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Thank you Looney! Appreciate you helping MJ out! JustHoping: You are very new to the ministry and so some things may come as a surprise. MJ has been so patiently applying herself to helping her husband make changes that she knows God is asking him to make.  That is part of what a great wife gets to do.. she gets to point out to hubby.. "Hey, that is not a "God-thing" for you!" - and that helps us men to make further progress toward becoming the men that God has called us to be. That is part of our understanding of the word "helpmeet" and it is a wonderful things, when a wife is loving Jesus and wanting to spur her husband onto Godliness! 

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Thank you Crystal, 4evrHZdtr3, justhoping, Looney_Tunes, and JoelandKathy for your replies!  I appreciated all of them! 
 
Crystal, I like what you said here ;) 
 

I know he didn't WANT to quit, but he did it cold turkey and it proved to me that he can take control and he isn't a helpless victim of himself. I don't think he knew at the time what his quitting taught me about him.

 
4evrHZdtr3, these were encouraging words for me:

 

Stopping smoking also requires personal sacrifice and that is so important in becoming Christ-like!

 
 
justhoping, thank you for your interest in my story!  I do think I was led by God to make this stipulation about smoking.  No one suggested that I do this.  It is a foreign thing for me to give an ultimatum to anybody!  I think I have actually been afraid, all along, to make a strong point about the smoking.  However, my husband has seemed, in the last few years, to be more and more generally unhappy.  He has been isolating himself more and more from everyone, especially other believers.  He has seemed "unable" to keep treating me kindly for any length of time without having a crash of some sort and becoming VERY sullen.
 
He has talked about smoking at times over the years and it's clear he feels uncomfortable smoking in full view of other Christians.  It doesn't matter how much he tells himself a person can get to heaven and still be a smoker.  I have come to realize that this addiction is a great hindrance to him in many ways, all of them greatly affecting our marriage for the ill.
 
Looney, thank you for these words!

 

So the real issue here is not the smoking at all ... it's the condition of Z.'s heart. He is faced with a choice - his marriage, or his cigarettes.

 

A man who is not willing to give up cigarettes is most likely hanging onto some other things that God would like him to give up - pride and control, for example. In the end, this is really about surrender to Christ.

 

 

And thanks Joel and Kathy for your support.

 

UPDATE:

 

Z and I had been talking on the phone pretty well every day for a couple of weeks, maybe a month.  After receiving the note mentioned above which included my request that he stop smoking completely and forever, he went to the library and checked out a book he read a year ago, called, Allen Carr's Easy Way to Stop Smoking.  He liked this book a year ago, and he likes what it says again now. 

 

On Sunday, July 27th, 2014 I told Zed on the phone that when he had not smoked for 24 hours I would come home.  He told me he would be quitting at 10 pm that night and that he would tell me the next day if he was still a "non-smoker". 

 

I went home the next day, Monday, July 28th, 2014, arriving about 5 pm. We had our grand reunion after 4 months and 6 days of separation!  I've never been away from him that long before.  (2 months was the longest)  

 

It has been 8 days and Z is still a non-smoker.  The night before last, he began to feel a little sorry for himself and mentioned feeling like he was living under a threat.  I walked away from him without waiting around for our usual good night hug and kiss. 

 

I do not see that what I/we are doing has anything to do with a threat.  I see it as each of us making a decision.  Zed is free to smoke if he likes and I am free to not live with a smoker, if I like.

 

I know this isn't easy.  Z has smoked for roughly 53 years!  Therefore, I am not pressing him for anything else at this time.  The next morning after the little expression of self-pity, I decided to be cheerful as if nothing had been off the night before.  He was cheerful too.  Normally, I would likely have pressed him for an apology, but not this time. 

 

I'm actually quite impressed at how well he is maintaining a pleasant attitude.  He went to church with me on Sunday, too!

 

Okay, I'm not holding my breath.  I'm not feeling anxious, though.  I'm pretty relaxed, really.  I think it's like I said to another lady, I'll be fine, either way.  With God's help and the people here, I'm a stronger, more confident person than I used to be. 

 

I AM hopeful, though!!  

 

 

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I do not see that what I/we are doing has anything to do with a threat.  I see it as each of us making a decision.  Zed is free to smoke if he likes and I am free to not live with a smoker, if I like.

 

I'm actually quite impressed at how well he is maintaining a pleasant attitude.  He went to church with me on Sunday, too!

 

Okay, I'm not holding my breath.  I'm not feeling anxious, though.  I'm pretty relaxed, really.  I think it's like I said to another lady, I'll be fine, either way.  With God's help and the people here, I'm a stronger, more confident person than I used to be. 

 

I simply LOVE these three statements! Good for you!!

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  • 2 months later...

Well, Zed was a non-smoker for one week -- 7 days. The book, Easy Way To Stop Smoking, is still on standby for another time, when he will make it a permanent condition.

 

I'm still here, married to Zed, and will try to explain myself. Something changed in both of us during that 4 month period when I stayed in the city, separated from my husband. He got pretty depressed, apparently. Got drinking too much some days. I heard from relatives... I guess he also did some praying. I don't know how that works, praying and drinking in depression. Oh well.

