Nothing seems to drain Hope and Courage out of me faster (and harsher) than when my marriage is going wrong. I know I'm not the only spouse that has felt this way... with the current divorce rate averaging 50%.... I'm going to assume that atleast half of the people I know (that are married) have, at one point or another, felt discouraged and hopeless about their marriage.
There are tremendous 'ups', and outrageous 'downs' in this relationship! It seems as if over the past 9 years we've been playing this sort of board game. We're on 'start' in the beginning, trying to figure each other out, learn how to communicate, and create a partnership to go along with the love and friendship that ignited the desire to marry in the first place; we roll the dice and land on various 'tiles' in this board game: Start a business, have a baby, buy a house, start a new career, buy a car, etc. etc. etc.
Here's the problem with this board game (a metaphor for my marriage):
After each advancement to a new tile, we draw a card that says "Go Back To Start"...... But we always 'cheat', ignoring the rules in an effort to hurry along to the next tile. So, after our first baby was born, instead of relearning how to communicate, budget, etc.. ("going back to start"), we assumed we'd be fine doing what we'd always done; despite the major change we had added to our life.
We've NEVER gone back to start. Instead, we draw a bunch of "Move Back 10 Spaces" and we don't get the option to 'cheat' and ignore that card's orders. This disables us from moving on with the game (the marriage), keeping us stuck on tiles that we have been on, over and over and OVER again. And what is the typical response to an individual that can't seem to advance, whether it be a game, a career, a relationship (or whatever)? Quit!
Just quit.... is what over 50% of our brains tell us to do. And I'm just going to go out on a limb here, and assume that like 97.6% of our brains are actually 'telling' us to quit, but only around 1/2 listen to that prompt.
My brain has been screaming at me, telling me that if I don't go on back to "start" I'll never advance, and I will have to quit [my marriage].
My heart, my spirit, THE TRUTH tells me to suck it up, though. And I also know that it's not so much my 'brain' prompting me quit, as much as it is Satan.
I have a beautiful friend, an incredible blessing in my life. God knew I'd need her, and He gave her a boldness to speak to me in Truth, and in Love so that I would hear what He would being saying to me if He were in the flesh sitting beside me.
When I was confessing my anger and hurt, and frustration in regard to the challenges I've faced in my marriage, she said to me
"Amber. What if this is your cross to bear? What if GOD is using this to teach you how to deal with your struggles?"
AND BAM! That was it. I got out of my 'woe is me' pit and just went over that statement with myself, thinking about how TRUE it is that my own problems have nothing to do with him.
Screeech. Hold on. Let me stop here. I need to clarify (confess, admit, show some skin, whatever) my 'struggle'. I have a really (REALLY) hard time conrolling my emotions. In short, my struggle is 'self-control', but it manifest itself in my marriage as ANGER.
So? Do I think God is 'making' my marriage bad? Is He 'allowing' the issues in our marriage to remain, in order to teach me 'self-control'???
NO! And if anyone tried to convince me of this, I'd laugh in their face. ( That's not how My GOD rolls....)
He is just sweet enough, and LOVING enough to USE the hardship I face during the crappy times in my marriage. As in- "My grace is sufficient for you, and my strength is made perfect in weakness" (When it sucks big time and you're at your lowest, God's grace is enough, and HIS strength is enabled to come out)
So, where I would have NOT A CLUE how to get a grasp on self-control, God takes it upon Himself to use a bad situation (a problem with in my marriage) that almost always makes me fail and lose control (get angry and act stupid), to show me where I am weak, and where I lack. And then, He allows me to make a choice...
Do I use this [fill in the blank 'issue' with in my marriage] to practice self-control and get a grasp on my anger, or do I let it go to waste, and see nothing good out of this bad?
I hope I choose the former more and more, because the latter is a stupid choice.