Why make the effort to out-love my husband. Why must it always be me to make the first move? Why can’t he change for once?
Several months have passed since I first met Shelly Weaver. She has been used by God to inspire many of us here at Spiritually Unequal Marriage to live outside of the norm and to love our spouse with the love of Christ and to trust Him to transform our marriages.
But the most profound part of this journey that Shelly shared with me is what I am going to share with you today. This is it:
Our husbands are trapped. And, we are the ones who have them tied down in an endless bumper-car ride.
You see, over the years out of our insecurities, pain, our past failures, our selfishness, we have erected many walls. He forgets our birthday, construction begins. Cinderblock is placed down in thick blankets of cement. He works late to many nights; piles of bricks are added to that fortress forming about our tender core. Over the years, with a precision that surpasses the finest architect, we build walls of protection, defenses, higher and higher.
Until eventually, the walls are insurmountable. Your husband isn’t allowed in. In fact, even Jesus at times can’t get through because we are sealed off completely.
The walls have names; bitterness, resentment, cynicism, distrust, unforgiveness , anger, apathy, hatred, loathing, .........
And here’s the thing, our men keep bumping into these walls and bouncing away. They don’t even know they are strapped into this menacing bumper-car cycle and are at a complete loss on how to undo it all.
It’s no wonder they continue to behave and react the way they do. They don’t have anywhere else to go. It’s the same old ride, the same old reaction, the same and familiar responses.
But that all changes when we truly begin to out-love our spouse. When we choose to place Jesus on the throne of our lives, to lay down our “self” and let the Lord release our spouse from our insidious carnival ride.
When we purposely choose to forgive our man when it doesn’t make sense. We win. When we offer love in the face of anger, we win. When we live to have a Christ-centered marriage and not a spouse-centered marriage that is where our spouse discovers freedom. And the best part of this, so do we. We discover freedom.
Let me give you an example. Shelly shared this story with me about a time she went against everything within her heart and mind and chose to obey God. You be the judge.
Shelly has a teenaged daughter. I also have a teen daughter so I know the angst of living with a teen. If we could harness the emotional power of a teen girl, we would never experience an energy crisis again. With that said, I will I also tell you that as a mother, we share the emotional journey of our girls to a great extent, right along with our kid.
Shelly told me that her daughter and her best friend of many years somehow landed in a place in their relationship where their friendship was rocked to the core. Hurtful words were said and emotional wounds were inflicted and a permanent tear in their relationship resulted.
Now I will tell you that when your teen daughter has been hurt like this, you are hurt like this as well.
The girls no longer talked to one another and the life-long friendship was over. And Shelly, as most moms, was hurt, devastated and like her daughter, likely to never speak to that “mean” girl again.
However, through the transforming power of Jesus Shelly decided to be different. And in fact, ran into her daughter’s “no-longer best friend” at school. It would have been easy to speak a casual greeting of “Hi” and walk away but Shelly who was living to out-love people with the love of Christ, purposely took her emotions to the cross and decidedly started a conversation with the girl.
She complimented her and her new hair style. Exchange a smile and a kindness that certainly surprised the youth. Shelly recounted this story to me to say everything in her actions was the opposite of how she would have reacted in the flesh. But Shelly decided she was done with the walls. She was willing to take a chance of more pain and remove the walls that were recently constructed.
Shelly went on the tell me this: Lynn when I stepped out and offered kindness instead of a stoic response it opened a door. This young girl felt safe that Shelly wasn’t mad. There wasn’t a parental barrier now to deal with and that within a week the two girls had mended their relationship and it was back to where it once was. BFF’s and happy as two pees in a pod.
Shelly said: This is exactly what happens with our men. They keep bumping up against these walls we have erected and have no other choice but to respond (bounce back) in exactly the same way they always have.
BUT, when we remove those walls and allow them FREEDOM to move closer, to experience a different reaction, to see a part of us they haven’t glimpsed in a long time, it changes them. They are free to make moves toward our heart and discover what you have both been missing. They will make mistakes and it’s easy to put up those walls again but that is where our relationship with Jesus changes everything.
We can trust Christ with our pain. We can love our imperfect men out of a vast reservoir of Christ’s power. We don’t need to keep score or always be right or win. We truly can trust Christ with it all and that is out-loving our spouse. That kind of love moves mountains, it unties men who are stuck in a bumper-car night ride and it releases women to love with an open heart.
To be vulnerable, to be authentic, to be a wife that a man adores and is honored to have on his arm.
It’s about Jesus. It’s trusting Him to out-love us so we can out-love others.
This week our challenge opportunity is to trust God with the walls we have constructed. To tear them down with intention and put God to the test. Let us become so secure in our relationship with Christ that we can love others with authenticity and transparency. THAT kind of love changes everything. Husbands, wives, daughters, sons, neighbors and mostly it changes us. That is the freedom described in scripture. It is for freedom that Christ set us free. Galatians 5:1
Today, ask God about this. Ask Him if it’s true that if you actually let down your walls that there is freedom. Ask Him to pour His supernatural love into you so that you have the courage to walk where you haven’t in a long while. I realize this is really, really difficult to truly step back, forgive and trust but ask God to help you. He will.
Stop back during the week and share with me how you found the walls, tore them down and how the people around you reacted. I’m praying for a mighty change for you and your marriage, hugs, Lynn