He needed to change my husband and what I felt He needed to do, to bring about that change. It was the first time (but certainly not the last) that I heard nearly an audible voice that emanated from my spirit. "Allen isn't the problem here, you are. He's about 20% of the problem, you're the rest. You need to let go and let me work."

If a mule had kicked me in the stomach, the shock would've been less. I truly felt flattened by the words. Me? Most of the problem? But I was the Christian! I was praying, reading the word, going to church, taking the major role in raising our children. I wasn't drinking, staying out late, breaking my promises, neglecting my family or any of the other grievances I had against my husband. How could I be the problem?

I fell on my face before the Lord, and began to weep and repent, as He drove home His point, then wrapped His arms of love around me. I got up determined to learn all I could about Christian marraige and how to do it right. No, nothing changed immediately, but over the course of the next few months, then years, as I learned to let go, Allen began to change.

Did I get it right every time? Of course not. I slipped and fell time after time. It took more than one pastors help and counsel in the future to break through to the place we are now. But I'm firmly convinced it was those two by a Godly man and one by God Himself, that started me on the road to letting go. Had that not happened, I truly believe Allen wouldn't be where he is today. He'd still be running from a weepy, fearful wife, who showed her love for him in all the wrong ways.

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