About ten years into our marriage, we went through a very difficult time. So we went to counseling. For us it didn’t work. Why? Because we came with these attitudes. I was thinking, “If the counselor could just fix David everything would be fine.” David will tell you he was thinking, “Straighten her out and we won’t have any more problems.” Well, we now know that’s a formula for disaster and after several months the counselor told us, “This marriage isn’t going to work and dismissed us.”
Well for us it took a heart change and it took the Lord to change our hearts. Once we came to know the Lord and began applying His principles to our marriage, things began to change. . . oh, how they changed for the better. We know the difference He can make make in a marriage and that is the reason we do this ministry today. David and I began our spiritual journey together and for that I’m grateful. However, if one person is willing to make a true heart change with the Lord’s help, often things can turn around. See when you change, the marriage can change. To begin though you have to lose the “My spouse is the problem and when he or she changes things will get better” mentality. There is no doubt your spouse has issues too, but one must understand that the only thing you can change is yourself. Easy? No. Possible? Yes.
Mentoring couples is one of our favorite things to do. I’ve got to admit, however, it has reinforced those things we need to do and has helped our marriage probably as much as it has helped the couples with whom we have worked.
Today while my husband was telling me something, I stopped what I was doing, looked straight at him and listened to what he was saying. Many years ago, I would probably have continued on with what I was doing and hearing him, but not engaging with him. What has turned this around for me is hearing my husband ask couples during our mentoring sessions, “How many people do you know who are really good listeners?” Then, he goes on to tell them he can count on one hand how many he knows. He concludes with telling the couples, “You can be that good listener for one another.” Ouch! That got my attention. See I want to be that one person for him because I now know how important it is to him.
This morning’s sermon was on “Words: A Matter of Life and Death.” As I listened, I thought probably one of the most valuable things I’ve learned in marriage and, in relationships in general, is simply “Think before you speak.” But know this isn’t something I’ve always practiced. In fact, it’s only in the past few years I’ve tried to be more deliberate in doing this. Just know it makes a huge difference. Another lesson I’ve learned is I don’t need to react on everything my husband says. For years this was a big divide for us. One of us would say something and then the other would have a rebuttal or comeback. Sometimes you just need to let it go and realize you have different opinions. It doesn’t make one right and the other wrong. I’ve got to tell you our communication is so much better since we’ve been putting these two techniques into practice.