This is a guest blog from Sandy Ralya, author of The Beautiful Wife. She makes a pretty impacting point that might step on the toes of some of us "less-than-beautiful" wives.
My husband and I were reading a financial book about how to make your money grow when one of the principles jumped off the page at me:
What you focus on grows.
Because it’s such a simple principle, I couldn’t get it out of my mind and began applying it to all areas of life, especially relationships.
Most women have the desire to grow a more intimate relationship with their husband yet few focus their desire long enough to do anything about it. Thus, nothing changes.
Ignorance, distractions, and/or hopelessness are often to blame.
I should know. Just 19 when I said, “I do”, I was ignorant about how to grow my marriage. Our pre-marriage counseling consisted of one two-hour meeting with my pastor and that wasn’t enough to prepare me for the emotional, spiritual, and verbal abuse my husband doled out on a regular basis. The abuse produced pain and grief. I could think of little else than surviving. Hope for our future crumbled.
Over time, I began sharing my pain with a few trusted, godly women. Venting my pain and hearing their honest feed-back helped me see that the abuse I was suffering wasn’t my fault.
I began seeing a Christian counselor who gave me tools that helped restore me to a place of strength and dignity.
The best choice I made was to dig into God’s word and find out what He wanted to say to me about my marriage. In the Bible I found the following verses which applied to my situation:
“…Your godly lives will speak to them [husbands] better than any words. They will be won over by watching your pure godly behavior.” (I Peter 3:1,2)
In place of preaching to my husband, I began entrusting my difficult situation to God through prayer—listening for His instruction.
“Instead, we will hold to the truth in love…” (Ephesians 4:15)
I began to exchange preaching for speaking the truth in love—in as few words as possible.
“See that no one pays back evil for evil, but always try to do good…” (I Thessalonians 5:15)
On my new path, I chose to respond in kindness and enforce healthy boundaries in place of angry retaliation.
When I dug into the word, I learned that my husband wasn’t the only one sinning. My responses to Tom were often sinful and my response was the only thing I was responsible for.
(What I wanted was to change my husband but I couldn’t find a biblical reference to support my desire and neither will you)!
Focused on God and His Word, I was able to reverse negative behavioral patterns in my life which had long plagued me.
When I did what I could do—keeping my focus on God, HE DID WHAT I COULD NOT! He healed me and ultimately my marriage—to the praise of His glorious grace!
What you focus on grows. Are you focused on growing your marriage?
Sandy Ralya is the founder and director of Beautiful Womanhood, a marriage mentoring ministry based near Grand Rapids, Mich. Her marriage testimony was the focus of a popular three-day interview on FamilyLife Today, TV's Walking by Faith, and Time Out for Women. Sandy is a sought-after speaker, presenting Beautiful Womanhood seminars to hundreds of women each year at MOPS groups, women's retreats, and church leadership conferences across the country and in Canada. Sandy and her husband Tom have been married since 1980, and have a growing number of grandchildren. www.beautifulwomanhood.com