Good relationships don’t just happen. They require honesty and hard work. They are not one way, they are an interaction between two people. It is not one person winning and the other losing. When God is in something, it is not a compromise. If we do things His way, both sides win!
Relationships also have to be tested. It is trials that make a relationship stronger or show that it is not working at all.
My marriage of 23 years was a good example of how not to do it. It started out fairly well, but soon degenerated. A great wall grew between us.
My Early Life
Growing up and prior to my marriage, I had been the angry one. I was abusive toward my parents. I was extremely angry and I yelled and swore profusely. They accepted this behavior, never really confronting me. I remember there was one time that they said something to me and I was shocked. I look back and wonder what would have happened if they had told me that my horrible behavior was unacceptable. I think it would have changed me but I will never know.
They were wonderful, loving parents. They didn’t deserve the way I treated them. Most of my friends didn’t have good parents. I was truly blessed! But my anger, kept me from appreciating them. Deep down I truly loved them and was frightened that something might happen to them, but my behavior certainly didn’t show it.
The Party Years
When David and I were first married, we had lots of friends. We loved to dance, party and entertain. We had a small boat and used to trailer it from Mass. to Maine on the weekends. After a year or so, David quit his job and went to work as a computer consultant to the newspaper industry. He started traveling and would be away 10 days and then home for four days. He was always tired after working 10-12 hour days (his choice) and on his days off, about all we could do was get him prepared for his next trip.
He worked in Baton Rouge for 7 years, Cincinnati for a few years, and New York City for 10 years. In those years, life for me was very lonely. We drifted from all of our former friends. I became a Christian in 1985 and this put a further strain on the relationship. Like many new Christians, I was so excited I wanted to tell everyone about my new relationship with the Lord. I wrote and printed up tracts that I would hand out as we traveled.
All this didn’t go well with David. Although he helped me with computer projects, he didn’t want to hear anything about God. My Christianity put a bigger wall between us. However, during the 10 days that David was away, I was free to go to church and church activities. I was free to do what I wanted. We talked on the phone every day. He never told me anything he was doing. I had to do all the talking.
I never learned the source of David’s rejection, anger and resentment. I believe it was from a childhood issue and not really my fault. But it gradually beat me down until I stopped fighting back. I confronted but it didn’t work. We fought but I always lost. There was never any resolution, never any explanation for his behavior. The Bible says we will reap what we sow and I was reaping what I had sown with my parents.
I remember reading a newspaper article on abuse and realizing that this is what was happening to me. On the other hand, I certainly wasn’t the perfect one. If I had followed God’s prescriptions, we may have had a different outcome.
The abuse and rejection and occasional threats of divorce continued until David was operated on and diagnosed with colon cancer. They just closed him up again. It was then that we started to pray together. He died less than three weeks later. He went to church with me one time (his request) and the guest preacher seemed to speak directly to him.
We prayed for a miracle but we didn’t get one, at least the one we wanted. He died on December 9th, 1995, at age 50. It was a cold snowy night and I was by his side in the hospital in Ayer, Mass. when he died.
I was shocked that it happened so fast but I didn’t blame God. Instead, I determined to get as many souls as I could for the Kingdom!
DLH – Part of a talk given at a Kairos Outside Weekend
May 12, 2005
More on Relationships
Confronting is what I didn’t do well in my marriage or in other relationships. When I disagreed or was hurt, I usually stuffed my emotions. If I did confront, it was in anger, accusing the other person of their offenses toward me. This made the other person defensive and they would just get angry. It didn’t solve the problem!
We need to wait till we calm down to confront. If we can’t talk about the problem, it will never get resolved but it will produce toxic emotions in each of us. This website has much on the need for and power of forgiveness, especially in Part 3.
When two people agree on something, it gives such an empowering feeling. Notice that we always seem to disagree, especially on small issues. I call it the spirit of subtle disagreement. You say it is a beautiful day and I say “Yes, but” … the forecast says it is going to rain this afternoon.” We always seem to “YES BUT” each other.
Basically, this means I disagree with you and we weaken each other. Try agreeing wholeheartedly even on these unimportant issues. It makes both you and the other person feel truly amazing!
Most of our relationships today are very shallow. We talk about the weather or yesterday’s football score but shy away from any deeper subjects. I believe most relationships never get beyond this.
Forgiveness and unconditional love are supernatural gifts of God. God wants to give them to each of us. Are you ready to receive?
For More on Relationships, see:
4-10 Praying for a Husband or Wife
7-4 Blessed Are the Peacemakers
7-8 Restoring Relationships – A Declaration
7-10 The Power of Encouragement
DLH – December 3, 2015