relationship

What If My Spouse Becomes Disconnected From God?

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In the past couple of years, I been pregnant twice and dealt with postpartum blues. For a long time, I was in a dark place. I felt like the words in the Bible were just bouncing off my brain. I would wake up to my toddler standing by my bed saying “Mama, I’m hungry,” roll out of bed, and start my day feeling irritated and wondering when I would be able to take a nap. Life felt so hard and it felt like I was on my own.

At the same time, I was questioning a lot of religious traditions I had grown up doing, like church going and other stuff. Even now, I’m trying to decide what aspects of my faith I want to hold on to, and which ones I want to let go of.

So I can definitely sympathize with anyone who feels this way.  But what do you do when it’s your spouse going through it? What do you do when you feel like your spouse just isn’t in tune with God the way they used to be?

After all, the Bible does say, “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” Is it possible to still have a loving, Christ-centered marriage if your spouse is in a spritual funk?

I think it is.

But there are certain things to keep in mind in order to make sure that happens.

1. People change, and so will their relationship with God.

You’re not the same person you were when you first got married. Every year, you’re going through new experiences, learning new things, and developing.  Traumatic things happen that shake our faith sometimes. So with all that going on, don’t expect your spouse to be the exact way they were when you first got together.

When we first got together, I was super disciplined and consistent in my devotional life.  I was waking up every morning at 5am to pray and journal. I was super involved at my church and I was super strict with my diet too.  But as I got older, had kids, and went through the ups and downs of life, the way I related to God started to change. Through it all, Jono never once looked at me differently. He didn’t try to guilt me into a better relationship with God. He was always encouraging me to learn on my own.

It’s so important to give them room to make mistakes and grow. Yes, you’re married to each other, but your walk with God is still an individual thing. So you may be on level of understanding and faith in your journey, and they might be on another. Give them time and space to grow at their own pace.

2. Focus on connecting, not religious rituals. 

I remember that I used to try to be so militant about my devotional time with Jono. We had to read a passage of Scripture or other spiritual book, talk about it, pray, sing, etc. But as time went by, our devotional time together started to look different. Nowadays, we pray together a few times a week, but every day we listen to a podcast together in the car and talk about it, or have pillow talk at the end of the day to catch up and share what’s been going on that day with one another.

Be flexible about what your devotional time together looks like. If your spouse isn’t into reading the Bible right now, try doing something different together, like reading a personal development book, or listening to a podcast, or just going on a hike alone together and using part of that time to talk about your goals for the future.  You can stay connected to each other in other ways besides praying together, trust me! Your marriage can stay healthy as long as you’re blocking off time to spend together doing something you both enjoy.

3. Become the middle man.

Whether your spouse is wrestling with trauma they’ve experienced, or doubts about their faith, you can make a difference! You can intercede for them by praying for them even if they aren’t praying for themselves. Over and over in the Bible we have so many examples that intercession works. Not only do your prayers give room for God to work on your spouse, but it also changes YOU! Praying for your spouse will help you become more compassionate and understanding of their situation. Instead of feeling like putting on a facade for your sake, your spouse will feel supported and encouraged.

Remember, the way you treat your spouse during this time can make your marriage stronger, or isolate you from each other even more.

4. Remember that God is in control.

God created your spouse, so He loves them even more than you do! He knows what He’s doing, so don’t feel like your spouse’s salvation is riding on your shoulders. Give God room to work that part out.

Hope this helps!

 

Do You Have A Marriage Mindset?

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Every time I reflect on my journey from singleness to marriage, and now being a wife with kids, one thing continues to stand out to me: it’s all about mindset.

When my husband and I first started dating, we clashed A LOT. We had been great friends up until that point, but once our differences started causing disagreements between us, I would lose my temper, ignore his calls and text messages, and basically “punish” him. In my mind I was setting boundaries in our relationship and showing him exactly what I would and would NOT put up with.

But as I continued that pattern into our marriage, I realized that my habits were going to destroy my marriage slow if I let them continue. Every time something happened between us I was making it all about myself and seeing him as the villain in the situation.

I was selfish.

If you haven’t read it already, I wrote a post about the night we had our biggest fight. It was the turning point in our relationship, because my eyes were finally opened to the truth.

Our marriage wasn’t about me. It was about US.

The thing you have to remember when you go through rough patches in your marriage is that the RELATIONSHIP is the most important thing. Yes, your feelings count. Yes, your spouse’s issues have to be addressed. But you can only work things out properly when you’re doing it with the mindset of making your relationship better.

Here are some ways having the marriage mindset enhances your relationship with your spouse:

1.  It gives you courage to let go of destructive habits. Some of us struggle with deep-rooted issues that result in destructive decisions: addictions, affairs, porn, fault-finding, verbal abuse. When your relationship becomes your internal priority, you’ll quickly realize that you can’t continue to indulge in these things AND have a great relationship with your spouse. You’ll give up whatever is necessary in order to build and heal your marriage.

2.  It gives you courage to forgive sincerely. When you feel resentful about having to put your pride aside, it’s because you’ve made yourself the most important person in the relationship, instead of the relationship itself. When your relationship is the priority, you’ll forgive freely once you’ve made peace with your partner’s mistakes because you know that you can only move forward if you work together to get past it. You realize that growth takes time and they won’t get it right every time.

