There we sat, opposite of each other – days of frustration standing between us like a brick wall blocking each of our views of the other. We’ve all experienced these times with our spouse. The type when you aren’t really fighting but are more so annoyed, lacking the ability to put your finger on what it is that’s causing you grief. Inadvertently, this state causes you take it out on each other creating an irritation in your relationship through sharply spoken words, careless gestures, and lack of conversation…
Yep, it was one of those times for us, and after days, and getting tired of being dissatisfied – I finally allowed my eyes to connect with his, and as I did an unsought concession took place in me as the phrase, ‘He’s not my battle,’ settled across my brain feeling as smooth as silk on fingertips. That was all it took, one quick moment, and one simple gesture of taking in the blue eyes that I love, the ones that have a way of speaking, ‘Everything is going to be ok,’ without uttering a word – and that brick wall of frustration between us went crumbling to the ground.
Have you ever found yourself in the midst of a struggle in your marriage, and poof! Out of nowhere realized, ‘This struggle we are facing – has nothing to do with us?’ This was one of those moments as I sat there looking at him enlightened that the grievances we had with each other in this instance had nothing to do with us, and everything to do with a couple of situations I alone was facing.
We find in Mark 10:8 (KJV), ‘and the two are united into one.’ Since they are no longer two but ‘one.’ Just like that…upon saying our vows we are no longer two rather now joined together as one. That line – ‘two become one’ – is a phrase little girls learn from an early age. They inspire us from childhood to work intentionally processing every detail in mind as we set our Barbies up in play staging our very own wedding day. We have them in our brain for YEARS before we actually enter into that beautiful union of husband and wife, yet, no matter the length of time we know them, our understanding of their depth is likened more so to zero. I’m not sure what was wrong with me specifically when I made that vow, but somehow, I believed speaking those words possessed some sort of power that would transcend all of heaven and physically bind us together as one. I never imagined they would require conscious decisions day in and day out to intentionally be the ‘one’ we are called to be. Even after uttering those words before the God of the Universe…our natural instinct is still to experience life separately. I mean, wouldn’t it be great if we were granted a window into the mind of our spouse or given a means to experience their emotions? It would be so helpful, but it’s just not there so there we find ourselves experiencing life – the loss of friendship, struggle at work, rejection by others, heartache, trials, etc. individually making it entirely possible that our spouse can have no idea of the pain in which we are enduring unless we choose to tell them.
In the instance I’m explaining to you, my husband had no idea I was so pained by a situation. Rather than telling him what was going on, I chose to deal with my emotions the way most of us do – I grabbed a brick in my mind and started building an invisible wall in an attempt to protect myself from being hurt further. The problem, however, is that doing so…laying that brick drew a line between my husband and I as I pushed against our one-flesh union. Looking back in history we learn that walls have always been used as a means to protect. Cities had walls built purposely around protecting inhabitants from enemy attack. Today, we no longer erect walls around our cities, or homes for that matter, but we do still build them internally as a means of protection whether they be spiritually purposed or intended for isolation. Spiritual walls are necessary. Walls of isolation are destructive. What I was building in my mind without realizing it was one of isolation. My intentions were right I was hurting, I wanted protection. Yet the wall that took shape around me was missing part of me – my husband – the flesh I am one with. I didn’t give him the opportunity to know that this frustration I had, had nothing to do with him, instead I left him to wonder if he had done something wrong which allowed a sort of resentment to muster inside of him initiating a spiral effect moving away from personal frustration in me, and morphing into a marital frustration in us.
Many of us do this same thing. Life happens, and we start laying those bricks – creating the same problem I describe here as we work to build our wall without the help of our husband, the man called to be the leader of our home, the one charged to protect, the gift we’ve been given to share life with, the one who is there to help us, the man we are united with that stands to encourage us. It’s foolish to attempt to live life separated from them, yet, it happens in marriages all the time, and it’s by no mistake. Maintaining open communications with our husband is a constant battle as the enemy of our marriage wants nothing but to tear those lines apart erecting walls between us in an effort to destroy the image our marriage paints to the world around us in its portrayal of Jesus’ love for the Church.
I encourage you today to spend honest time in self-reflection. Consider for a moment, have pains of life forced you into isolation? Are you unintentionally distancing yourself from the man you are united with as one? If you answered yes to either of these questions – now is the time, look at that man you call your husband, reach for his hand and force those walls that have formed around you to crumble to the ground. I realize for some, what I’m asking you to do feels impossible as those walls that stand around you, have been there for a long – long time…it isn’t too late…it may be hard, but it’s nothing that God himself can’t fix, in fact, He longs to fix what has been broken making something knew of it, something better, something that will bring Him glory. Ladies, our husbands are not our battle, ask God today to renew that one flesh union making you the team that God has brought together by making today a new beginning.