What we all need to be aware of in any of our relationships is that it is going to involve pain. The world wants us to think that if our marriage is painful, we must have made a mistake and should find someone else who appreciates us or can make us happy so that we do not have to experience pain. What a joke. Ya, how is that working out for us?
The quote from princess bride that says “Life is pain highness, anyone telling you different is trying to sell you something” is a profound truth for everyone on earth. To be a loving and committed wife, mother sister and friend, I have to carry my cross. My cross, my suffering will be shaped formed by what I have brought to the table, my own inadequacies, my own shortcomings and my own past experiences from my childhood experiences and relatives that perhaps shaped me. Whatever the shape, it will always lead to sanctification if I faithfully carry it and follow Christ. However, God brings all of us a Simon. That person who helps us carry our Cross. In the vocation of marriage, it is our spouse.
I dearly love my husband and I need him to live out my life and in fact he is was given to me by God for this reason, to help me carry my cross so that I can grow in holiness. My husband is uniquely qualified to help me heal my wounds and grow in holiness. God makes no mistakes. Have you ever noticed that you tend to pick a spouse that seems to bring out the worst in you at times? That is actually a mercy. What? Let me explain. If you read my article on Healing the Whole person you will remember that the devil is so clever that he often hides himself in old wounds and we, of our own free will bind him there which does not allow for healing. Well, our spouse can be a bright florescent light and it can shine deep into our most secret places and expose those wounds. It is a mercy because without being aware of them, they fester and make us sick and infect us.
So God gives us a spouse that can help us to see the places God desires to heal. God knew that our spouse would be the person who could best help me carry my cross. Just like Simon, they might night really want to do it at first and resist, but just as Simon realized what he was carrying and the importance of it, so too will our spouse when we let God open our eyes to it. Let me help you to see.
My husband really is perfectly suited to help me become sanctified. Where I am weak, he is my strength and vice versa but also, he shines lights into the places that I am most wounded, not because we are bad for one another, but in Christ’s mercy, God desires for us to find healing and so we are given a person that may bring to light the shortcomings we run away from. It is not that we are mismatched but the reality is we are perfectly matched and Christ wants us to have the courage to go into the wounds so that we can bring Christ into them and turn them inside out. Our wounds, when we allow Christ in, become our greatest glory just as Christ’s wounds from our sin became the greatest glory. Why? Because there is victory after the suffering. I think that is why we have the bible story of Thomas asking to put his fingers into Christs hands and side. It is to show us, that the wounds do not go away, they become transformed, they become a “sign” of victory and glory, perhaps our greatest asset. The devil wants us to stay away from our wounds because he wants us to remain in the suffering, the blame and the shame.
Despite my husbands faults, I believe him to be a loving and generous father. If not for the love he has demonstrated to me over the past 17 years, I would not have had the courage to go into my own wounds and do the things that I have done. Instead, I fear for where I would be now if not for him. It is interesting that because of my past abuse in childhood, that the most healing quality of my husband attributes is his quick humor and whit. I truly believe that his humor is another mercy given to me by God. In fact, when I decided to marry my husband I said to him “I am going to laugh so much in our marriage that when we are old and living in an old folks home I am going to be sitting in a rocking chair laughing, just remembering all the funny things from our life together”. Guess what he said then? He said “Ya, and I will be saying; Why do you keep putting me in a room with that lady I told you I don’t know her”. It was this humor and joy that very early on convinced me that I needed to be with him my whole life long if I was going to make it through this world which can be anything but joyful. This reminds me of another quote from a movie. It’s a kids movie called “Surfs Up” and it is about a penguin that wants to compete in a surfing contest and meets his hero and is being given surfing lessons. The Big Z, the hero, says to him “No joy man, no joy…fail.” He said this because the reason the penguin wanted to compete in the contest was to prove to his family he was valuable, but in doing so was missing the whole point of life. How many times do I do that myself. I get so caught up proving myself, defending myself or fighting everyone that I forget to find joy in my life.
No joy, that would be me without my husband, in fact, that is why my mother is so angry and unhappy, her life has no joy. He makes me laugh when my first instinct is to complain or judge or get angry because of my temperament (choleric) and this always diffuses my anger.