 

The stop smoking thing was basically a good excuse to come home. I was beginning to want my husband back.

 

So, here's how we are now. I've been back home on the farm for 3 months. Zed is most of the time "coming from a position of strength" in his words and actions toward me, and I am most of the time "coming from a position of strength" in my words and actions toward him.

 

I'm actually kind of amazed. He is remembering to ASK me to do things and doing so WITHOUT an attitude! That one small thing is such a relief.

 

Also, he has just come through a long, trying, 10 or 12 day stretch of back pain. I helped him sometimes with ice packs and getting to doctors etc. He remained PLEASANT toward me the whole time! He thanked me for doing things for him! I kind of enjoyed playing nurse but was glad when it was all over. Two nights ago, Zed was talking to a friend on the phone and asked him to pray for him. That night, Zed slept for 7 hours straight! When he woke up, there was no more pain! He could hardly believe it! Neither could I! Praise God!

 

So, I'd say we have moved forward, maritally speaking.

 

Plus, we are enjoying being grandparents to a sweet little baby boy. Now, we've been told, Son 3 and wife, brother and sister to Son 2 and wife, are going to have a baby next spring! The course of life continues! ;)

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  • 6 months later...

Okay, I've GOT to update this thread!

 

It's 10 months since I've been home on the farm after having been away for 4 months straight.  I still go to my inexpensive little bachelor suite in The City for a couple of days at least once a month.  Sometimes every couple of weeks.  Usually it's to see my little grandson, do a few errands (like shop...), and visit a friend or two.  Zed rarely goes to The City, not to stay overnight, anyway.  He gets uncomfortable if he has to sit too long, and he can't sleep real well with the city sounds all around.  That's okay.  I LIKE getting off by myself sometimes -- even when he and I are getting along fine.

 

Well, over these months, Zed and I have been doing very well.  For example, he smiles at me every time we happen to enter the same room.  That's a huge change! 

 

We have had two smallish bumps.  We were able to deal with them okay.  I was surprised that I was still somewhat afraid to speak up and tell him he had hurt me.  However, I made myself do it, knowing that if it didn't go well, I did not have to stay in this marriage.  With one of the bumps, I took way too long to say anything, and suffered inside the whole time.   

 

Now, we have just got over another one!  The third in 10 months.  This is quite a record for us.  Our whole marriage used to be a very bumpy road from my point of view!  Hurt, hurt, hurt.  Put downs galore!

 

This bump the other day, involved Zed speaking harshly when he disagreed about something I was doing.  I had been concerned and upset.  It had to do with keeping the house pest-free.  He HAD helped me somewhat in this matter, but that day, he jumped back to speaking callously -- like his former self.

 

Still, I was the new me, not caving into depression and seriously hurt feelings and intimidation.  However, he HAD hurt me.  I knew I couldn't let this one go.  I thought I should just say something, but felt I wouldn't come up with exactly the right words.  Besides, I think I've figured out that it goes better if he has time to let my words sink in before he has to respond.  So, I decided to write a note.

 

Here's what I wrote and left for him to read in the morning.  He gets up WAY before I do:

 

Dear Zed,

 

I love you.  I love how you always greet me with a smile and how you willingly give me hugs and other touches.  ;)  It's so refreshing and healing!

 

I'm struggling at the moment though, feeling hurt.  It hit me hard when you said you wouldn't put any money toward ____________.  I felt quite abandoned.  I don't expect you meant to be harsh, Zed, but do you understand how those words could have hurt?

 

Please, I'm asking you for an apology.  It will make a big difference.

 

God bless you my dear man!  I so want to get back to the wonderful easy-going feeling we've had between us for a long time now!

 

Love,

MaryJane

 

When I came down in the morning, Zed gave me a nice smile and I could see he had replied to my note.  Here's what he said.

 

To MaryJane,

 

Yes, now that you point it out I can recall it and see that I was harsh about it.  So, I am sorry about that and love you and desire to do good unto you.

 

Sincerely,

Your husband,

Zed

 

I know, it's short, but it ministered to me greatly!  We had a very nice hugging time.  I got a little choked up and told him it was good crying.  Didn't want him to think he might have to deal with sadness!  He was glad about it all.  Later in the day, I told him I was still feeling happy because of his good words.  He liked that. 

 

I wish I could describe what the difference is in our marriage.  It's like we have both turned a corner within our own selves.  It's good!!!  And I thank God.  :)

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  • 3 weeks later...
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Thanks 4evr!  I had a great time!  Attended a niece's wedding, connected with old friends and long-lost relatives.  Met four former classmates at a coffee-shop and talked and laughed for about 3 hours!   

 

Zed and I had a grand reunion when I got home!  ;)  The next day was my birthday.  He gave me a BEAUTIFUL card with beautiful words on it!  I think I'll have to copy them here.

 

FRONT:

 

From the man who loves you

 

INSIDE:

 

You came into my world softly, gently, gracing it with light, laughter, and love.

Changing all things for the better...

 

If ever a woman were a blessing, that woman is you.

 

Happy Birthday

 

with all my love

 

Isn't that amazing?!  Coming from a man who used to find fault with me at almost every turn.

