5 Ways I Changed My Mind and Saved My Marriage

5 Ways I Changed My MindOne of my most vivid memories in my almost six years of being married (I am a newbie so forgive any naivete that is written here) is sitting in absolute dejection wondering why nobody bothered to tell me that it was absolutely possible to love your husband with everything you have and still feel completely unfulfilled in your union. I was a new wife and a new mom. Our infant did not sleep the night before and was screaming his head off, tears and all, for some attention. I asked my husband to attend to him and the man I love put our only child in his Pack-and-Play and walked away, unbothered. I. was. livid! That moment is forever seared in my memory because of what it spoke to me about my husband, whether my thoughts were true or false. It said that he did not care that I was struggling with sleep-deprivation as a new mom; he could not have cared about our son; and obviously he felt that the work associated with raising our children was beneath him and only fit for the maid-wife he had married. The thoughts all collided with each other and angry tears spurred me to call one of my leaders to unleash all the pent-up rage of postpartum frustration and anxiety.

After that moment, I looked for reasons to validate what my fears said was true. That my husband did not care; that he thought the kids were my responsibility and not his, and that he thought less of me. Anytime any of his actions lined up with those thoughts, I added it to my list of small betrayals. Once I did this long enough, I became a walking, talking personification of my worst fears. I was insecure about my place in my husband’s affection (wondering if he really liked me or if he thought I was a burden) and overly-sensitive to any of his criticisms (perceived or real) about my abilities as a wife and a mother.

When I finally noticed what misery I had created for myself, I had already wasted two years to insecurity and feelings of unworthiness. Those two years were not miserable years by any means. We created many fun and lasting memories. I am sure we had more than a few moments of deep joy and absolute marital bliss, but underneath it all was my belief that my husband does not really value me because if he did, he would have helped me more. What finally snapped me out of my “woe is me” mentality was a candid conversation with a friend. Her marriage was facing the same challenges that we were facing but had deteriorated to the point of separation. Underneath the tirade of issues they were experiencing was one common foundation – each spouse sincerely believed the other to be his/her adversary, not their partner.

Alarm bells went off in my head. I had been harboring the same exact thoughts about my husband. Believing the worst about him without speaking it aloud; complaining to our closest allies in hopes that someone would call him to the carpet. It felt like I was the perfect wife to an undeserving husband.

If I did not want my marriage to end in separation or turn into simply a marriage on paper (where we live under one roof and have completely separate lives), I had to change my mind.

Here are the 5 Ways I Changed My Mind and Saved My Marriage:

