Sunday, March 25, 2018

What to Do When You Discover You Didn't Marry Superman


Step One: 
Don't panic. You are merely adjusting to how you relate to your new surroundings, much like having to adjust to walking on the moon. Turns out you were living in a dreamland, and this is merely the cold shock of reality overcoming you. You didn't marry superman. Given time, you will be able to navigate this terrain. For now, say this ten times to yourself, "No man is superman but Jesus."

Step Two: 
Don't fall into the trap of thinking your husband is exceptionally pathetic or grossly sinful. If all of men's flaws were put on display, you would see quite clearly how your husband's are rather common. You have a single window into a single man's heart. Do not fret. No blemish, quirk, or sin is too trivial or too great for God's notice and care. God cares that you are irritated.

Step Three: 
Do not abuse the privilege of insight into your husband's heart by putting his flaws on display for your girlfriends. You would be mortified if your husband put your physical blemishes on display for his man friends. If complaints are always on your mind, chances are they will inadvertently bleed out in your speech. The trick to keeping complaints out of your speech is to keep them out of your mind. And the trick to keeping them out of your mind is to set your mind on other things. Begin a daily list of all the ways your husband is a blessing. When you find yourself thinking about how your husband did something wrong, ask God to stop your thoughts and then deliberately choose to list what your husband has done right that day. Example: woke up on time, showered, dressed himself, went to work, etc.

Step Four: 
By all means, find better systems to living. If you were hired as the personal secretary to a CEO, and much to your chagrin, the CEO kept calling you "Toots," do politely ask him to stop. Likewise, if the CEO has a terrible filing system, help him sort things out. Learn to work the company more efficiently and with the utmost respect and courtesy. Truth be told, the company would fall apart without you. And you are there to make it not just function better but grow.

Step Five: 
Do not be tempted to return to your dreamland with statements like: "Is it too much to ask . . . " and "All I want is . . . " Chances are, even if he did learn to perform that task correctly, you would then focus on his next imperfection. The reality is you are discontented with anything except perfection from him while you extend grace and patience to yourself. Do not be shocked that you love yourself more than him. We are all born selfish. Yes, this news can be alarming to those of us who thought we were better. Tell yourself and God this reality and then remember that God doesn't love you based on your merit but the merit earned through Jesus' perfect life and death.

Step Six: 
Say the following ten times to yourself and to anyone who asks how your marriage is, "It is a God-meant work in process." The weaknesses in him and the weaknesses in you were meant to unearth your need for Christ daily. Congratulations! Your marriage is working.

Step Seven: 
Let the Lord, not you, work on your husband. He is not your project or child. God will take care of his sanctification. When you are tempted to hint or correct or teach him, tell the Lord about it. God's work is much more effective and powerful than your own meddling.

Step Eight: 
Regain the respect for your husband that you once had before learning he wasn't superman. This is nearly impossible to do while simultaneously contemplating his deficiencies. Review Step Three to re-center your thoughts, then ask the Lord to help you regain respect. There are several ways to help this process. One: observe him in action at his job or doing something he does well. Two: ask his mother to remind you of his strengths. Three: daily list what he does well.

Step Nine: 
Find someone to keep you accountable regarding your words and thoughts about your husband. Someone who is going to encourage you to lean upon the Lord and not someone who is going to encourage you to complain more. Meet and pray with them regularly.

2 comments:

C DeNoon said...

Abby,
Thanks for your post. I just discovered it a few minutes ago. I perked up at # 3 and underscored # 7. It seems to me, marrieds need to abandon all hope of changing in their partner—find out from the Father how to bless each other.

Then I was struck by your parenting blog listed at the right, i had just been writing briefly about when and why I quit parenting.
I’m planning to explore your archive.
It’s obvious you are energetically seeking God’s best and trying to secure the lessons as they accelerate through your mind.
At this stage of life, I’m mostly drifting in and out of all three dimensions of time, trying to capture what’s important, and doing my best to tie down what I can.
Clark

Abigail Joy Stevens said...

Thanks for the encouragement, Clark. I'm amazed at how much there is to learn in life!