However, many people find that they are on the verge of divorce or are dealing with selfishness and addictions. Let me tell you, that I know first hand how devastating this can be to a marriage. However, we must realize who we are fighting and it is not each other. “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Eph 6:12
When we realize the fight is not against our spouse but FOR our spouse then we can allow love to overcome our anger. The rest of this article is a letter , a Valentine if you wish, that I wrote to my husband in a time of trial. I pray that it reveals to you how powerful you can be in aiding your spouse in overcoming trials that threaten your marriage. Then I ask you to say a prayer and then write your own spouse a Valentine that will encourage and inspire him to greatness.
You have worth and value that you did not earn or merit, it was a gift, you are not a dung heap covered with snow, you are snow covered with dung. The dung is what the enemy keeps trying to heap on you, but through confession it is removed. The sacraments give us the grace, we CAN NOT do it ourselves. You are a unique and unrepeatable human being made in the image and likeness of God and where made for union and communion with Him. Through your vocation of husband and father you are given a foretaste of heaven and paradise with your family. Our marriage is meant to be an icon, pointing you to what awaits us, here we experience union and communion with each other as a foreshadowing of true union and communion.
As much as you love me and I love you, Christ the divine lover, loves and desires you more. He thirsts for you, he aches for you, to hold you and comfort you. The enemy will try and keep you in the bowels and stench of self loathing. He will lead you to believe that the way you feel about yourself is the way that God feels about you, or your children, or me. THE DEVIL IS THE ENEMY AND THE LIER. God loves us, you are his child. When our children defy us or act like their utmost chaotic and self destructive worst, as their father, do you hate them? Do you loath them? Is your first emotion and desire one of disgust and desire to repudiate them or punish them or to wish they never existed? No! Your first reaction, if it is like mine, is sorrow. Deep grief and sorrow. This is God’s heart for you and for me. He sees how we act like animals and his heart is grieved as any father would and He does everything in His power to reveal His love to us so that we might turn to Him and believe that He knows best.
The world is a very cruel place and Satan desires to sneak in and make you believe that you have no worth, he desires to keep you weak in faith so that he can manipulate you. Why? Prov 23:7 – For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.
The devil is clever, but God is even more so. When you think this is too hard…tell yourself I can not do this, but God can. Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
I believe that God gave you me because God knew how very much I would love you and since He understood how very far removed your family would take you in believing or every knowing what God’s grace and love could be, perhaps God knew that through my love that you would see God’s love and that this would give you the courage to believe He exists.
Shawn, if I could wave a magic wand and make it better I most certainly would, but God’s ways are not our ways and through these trials and tribulations our marriage will blossom beyond all expectations and our spirits will be renewed and we will find more love for each other than we possibly knew we had. Our hearts must be stretched if we are to love more, God is stretching our hearts, which is very painful, but it is a glorious gift for us! If we did not experience this painful stretching, our hearts would not be open or big enough to fit inside of it all that God desires to pour into us. He is giving us more! A larger portion, because he favor’s us, be brave and remain steadfast because Romans 8:28 “in all things God works together with those who love him to bring about what is good”
I am only quoting scripture because I want to combat those voices that keep lying to you. Those voices will try to get you to believe that I am somehow mistaken, that any words I use to convince you of worth are because I am somehow blinded by love and so can not see or “know” the real you. But if I use the words of God, those voices must be silent! God knows all, He sees all and knows everything, even your deepest darkest secrets, even the most evil thing that you have done and yet, God still loves you. Do not depend on my love to get you through this because the enemy will use this weakness against you. Use the love God has for you, because He loves you as you love your own children, regardless of faults and failures. You are his son and he knew what he was getting when He created you, you are no surprise to God, yet….He wanted you and created you despite His knowledge that you would fail Him. Isn’t that great!!! I tell myself that all the time when I am feeling miserable. God knew what He was getting when He made me, I am no surprise to God and He created me anyways.
Just know I love you. This is doable. I will continue to show you that I love you and that we can do this together. May the blessed mother wrap you in her arms and kiss your forehead for me, may Christ’s tender mercy flow and spill out as a salve on your heart through the healing power of the Holy Spirit, May God the Father, embrace the man that he created revealing to you that you are a great joy and consolation to Him regardless of your faults.
Loving you now and forever,
Copyright 2011 Christina King