January 10, 2008

Keeping Marriage Strong

I’ve not always had the best marriage. I spent lots of years misunderstanding his needs, misunderstanding what respect really means and how vital it is for him to feel that from me, and generally being completely self centered and making it all about what he needs to do for me rather than what we both need from each other…

“Why can’t he spend more time with me?”

“Why does he need sex so much…what a caveman!”

“Why do we always have to talk about his work and not about the things that interest me?”

“Why can’t he be more like…. (Fill in the blank)?”

So it shouldn’t have really shocked me when it reached the point where I had pushed him away so much with my complaining and martyr attitude that we hit a major crisis point in our marriage.

Through lots of counseling, prayer, good books, marriage conferences and heart to heart talks, God managed to soften our hearts enough to deal with a lot of our issues and give us some fresh perspective on what marriage should truly look like.

And we got to a healthy place.

But even though we were strong and united, you never really stop learning and realizing that you’ll never reach a place where you have “arrived”; that there is always more to learn.

So recently, when we were asked to go through some training to become Marriage Coaches, our first thought was, “Are you kidding? You know what we’ve gone through. Why would you want us to help anyone with their marriage?”

But they convinced us and we did it.

And it took us to the next level.

I learned that we are a team. That whatever affects one person (depression, stress, work, trouble with friendships, childhood abuse, money) affects the team. That whatever isn’t working for one of us (how the bills get paid, spending, too much/too little sex, techniques while managing the house and kids) isn’t working for us as a team.

And we walked away with some concrete tools to use when we were in conflict that didn’t come from a generic plan written in a book but were tailor made by us to meet our individual personalities and strengths.

So I say all that to say this… Go check out the work that is being done at MarriageTeam.org. It’s changing the lives of couples, their kids, their friends, and everyone else they share it with. And if you find that you are having problems in your own marriage or you just need a good marriage check up, contact them and they will match you up with a coach couple in your area that has gone through hours of extensive training to help you make some healthy changes in your marriage.

And because they are a non-profit organization, they operate on a completely voluntary basis. The people involved are committed to helping strengthen marriages and families and give their own time to help mentor others. And they have a great opportunity to build this ministry…

Parade magazine and the Case Foundation have partnered for a short duration fund raising campaign for non-profits who will use the web for fund raising. This is a national campaign and the Case foundation is providing $500,000 in awards and grants to the non-profits who receive the most donations through this campaign. You may give more than once, but it only counts once for the each individual.

So if you feel lead, please click on the link in my sidebar and consider donating. No amount is too small. If God can feed the multitudes with a few fish and some bread then he can use your few dollars to reach just as many marriages.


Halfmoon Girl said...

The fact that you have struggled in your marriage will make you so much better at working with other couples that are in conflict. From what I have read here, I think you will both be a great help!

candi said...

What a great ministry opportunity!! Like you our first years of marriage were HELL!! Not that it is perfect now, in fact I was just thinking yesterday that it is time to invest our focus on that again, we really have come a long way!!
I will be praying for you and your husband and all of the couples that God brings your way!

Sister Honey Bunch said...

Awesome testimony about your marriage. Thank you for sharing and being an example.

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed reading this post. I think the first thing I discovered when I got married is just how incredible selfish I am. Marriage is work. I love stories where people fight for their marriage instead of divorcing when things get bad.

May God richly bless you and use you both to be an encouragement to other couples. This is cool.


ConservaChick said...

I could see how God would call you and Chris into this. You are both clearly annointed in this area. I have no doubt you will change lives! ~Karlie

Mrs. Jules said...

Thank you for sharing your heart. This is a great testimony and a huge encouragement to others.

EEEEMommy said...

We really could use a little marriage refresher retreat ourselves right about now....

I know you think I'm attracted to your blog because of the potty talk ;), but really I started reading your blog because I stumbled across your marriage testimony on your old book club blog and was so blessed by it. It has come up in conversation several times with my husband, and we have both been blessed by your honesty and willingness to share it! I am confident that God is going to continue to use you to bless, challenge, and encourage, other couples! My prayers are with you as you venture into this ministry more deeply!
I'll go check out the link now.

Cindy said...

I'm so glad you guys have been able to share what you've been through, and of course so, so glad you've experienced so much healing. You will really bless anyone you talk marriage with. I know I'VE been blessed by your testimony. Love you, girl.

Shari said...

I appreciate your honesty about your marriage. As my husband and I started becoming more serious about our Christianity and ministry work, the enemy started attacking our marriage. The devil does not want Christians to stay married.

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