Has your marriage become a battle ground? Have you lost the “we” and slipped into a “him or me” mentality?
Most people, when they’re newly engaged and married, can’t imagine that they may face times when they just really don’t like their spouse, or are so angry they see them as the enemy. Join Julie as she shares with us her own experience.
Your Spouse Is Not Your Enemy
By Julie Arduini
As an engaged couple, we committed to attending a FamilyLife Marriage conference. We wanted to avoid any pitfalls that might come our way, and for my husband, this was his second marriage. I brought my own baggage into the marriage. We learned principles that gave us a great foundation.
One of the things we learned is so simple that it’s almost cliché: your spouse is not your enemy. If you’re a newlywed, it’s laughable. When would your beloved ever become your enemy?
Fast forward past our newlywed years, past my own chronic illness and infertility, job changes, a move, nearly losing our baby, and the death of my dad, and we were not in a state of oneness. During all these changes, we’d been separated during the week for a few months while my husband worked a new job out of state and I tried to sell our home in our current state. Once we sold the house and moved as a family to Ohio, we were certain life was going to be bliss. That marriage would click along like it did in those early years.
Instead, we were ensnared by conflict. He was used to being on his own because of the job change taking him away during the week. I was the single mom for a while and I found my own method of getting things done and I resented any correction he had for me. I was grief-stricken and tired. A fight ensued and I unleashed a lot of ugly. And out of my husband’s mouth came the words, “I’m not your enemy.”
At first the words made me furious because they did feel like such a cliché. But as I calmed down I realized how far we had moved from that couple daily fighting for oneness as we had learned in that conference. We were in isolation and it was a terrible place to camp. And I was treating my husband like he was the enemy.
Finding our way back was a process, and we got worse before we got better. There were so many changes coming at us we didn’t know how to grieve or cope as individuals, much less as a couple. When we had our rock bottom, we went back to the principles that we started with. We became intentional in sharing with each other and building the friendship. We trusted God to remove our walls and let the other in as an ally. We looked for triggers that still tried to (and sometimes still do) trip us up. We returned to praying with and for each other.
It’s still a process. We’re in transition again and the temptation is there for me to see my husband as an intruder trying to rain on my party, and I’m sure he could say the same for me. This time around, I’ve went and confessed my thoughts and asked if my attitude is visible and I have brought him down. And without so many words, I’ve come right out and asked if I’ve made him feel like we’re enemies. Thankfully, the answer is no.
Marriage is tough. I’m a reader and I devoured marriage books before and after the wedding. I’m still in shock at the amount of work and warfare we have had to put in to put and keep our marriage in a place of unity. If you are looking at your spouse as a foe and not a friend, go back to the basics. Prayer. Communication. Forgiveness.
Julie Arduini loves to encourage readers to surrender the good, the bad, and —maybe one day—the chocolate. She’s the author of the upcoming re-release, ENTRUSTED: Surrendering the Present, as well as the sequel, ENTANGLED: Surrendering the Past, set for a spring release. She also shared her story in the infertility devotional, A WALK IN THE VALLEY. She blogs every other Wednesday for Christians Read. She resides in Ohio with her husband and two children. Learn more by visiting her athttp://juliearduini.com, where she invites readers to subscribe to her monthly newsletter full of resources and giveaway opportunities at Julie Arduini: Surrender Issues and Chocolate and the weekly email, Sunday’s Surrender and Chocolate.
Carla’s been given her dream, to leave her job as sheriff and attend cosmetology school. The gift is so overwhelming that she struggles with feeling unworthy, especially since she still feels guilty for becoming a mom as a teenager. When Wayne Peterson reenters her and their son Noah’s life, Carla creates some tangles between her and her steadfast boyfriend, the flannel-wearing, truck driver Will Marshall. Can Carla release her past and create a future full of highlights, or, will she burn her options worse than a bad perm?
Here are additional resources that helped us:
- FamilyLife Marriage Conference and their HomeBuilder studies. http://familylife.com
- The Love Dare. We recommend the book and watching Fireproof. We recently saw War Room and that deeply impacted us as well. http://thelovedarebook.com
- Men are Like Waffles, Women are Like Spaghetti by Bill and Pam Farrel
Let’s talk about this: Let’s be honest: the real enemy is out to destroy marriages and will do whatever it takes–that’s evident when you look at the marriages around us. But there’s always hope (1 Peter 1:3-5)! Have you ever looked at your spouse and thought of him or her as your enemy? How did you move past that? What do you do now to ensure you don’t view your spouse in that way again?
Share your thoughts and experiences with us in the comments below or at Living by Grace on Facebook, because we can all learn from and encourage each other!
For those following me online, here’s where I’ve been this past week:
Today, Julie and I traded places! While she’s here, I’m over on her blog. You can join me HERE.
Yesterday, I visited Ane Mulligan at Southern-fried Fiction to talk about responding to God’s call. Visit Ane’s blog HERE.
I visited The Engrafted Word Tuesday, interviewed by the wonderful Savanna Kaiser. Join us in the conversation HERE.
This past Saturday was a busy one! I stopped by Patti Shene’s to talk about releasing the past and being transformed. I’m also giving away a paperback copy of Breaking Free. Join the conversation HERE. I also visited Jodie Wolfe to speak about writing Intertwined…and how I didn’t really follow the cliché rule of writing what I know. Visit HERE.
Last Friday, I was over on Heart of the Matter talking about the ways people pleasing can derail us and how we can learn to discern God’s will for us. Come listen then share your thoughts with us HERE. I also had a very fun, quick interview with Joselyn Vaughn. Read the interview HERE.
And finally, last Thursday I visited Zoe M. McCarthy’s site to talk about three elements that will strengthen our writing. Read the post, then join the conversation HERE.
Whew! Crazy busy but fun week. Hope you’re was amazing.