 

Then for two days, we went for drives every day, eating out and being nice and companionable.  Then, on Saturday, I glanced outside and noticed a couple of cars in the yard and a group of people having just got out of them.  Then, I realized that most of our children, their wives, and our two little grandsons had come for a birthday party!  Zed had arranged this!  What a man he has become!  It was wonderful!

 

He is still being friendly toward me all the time.  I still feel pleasantly surprised!  :)

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  • 5 months later...

It's about six months since the last post.  

 

The state of our marriage is about the same.  That means there is still the huge improvement over  the past!  Intimidation is not really a problem for me anymore!  I can hardly believe it.  

 

There are still occasionally times when Zed says something that hurts me.  I have to let him know, and I am "tempted" a little, to feel intimidated.  Then I remind myself that, no, there is no longer any need for that.  These little bumps stay little if we deal with them quickly.

 

Usually, for me, "quickly," is overnight.  This is how it goes.

 

He hurts me with some thoughtless word, I feel hurt and maybe angry.  I try to say SOMETHING right away, so he KNOWS right away what he did.  I'm not really good at that because I still don't like making "waves."  

 

However, I talk to myself (usually silently) ;) and tell myself I'm going to have to let him know more clearly what is wrong and what he needs to do to fix it.  So, the route i take nowadays is, to write as friendly a note as possible, and leave it for Zed to find in the morning.  Mornings are when he is at his best, plus, he has had time to realize that there is SOMETHING wrong.

 

I tell him what hurt me and usually ask for an apology.  The next morning I find a nice little apology note waiting for me.  Voila!  We are back to normal again!  In my last note, a few days ago, I didn't ask for an apology.  I was quite relieved to find he gave me a good one WITHOUT being asked!  That was a pleasant little relief.

 

The last three of these little bumps took place in September, November, and again this month on the 11th.  I guess he missed October.  I should mark these on my calendar again, just for curiosity's sake.  I had quit calendar-marking because there were no longer any major crises to mark down!

 

I could rattle on some more, but am tired and am going to bed.  :) 

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Sandra, YOU aren't the one making the waves when you let him know his thoughtless words hurt you! Zed is the one, you know. Keep at him. The goal isnt that he'll stop saying thoughtless and hurtful things, though that would be awesome. The goal is for him to be eager to know when his words hurt you; For you to feel safe to tell him.

He'll get there if you continue helping him.

I think you are maybe too quick to blame yourself when his tone or words hurt, am i right?

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Glad to see something here.. I like that you are always looking for the positive in your situation and I am glad that you have come so far in this battle with intimidation. I remember how much i was intimidated. It can be very hard!

 

I do want to say to you that I think you should expect a bit more at this part of the relationship. Have you given thought to the fact that if you keep writing notes to both explain what he has done wrong and ask for an apology then he doesn't really have to think about it and thereby cultivate greater sensitivity??

 

Just a thought...

 

Thanks for the update!

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Mary Jane, i hear what you're saying, i think. The wavering is a habit, is that what you mean? I know that you are much more satisfied and happy with Z than you were for so very long. That's the most important! You can be yourself, just wonderful you and there's only one you. :)

Have a blessed Christmas MaryJane and 4evr and Chooselove and whoever else may be here! Love and peace to you all!!

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  • 1 month later...

I do want to say to you that I think you should expect a bit more at this part of the relationship. Have you given thought to the fact that if you keep writing notes to both explain what he has done wrong and ask for an apology then he doesn't really have to think about it and thereby cultivate greater sensitivity??

 

Just a thought...

 

Hi 4evr,

 

I want to address this but don't know how.  I guess I don't know what to do to help him cultivate greater sensitivity.  I think I have settled for "a lot better" rather than "outrageously happy" because I'm still tired from all the emotional exertion of the past.

 

We are in quite a rut here as far as our lifestyle is concerned.  Zed has a lot of back discomfort.  If he sits or stands or walks too long at a time, it hurts.  Therefore, he does not go far from home anymore.  He stays home and reads books.  He also thinks he's old and life is winding down.  In a way that's true, but in the Lord there is always Life, and Joy, and Expectation, and that life is abundant!

 

I stay home a lot too because it's easier.  Eventually, I do get myself out there with other people though and have a good time!

 

Hmm, can't think of anything more to say right now.  When I'm away from the forums I find myself thinking about some aspect of marriage and that I'd like to talk about it on the forums.  Then I get here and the thoughts are gone!

 

Until next time!  :)

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HI MJ,

I don't think you actually have to help Zed cultivate more sensitivity.. just don't do all the work for him.. and up to now it has been important that you do it just the way you have been because you have been asserting yourself, loving yourself and finding yourself instead of getting lost in intimidation.

 

So... I think that if you just have a little talk with him and tell him that you would like him to think about things sometimes instead of you just cooking, serving and cleaning up.. you'd like him to do some of the cooking and serving.... does this analogy fit for you??

 

Zed sounds a little bored and apathetic because there aren't any new challenges..

 

I would be praying for LIGHT and hope into his soul and ask God if there is anything zany or fun you could do!!

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