  1. Remember that I chose my husband just as much as he chose me. Nobody forced my husband on me, nor me on him. We saw each other. We observed one another’s character. We liked what we found in each other and we deemed one another worthy of a lifetime commitment built on Christ. I went into my relationship with my husband with my eyes wide open (for the most part). I knew he was not perfect when I met and fell in love with him. I had plenty of opportunity to decide if he was what I wanted (we have known each other for over 17 years and began our relationship eight years ago – so I had almost a decade of a head start to figure out who this man was before we were romantically involved).  After weighing all my options and seeing him, faults and all, I still chose him and I still believed God when God said my husband was His best for me. Remembering the fact that my spouse is my choice forces me to remember why. It brings to mind all of the qualities  that I saw before I gave him my heart. When I remember those things – his love for family, his generosity, the simplicity of his faith in Christ, his sense of humor, his intelligence and on and on like that – it is easier to honor him and our union. If my spouse is absolutely without redeeming quality, then why did I choose him? Chances are high that who he is, is who he has always been. Marrying him is my affirmative statement that “I accept you for who you are and I am committed to loving you for life with the knowledge that you might never change.” If I did not intend to make such a statement, then marriage was a premature move on my part.
  2. Treat my husband as my teammate, not my adversary or competition. Husband and wife are designed to become one flesh. That is what the whole journey of sexual intimacy in marriage, combining households, resources and finances, being emotionally vulnerable and monogamous is suppose to aid us to do. In name and in practice, we should be on one team, and speak with a unified voice. When I start harboring beliefs that my husband values his contribution more than mine, I am treating us as if we are competing with each other for “best spouse.” I am not treating us a team. Whether he works and I stay home, or we both work or he stays home, every effort made by either of us, is for the good of the both of us. Me taking primary caregiver responsibilities at home frees him up to focus on his work in the marketplace. It is not a lesser contribution. Him staying home with the children while I work full-time does not make him lazy or a bum. The care he provides at home saves us thousands in outside care as well as providing peace of mind that our children are in the care of those who love them best (their parents). All of the work and all of the effort goes into the same pot. There is no “his or mine,” only ours. And as a good teammate, if I see that my team member is struggling in an area where I am strong, I jump right in to support their efforts. I don’t share insider information (my husband’s confidences) with third parties. I don’t expose his weaknesses to those who may use it against him. I honor him both publicly and privately. And if there ever comes a point where I need to “take one for the team” (by sacrificing a personal non-essential desire for our collective wholeness) then that is exactly what I do.
  3. Give him (and myself) permission to grow.  The most dejected I have ever felt about my marriage were the moments when I would convince myself that things would always be like this because this is who we were as a couple. When we are in a hard season as a couple (bumping heads, on different pages or simply not connecting emotionally), that thought is absolutely terrifying. It feels like “I chose the wrong partner” every time we have a difficult day. But when I give my husband full permission to grow, I realize that husbands are grown, not born. What is hard today is not necessarily going to be hard a year, two years or ten years from now. My husband minimized holidays and birthdays when we first got married. He did not grow up celebrating them so he never made a fuss about them and rarely gave gifts. I used to be so disappointed when what should have been milestones would pass just like any other day in our home. I would do my best to celebrate for the both of us. As the years has gone on, my husband has adjusted to my love of holidays and I have adjusted my expectation of him as well. I do not expect a parade at each occasion and make it a point to appreciate thoughtful cards and token gifts. He, in turn, has done an amazing job at surprising me in recent years with meaningful gifts and celebrations. We have both grown in that area. If I did not give us permission to grow in this particular place, I would have interpreted his lack of gift-giving as a measure of love (or lack thereof) and he could have decided my disappointed response from our early marriage was a measure of my ungratefulness for the many ways he takes care of and shows affection towards me year-round.
  4. Celebrate my portion. There is a lot of good in my marriage. I do not always have time to shout it from the rooftops (my Facebook and Instagram page) or throw a party about it, but nevertheless it is true. And I am almost sure that there is something to celebrate in every marriage. If I am married to someone whose company I genuinely enjoy (and I am!), that is something to celebrate. Although it should be true for every marriage, I am sure we all know at least one couple who have chosen to stay together but it is obvious to everyone on the outside that they cannot stand each other. If that is not your portion, please celebrate the friendship that you have with your spouse. If I am married to man who is a great provider, then I celebrate the peace of mind that comes with knowing that my partner invests into our family without having to be prodded. There are some men (women too) who do not want a marriage unless it comes with a “roommate agreement” (split the bills and everyone must pay their own share) so if you have a spouse that joyfully tackles whatever responsibilities may come to your household, with no regard for whose name is on what (no “yours or mine,” only ours), then you have a partner worth celebrating. If my husband is completely in tune with my emotional needs, then I celebrate that. If he is an amazing father and hands-on parent, I celebrate that. If he is a man devoted to private prayer and corporate worship, I bless God for that as well. There is always something to celebrate in my portion, and I am sure if you look for it, you will find something to celebrate in yours as well.
  5. Quit the comparison. One day I was listening to a woman I greatly admire as she was talking to a group of us about her marriage. She told us that her husband sent her to the hairstylist after two days of her rocking a “do it yourself” hairdo while awaiting her hair appointment from her regular stylist. At home, I looked at my wig-less head in the mirror and busted out laughing. As much as I admired my friend’s union for all of the wonderful things that God does through her and her husband, I realized immediately that I would never thrive if my husband was an exact replica of hers. I can go months without a proper visit to my hairstylist. And this is not because I am doing my hair everyday at home. Most days, my natural hair is braided down and hiding underneath one unit or another. My husband always shows me extra loving when I get my hair freshly done, however he has verbally expressed that he does not mind my hair however I choose to wear it at home. I use that light example to drive home the point that God has given me what I can handle. I am designed to flourish exactly where God has placed me in my marriage and with my husband. Comparing my life to anyone else is a fruitless exercise because what looks amazing on them would never fit me properly. Someone else’s marriage is not my size – it will either be too big and swallow me whole or it will be too small and choke the life out of me. Besides, great husbands are not born, they are grown. I cannot even begin to imagine the amount of effort, pain or growth it takes for some of the marriages I look up to, to become what they are today. Some of the experiences that strengthened their union, could very well kill mine. There is no point to coveting something when I do not have the whole picture.

These are five ways I am reminding myself not to be the foolish woman who destroys her home with her own hands but rather, be the wise one who builds her house. Some of these points may be too “pie in the sky” for some readers. That is okay. Everything is not for everyone. But if any of these points resonate with you as the underlying reason for whatever friction has been on-going in your marriage, then I encourage you to take these words to heart and do whatever it takes to have the marriage of your dreams. Great marriages do not happen by accident. Pray for me as I pray for you. That our marriages will be ones that we all enjoy, rather than institutions that we simply endure.


What’s It Like? (Marriage Musings From A VERY Newlywed)

The journey of marriage is different for everyone who embarks on it. At only 19 days into our journey, I am not here to proclaim myself an expert on what marriage should look like. I do know that God has taught me some very remarkable truths as a single woman that have proven wonderfully effective as a married gal. Here are a few things I would like to share on what it’s like to be married for two weeks, four days and 23 hours and 52 minutes (and counting).

