HOW TO DIVORCE-PROOF YOUR MARRIAGE
BY HEATHER LINDSEY
Let’s be honest, nobody gets married with the intent to get divorced. You get married with the mindset that it’s “til death do us part.” Then, you are in your marriage and then you find out that you had a certain expectations in marriage that you don’t feel like are getting met. Then, you begin to compare your marriage to others, nag your spouse, then he’s already stressed out and then he begins to work longer and doesn’t open up so you vent to your mama, sisters and girlfriends and then you both live two completely different lives, under the same roof. You kinda feel like roommates.
Those days are coming to an end. Right now. Marriages are getting tested and hit so hard, it’s so important that we do OUR part to make our marriages work. Yes, it’s hard. Yes, there’s times where I don’t think my husband “deserves” it. Yes, its a constant sacrifice. Yes, you will develop and grow in your marriage. Yes, it will stretch you like NEVER before. And, I’m 110% confident that my husband feels the same way towards me. Marriage is beautiful work. The reality is that no relationship is perfect. If people are portraying perfection then they aren’t telling the whole truth. And they don’t have to share their tests with you. EVERY marriage is working itself out & going through hurdles, beautiful times, rough storms and whatever else.
There’s seasons to marriage.
Now, we are in the 6th year of our marriage and we’ve been together for 8 years. So, how do I know we aren’t getting divorced? Honey, if we were gonna get divorced it would have happened in year one. It was ROUGH. I am thankful for those rough times because now we are in a different season in our marriage. I had to press past those feelings that my life was better outside of my marriage and recognize that everything I needed was right under the roof of Cornelius Lindsey. INCLUDING my purpose. It was all right there. And, if I left my covering, I left the calling on our marriage and I am not willing to do that. I stood before God and I said my vows which included saying “I do” to a lot of things that I “don’t.” Like, picking up his socks and dirty dishes that he leaves everywhere! 🙂 Instead of complaining about housework or the fact that he doesn’t clean up much around the house – I instead focus on his strengths and I go pick up those socks. He’s a GREAT husband, father, leader, pastor and visionary. He literally started a church from the bottom and it’s thriving. He is caring, loving and kind. He constantly considers me and our children. He never stays out late and he ALWAYS puts us first. He has godly friends. He’s always home by 5pm – ready to love on and serve me & our children. You see, these are just a COUPLE of the great things about my husband! AND, they cancel out the few pet peeves. Isn’t it funny how satan just gets in our head and tries to get us mad at our spouses about small things? Your issue may not be socks. It could be something big like adultery or if your husband stays out late. Well, I think that there’s something beautiful about letting God change YOU and then you will watch your husband change.
You may be thinking I’m kinda’ crazy especially since I don’t know your husband. Well, I do know the One who created your husband in his mother’s womb and His name is God. He sent His only son down to the earth to die for our sins and reconcile us back to Him through Jesus Christ. He defeated death. He defeated sin. He won for us. Can He NOT heal and fix your marriage? Can He not give you wisdom on him since He created your husband? I found that when my marriage what at it’s worst, my mouth and attitude was at it’s worse. I was nagging my husband’s every move, I was rebellious and I didn’t submit to him. How can I expect a good marriage if I refuse to develop in self control and I blame my husband for the discontentment birthed in me as a single? I realized that I have a PART to play in the success of my marriage. I cannot blame my rejection growing up, my insecurity or whatever else. I had to take responsibility for Heather. And, as women, I pray that you do the same. You know I love ya’ll and I just want to see you thriving in marriage and showing others that God heals dead marriages!
So, whether you’re courting, engaged or married – I wanted to share a few things that I’ve learned.
1. It is the Holy Spirit’s job to change my husband, my job is to pray for Him. No, seriously. My nagging, complaining and whatever else will only temporarily get my husband to change. So, he will do certain things just to shut me up – not because it’s real. When the Holy Spirit gets a hold of your husband, that change is eternal.
2. Don’t freak out when he tells you crazy stories from the gym, when he went paintballing or in general. I want him to share everything with me & he won’t if I get overly emotional & motherly on his tail. Who wants to sleep with their mother? Nobody. Thus, let’s stop talking down as if your husband isn’t grown himself. And, what if he does hurt himself rock climbing up some mountain? Well, you’ll be there to nurse him to health & help him to feel better. That’s the testosterone in a man, sis! Just revert back to #1 and pray that He has wisdom on what to do.