3. It gives you courage to get help-before it's too late. When your marriage is the priority, and not your pride, you’ll realize that you don’t have all the answers. You’ll see that you can’t do it all by yourself. And that will lead you to seek wisdom and accountability from people who have great marriages, counselors, or therapists. Anyone who feels like they don’t want people knowing their business, or that they don’t need help even when their marriage is on the brink of shattering, is still putting their ego first. EVERYONE needs accountability. EVERYONE has something they can improve on.

The love that you share with your spouse is sacred. It’s beautiful. And when you switch your mindset from “me” to “we,” you ensure that your marriage will stand any test that you comes your way.

Until next time!

Remember to comment below and let me know what you’ve discovered about the “marriage mindset” in your own experience.

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I Let Him Go To Bed Mad at Me (Here's Why)

You ever had a fight with your spouse where you feel embarrassed later when you remember the things you said?

I have. This week, as a matter of fact.

And because I always use my own life as an object lesson for our readers, I’m going to share this embarrassing tiff we had.

We were sitting down together on the couch. The lights were dimmed, the Christmas tree was lit up, and the kids were asleep. And there we were…..having a budget meeting.

I should pause here to mention that I can be a bit of a defensive person.

So there we were, about to end our meeting. We were done going through the budget for the upcoming month.  We had discussed adjustments we needed to make in certain areas, and I was feeling so proud of myself for having made it through the meeting without getting frustrated or anxious.

I celebrated too soon.

My husband brought up the idea of debt consolidation. I was against the idea and I explained why. He disagreed with me and we went back and forth for a minutes trying to talk one another out of our different opinions. Finally, he told me in a tone dripping with sarcasm that maybe I should be the one to do some research on it, since he’s the one that “always handles stuff like this.”

Well. That did not go down well with me.  I replied in a tone that was equally laced with sarcasm, “Well, maybe if you’d married somebody else, your life would be perfect.”

Yes, you guys. I took it there. It was super wrong, I admit it. But that’s what I said.

Things only went downhill from there. “You’d love that wouldn’t you? That way you could run back to your mom!” And with that he stomped down the hall to go sulk in our bedroom.

Of course, I wasn’t going to let him have the last word. “It’s not too late,” I called out as he left. Then I sat there in the dark room by myself looking at the Christmas tree. It didn’t take more than 2 minutes for me to feel incredibly childish and disgusted with myself for reacting the way I had.

I didn’t want us to go to bed angry with each other, so after a few more minutes of sitting there by myself (my pride, yal’ll!) I slipped off the couch and walked toward the room. When I opened the door there he was on the bed in the dark, scrolling on the computer. I stood there for a second, not knowing how to start my apology. Our eyes met and he immediately shut the computer screen and turned away.

I got into the bed and pulled up the covers under my chin and then scooted over so that I was spooning his back. “I’m sorry,” I whispered to the back of his head.

“Ok,” was his muffled response.

“I’m really sorry babe. Do you accept my apology?” I moved even closer and squeeze-hugged him from behind so that he could tell I was sincere about making up.

“Yes, but I don’t feel like talking right now.”

I felt so bad. I knew the words I said out of pride had hurt him. Now I was ready to make up, but he wasn’t, and I didn’t blame him. So instead of trying to force him to talk it out with me, I decided to let him have his space.

“Do you want me to move over?” I asked. He quickly, “Yes, please.” So I rolled back over to my side of the bed and closed my eyes.

A couple of hours later I felt his arms around me in my sleep. “I’m sorry too,” he whispered in my ear. Or at least that’s what I remembered him saying before I fell back into unconsciousness.

The next morning we had a nice long talk about the whole situation, where we both apologized for our behavior towards each other.

I’m glad I let my husband have his space to process his emotions and thoughts instead of trying to force him to talk it out. I know that talking about stuff in the moment seems like a good idea, and it can be for some people. But some types of people don’t do well with trying to talk about an issue in the heat of the moment. Sometimes the hurt is too fresh for them to just put it behind them and forgive right away.

This situation also showed me that even though I get angry quickly and cool down just as fast (most of the time), I can’t just let stuff fly out my mouth. Words can’t ever be taken back, even when you ask for forgiveness sincerely. The hurt takes time to heal, and sometimes it does permanent damage to the relationship. 

I needed to sleep on the cold side of the bed that night to understand how much a few moments of temper can cause a bigger separation between my husband and I. I had made my bed and I needed to lie in it, so to speak. I couldn’t try to rush him into making up with me, especially when I was just as much at fault.

If your spouse is one of those people who takes a long time to get over stuff, don’t try to guilt them over it. It isn’t their responsibility to soothe your guilty conscience. Love, not force, is what conquers all. So love your spouse enough to give them the time and space they need to come to terms with their anger or hurt. Let them decide when they’re ready to make up. Otherwise that resentment and bitterness will always be simmering just beneath the surface of your interactions, slowly poisoning your relationship over time.

True forgiveness takes time to emerge. Forgiveness forced from a sense of obligation or duty isn’t real, and the cracks will start to show sooner or later. Do your spouse and your marriage a favor and give them the time they need to truly forgive you.

You won’t regret it.

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