Thursday, August 14, 2008

Marital Moments Issue 3 - Renewing Your Marriage

As I sat down to wait for him at the Lucky U Motel, the bed creaked agonizingly beneath my weight prompting two thoughts: “What am I doing here?” and “I wish I had thought to bring my own sheets!” How had I come to arrive at this run down motel whose lights blinked “LUCK U”? (The “Y” had long since burned out and from the look of the bathroom; it would most certainly be missing for some time.) My husband has a chronic illness called Crohn’s Disease. Nine days after the birth of our second child, he had undergone an emergency surgery due to his small intestine rupturing into his large intestine and also into the stomach cavity. We had gone through just over a year of hospital stays, an additional surgery out of state at the Mayo Clinic, and a difficult pain medication withdrawal. All of the time trying to adjust to having two little ones in our family. It would be much too involved to go into all of the details of that year; all of the struggles and pains that we had endured, but as his physical condition began to improve, our marriage was at an all time low. I had come to view my husband as more of a teenage son rather than the head of our household.

During this time, I attended a bridal shower where the traditional “marital advice” was solicited from those of us who had previously embarked on this matrimonial journey. I will never forget as the advice wound around the circle of women, “Pray for and with your husband daily!” “Greet him with a smile at the door.” “Always have clean underwear in his drawer-no matter how busy life gets.” And then it was her turn…the quiet grandmotherly woman who had chatted with a few women throughout the shower, but mostly just watched and listened…”Have an affair with your husband!” She stated, smiled in her soft way, and looked at the next person for them to continue. I don’t remember the rest of the “advice” given that day. I think I muttered something about keeping photo books so you can look back at the “good times” during harder days. My mind was trying to figure out what it meant to “have an affair with your husband.”

A few days and another dispute later, I found myself on my knees crying out to my heavenly father. “Lord, I CANNOT do this on my own. I am choosing to love my husband, but my desire for him is no longer there. I know that you have ordained marriage and you have joined us together. It is your will for marriages to not just “survive,” but thrive. PLEASE renew my desire for my husband! Show me what to do to save this marriage!” I was instantly reminded of the woman at the bridal shower and her words of advice. “Have an affair with your husband!” I still wasn’t exactly sure what she had meant, but I decided to take her words literally. I hired a babysitter for my children. I left a note for my husband to receive upon arriving home from work sending him on a scavenger hunt to find me. His first stop was a local lingerie store that I had preselected two pieces for him to choose between. (The extra weight from our second child still hadn’t made its way off so I wanted to make sure I was comfortable in his choice.) Next, he picked up dinner that was pre-ordered, and finally, he met me at room 14 at the Lucky U Motel. A place he drove past daily on his way to work.

It seemed an eternity before he arrived to that dingy room, but I had plenty of time to pray for God’s healing and restoration of our marriage and also a change of attitude within my heart toward my husband. It ended up being an unexpectedly fun and wonderful time for my husband and I. (Worth the embarrassment of having to return the metal key at the front desk a few short hours after I had checked in…) A strong memory was made for both of us and it meant the world to my husband that I would go out of my way to pursue him.

At church the following Sunday, a close friend came up to us and said, “You have been through so much this past year! God has been leading me to pray for your marriage, how are you doing?” To my surprise, my husband smiled and replied, “On a scale of 1-10, our marriage is a 10!” I cannot honestly say that it was yet a “10” for me, but hope was growing.

God has turned our marriage completely around. Gradually it grows more and more open and intimate. We are living proof, as we celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary, that with God’s help, any marriage can be restored; no matter how ugly, distant, or empty things have become. Hope begins when you are willing to confess that in your own strength and will that you are unable. God longs to speak to your heart and lead you back to restoration and then some

If your marriage is in need of restoration or refreshment, have an affair with your spouse! I would love to pray with you as you pursue your marriage. You can leave a comment here or e-mail me at ateachableheart@gmail.com.

Many Blessings!

3 comments:

rhemashope said...

Wow. Such words of wisdom. Thank you for being so transparent for us. I know you do it all for God's glory. Thank you for being obedient. I want you to know that you are helping my marriage. Truly. Thank you!

Charla (SHar-la) said...

That is awesome! I love the idea of having an affair with my husband! It has me thinking of ways I could do this, too!

Also, thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment! I just KNOW it is going to take Christians everywhere standing up without shame or fear of hurting someone's feelings, and saying we will FIGHT for marriages; both ours and others! I am willing to fight because it is WORTH it!

Lindsey @ A New Life said...

Oh my goodness, I had never read this post before!! How absolutely wonderful, and very timely I might add :-). Might be high time around here for me to stop associating the word "affair" solely with my past sins, and start approaching my husband with Godly desire and confidence! Making new memories so to speak :-)