3. Marriage is a journey. So you marry someone who doesn’t have your deal breakers and.. Then get ready to go on a journey. If my hubby doesn’t “figure it out” in a certain area by year 2, he will figure it out in year 4. Be patient. You’re both growing. My hubby is GROWING into my dream guy. And, He is things that I didn’t even know that I wanted or needed. Like, the biggest family man ever! Our family is together about 21 hours of the day and we LOVE it! #Grace
4. Shut up. Yup. We both shut up a lot with each other. There’s no point in arguing because we aren’t divorcing. Choose your battles. We pursue peace like crazy in our home, put on our big girl & boy pants & act like Christian adults. If an argument gets heated, we use the code word “Jesus” and all arguments cease until a later time when emotions aren’t so high.
5. Protect your marriage. Me & my husband are one flesh and I want make sure others see him like they see me. I will always be his number one fan and vice versa. I ain’t sharing our arguments with people who will hold onto it long after we made up. Meaning, I am not calling my mama and complaining to her because although I may forgive my husband – it may take her longer to forgive. Although my mother is amazing and very loving – I’m still her baby girl. #Protection
6. We don’t bring up the past. It’s behind us for a reason. Move on. #Grace
7. If your spouse is saying a concern, listen. They know you best and believe them. #Mirror
8. You better learn to be content broke or with money because that can make or break your marriage. We had a season our first year of marriage where we ate rice for dinner most nights. I lit a candle and we had a candlelight dinner. And, you better believe if we ever got evicted, we would be evicted together in a tent on the street. Cuddling. For richer or for poor will get tested. #HesMine
9. He loves me like Christ loves the church and submits to God and I submit to him as onto the Lord. He’s my leader. And, God honors us because we honor him.
10. If I ever feel like ministry or life is getting too busy and we aren’t focused on each other, I tell Cornelius ..and he shuts his whole day down to spend it with me. I use my concerns wisely. I don’t use them emotionally so this happens maybe 1-2x a year. We got work to do but family is first after God. #MarriageGodsWay
11. Laugh a lot. Stop taking everything so serious!! Literally, find what is funny and do that together. (Make sure it’s biblical/not making fun of others, etc)
12. Be his biggest cheerleader! The world is going to try to tear him down and when he walks into his home, He shouldn’t get the same treatment – even if you don’t think he deserves it.
13. A rough patch in your marriage doesn’t define your marriage. It’s just a moment. Press through it and fight for your marriage and stop fighting each other.
14. Your marriage is what you make it – so make it so good!
15. Use discernment when bringing up issues (example: if my husband just got done preaching, it’s not the time to dump all of my issues onto him)
16. Your husband is not your God. He cannot solve all of your problems and fix your crazy thoughts. Only Jesus can do that so if you’re feeling disconnected from your husband it may be because you’re feeling disconnected to God. Let Him show you what to do. Our first relationship with with Jesus and then our spouse.
17. Find time to go to marriage retreats together. YOU NEED that time where you grow together. Our church, The Gathering Oasis has a marriage retreat every year. If you cannot make this one, find one locally but get away and try to attend one a year. You have to remember why you started together. This years retreat is Sept 31-August 4th in Scottsdale, AZ.
18. Don’t let your children become first. It’s hard when your kids scream louder than your husband but it’s important that your husband still feels first and the kids second (of course with Jesus as your foundation). I love Logan but I make it clear to him that I make daddy’s & logan’s plate together but mommy serves daddy first. And, he helps me serve him. I want to make sure Logan sees it so when he starts courting, he understands how he should be treated by a woman. I don’t want to look up to an empty nest “home” in 20 years and I don’t know my husband because I spent more time grooming and serving my kids while ignoring my husband. Granted, if Logan is super hungry – my hubby will make him food or I will really quick but on a average day, I want him to see that I get to serve my husband.
19. Schedule date days! Every Friday, we have our date lunch and every Saturday is our family day. It’s so important that you are intentional with your family. Your family life is as strong as your marriage.
20. Lastly, seek the Lord with all of your heart and spend time with Him daily. Pray for your spouse, ask the Lord to help you to love him. Ask the Lord to help him to love you like Christ loved the church.
BONUS: Tell yourself that you have no plan “b” and that divorce is not an option. In our home, we have decided that we will not divorce. That word isn’t even allowed in our thoughts or conversations! So, if you have a plan b – you need to cut that person off, quit the job because that man keeps giving you attention and do whatever else it takes to guard your heart.
You may read this and say, “Heather, this won’t work for me. I have a one-sided marriage.” Well, I know I’ve loved my husband when I felt like he didn’t deserve it. My husband loved me when I didn’t deserve it. We are all taking steps to love like Jesus loves us. That’s the kind of marriage I want to have – a marriage centered around Christ, loving HIS way. Give marriage His way a chance. You never know what He could do to restore your marriage.