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Looking back over my posts from when I was blogging regularly, I am saddened by how far I have slid back in my quest to become the best me that I can be. So many things happened that led up to me really starting to look at myself and what I was doing wrong as a person, wife, and mother.
For the longest time, I’d get mad at my husband for what he was doing or the little ways that he was irritating me. It was always about him….It couldn’t possibly have been something that I did that was causing strife. Then I read the book “The Power of a Praying Wife”.
The biggest thing that I took from that book was that I can only change me. I can’t change my husband. I can pray for him, and I did, but I prayed more that God would change me, in whatever way he saw fit. I prayed that as the Lord fixed me, that my husband would respond…and he did. This small action changed my marriage.
Fast forward about 5 years. That husband is no longer with me and I am now remarried.
It has been a struggle for me. Trying to learn a new, totally different, man is hard. I grew up with my first husband. We shared children. Our lives grew from high school students to adults with many years of marriage and 4 children. As we grew into adulthood together, we changed together. Our backgrounds were familiar…..no baggage to deal with, we knew all of the same people, when we talked of childhood we both could remember the same things……..
Coming together with someone in your 30’s is hard! We both have children that were raised in very different environments. This is a second marriage for both of us. We have very similar personalities, which sometimes causes conflict. We have past memories and hard times in our lives that we carry with us. We are very busy which sometimes causes lack of communication which, in turn, causes issues as we assume too often.
I get frustrated very easily because I don’t feel like I am giving as much of myself to this marriage as I did before. I don’t feel that I am giving my current husband all that I gave my 1st one. I want him to struggle to come up with something that I don’t do well. I want him to desire nothing in this marriage that he doesn’t already have. I had all of this in place in my 1st marriage and I feel extremely guilty and frustrated that at year 3, I can’t yet say this about my current marriage.
I have also come to the conclusion that I can’t do any of this for him or be a good partner to him unless I fix myself.
As women, I think we tend to naturally put ourselves last. We give and give and give and when it’s not enough, we want to give up. We think that we are giving everything that another person wants, but in reality, maybe what we think is important to them, really isn’t. When we pour ourselves into something only to find out that the other person really couldn’t care less about it, how do we respond?
Lately, I return fire for fire. And I am ashamed to even write that. I am running on empty, I feel an incredible amount of guilt for many things in my life, and I am trying to make myself happy by making my husband happy. When it doesn’t go as planned, I explode. I feel like I am spinning my wheels. What is the point of giving and giving and giving if those on the receiving end don’t appreciate it? What is the point if I’m not making their lives better in the process?
I kind of had a light bulb moment while exchanging emails with my sister the other day. I tend to have my fall-aparts with her and she calls me out, steers me in the right direction, and encourages me. Anyway……
She called me out on my guilt. That is a whole different post, but the main point is this………
I CANNOT CONTROL THE ACTIONS OF THOSE AROUND ME.
Years ago, I worked to make myself better. I began asking God to show me the areas in which I wasn’t pleasing Him. By working in these areas, my marriage changed. I was convicted of the way that I stomped on my husband’s masculinity, I was convicted of how much I ran my mouth, I was convicted of how I made my husband’s life miserable when I didn’t get my own way, I was convicted of how manipulative I was (like getting my husband to do something my way and think it was his idea), I was convicted on my spending, and I was convicted on how much I had let my body go.
God was working on all of these areas in my life and by me responding to his convictions, I became better and because I had more to give, I became a better wife. My worth was in Christ and not in my husband and it freed me to be able to give my husband what he needed because I wasn’t worried about his reaction, I was only driven to be the best wife to him that I could be. If he reacted in a way that was unloving, that was between him and God, and I left it up to God to deal with it.
Part of my guilt is that my first husband had me on the other side of this process…..my current husband does not (yet). When I feel that I’m giving my current husband less than I gave my 1st, my guilt eats me away. I felt that I had it “figured out” in my first marriage and my husband wanted for nothing…….almost 3 years into this new marriage, I still feel like a failure most days. But you can’t have different actions and expect the same results. I have stopped working on myself and put all of my effort into giving to him……and when his actions aren’t what I expect, I feel like a failure. Not a fair guilt trip to put on myself. But this is reality in my mind when I feel that I can control other’s reactions with my actions. Like if I am just better, they will react better….when in reality, their reaction may have nothing to do with me.
It’s hard to put yourself first without feeling like you are being selfish. We are naturally driven to put everyone else first, but it just doesn’t work that way. The only way that I can be confident in my position as a wife is when I am in prayer daily that the Lord will fix what is wrong in me. Sure, I pray for my husband, but it isn’t for God to fix him, it is for God to convict him where he is wrong. It is for God to move in him and help him want to be better. I can’t control him, I’m not his Holy Spirit. I can’t base my worthiness as a wife on his actions. I can only give him the best of me and pray that he is convicted to also desire to put his best foot forward.
I have gone through this process before and have been away for too long. I cannot be the wife that I desire to be without God refining me first. I wrote the other day about having the next right answer and that is my prayer.
Lord, I thank you for this second chance at love. Please make me the best wife that I can be. Help me to not base my worth on my husband’s reactions. Help me to find my worth and purpose in You. Take away the guilt that I feel for desiring to work on ME, and take away the guilt that Jason isn’t getting as good of a wife as Chad had. I get so hung up on trying to be the best at everything for everyone that I constantly feel like a failure, help me to see that focusing on fixing myself isn’t selfish, it will allow me to be able to give to Jason more fully and not leave me emotionally drained by desiring acceptance based on works. Help me to always have the next correct response. Control my tongue to only speak that which is uplifting and necessary. Make me into the wife that you desire me to be.
Do you try to give yourself worth by what you do for others? Do you expect others to fill you up or make you feel like you matter? Do your actions or reactions depend on others responses to situations? Do you work on bettering yourself and finding out who you are in Christ or are you always begging him to change others?
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