1. Obedience is better than sacrifice. The only reason I am enjoying the wonderful blessing that is my husband is because I finally came to a place of obedience to Christ after years of rebellion against God. If I had disobeyed, I would either be unhappily married to the wrong person or still seeking fulfillment from ungodly relationships. Letting go of the ungodly ties I had in the world freed me to obeyed God with all of my heart, in that place of obedience is when I met, courted, got engaged and eventually got married to God’s best for me. If I had done it my way, I would be miserable right now.

2. God gives us the desires of our heart and then He honors them. There were certain things I have always wanted in a mate – certain standards that I have seen in godly marriages that I wanted to be my own. These desires of mine were placed inside my heart by the Holy Spirit  Himself and when I recognized that, I held fast to them. Along with these standards, as I journeyed in courtship and engagement with my king, we also built a collective vision of what we wanted our wedding day and marriage to be like – number one on that list is that both bring glory to God. My heart verse for our wedding day was Psalm 34:5, which I happened upon when our church started reciting it as our watchword for the new year. It says “they looked to Him, and were radiant, and their faces were not ashamed.” For me that verse was a picture of my husband and I on our wedding day and in our marriage, keeping our gaze steadfastly on the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and as we would keep Christ as our focus, His glory would radiate upon our lives and we will be honored and not put to shame. From finances, to our wedding looks, to the way we felt on our special day, Psalm 34:5 came ALIVE for us and I thank God that He gives us the desires of our hearts and honors them. There was ABSOLUTELY nothing that we desired for our wedding day and our marriage thus far that God has not provided. He is amazingly faithful.

3. Marriage is AMAZING! No matter how the world wants to paint it, no matter how high the divorce rate is and no matter how many foolish ideas are out there on what it means to love someone, I can say without a doubt that marriage is AMAZING! God is infinitely wise and the institution He created and ordained is so beyond any man made idea. I literally get to wake up every day with my best friend. From cooking for him, to watching a movie to doing household chores to running errands together, EVERYTHING about my life with my husband feels like one GIANT adventure! And this is all God’s idea! No matter how bananas my husband and I were about each other while we were engaged, marriage took it to whole new level. There such a joy and peace in knowing that we belong to one another and God is absolutely pleased with our love. No other commitment, no matter how profound or meaningful compares. There’s no fear here. Challenges will come some day I’m sure (we are still on Cloud 9, 10 and 11) 🙂 but being with my best friend, lover and number 1 human priority day in and day out makes any challenge worth overcoming for the sake of what we have with each other.

4. Wisdom is better than silver or gold.  The one thing that sticks out in my daily interactions with my husband is how EASILY we relate to one another and how effortlessly our household runs. This is credited to one thing and one thing only – P-R-E-P-A-R-A-T-I-O-N! While I was still single, God made it His business to begin my preparation for becoming a wife. For a year and a half while completely single, I imbibed countless hours of study, meditation and counsel on what relationships were suppose to look like from God’s perspective and the role of a wife in her home. It was amazing! So many wonderful counselors and mentors came my way and shared God’s truths with me. When I finally started courting my husband, we were flanked on every side by spiritually sound authority figures who were invested in our success as a couple. From informal talks right up to pre-marital counseling, everyone in our lives made it their business to prepare us for what was ahead. Furthermore, because neither my husband nor I had a rigid timetable on when things had to be done, we were free to grow in  our friendship with each other and just enjoy learning one another. We didn’t move from friendship to courtship to engagement to marriage based on anything other than God’s instruction to us. We didn’t rush any of our seasons, we savored them. The wisdom of God through His Holy Word, through the Holy Spirit and through our godly counselors ensured that we were ready for our lives together. Now that we’re living it, we see how invaluable each stage of preparation was for us, without it, our joy would not be full as it is right now.

So, I am not an expert by any means. I am simply a woman who is ENJOYING the blessings of God that makes rich and adds absolutely no sorrow with it. Marriage is a God idea and it is a GREAT IDEA! Doing it God’s ways holds all of the benefits and none of the regrets!


The Importance Of Being…SINGLE!!!

If you read my last entry, you know I touched briefly on what it means to be ready for marriage. In this post, I want to elaborate on what it means to be SINGLE and why it is the most important  thing to anyone who desires to one day build a godly home with a spouse.

I once heard a quote on marriage that was so profound and so SIMPLE, it changed my entire outlook on relationships, and it is this – “you can’t be married until you’re SINGLE”. Now reading those words flippantly, one might be tempted to respond with a big “well DUH!”. But pause for a minute…

Let’s look at the meaning of the word SINGLE.

Single – adj; not married [okay, no surprises there]; frank, honest [hmmmm, interesting that the definition of SINGLE will relate to character. Let’s keep going] ; unbroken, undivided [DING DING DING!!! WE HAVE A WINNER!!!]. 

So, one of the definitions of what it means to be SINGLE is UNBROKEN or UNDIVIDED – in other words, WHOLE! How many broken people do you know out here looking for a relationship? Many people are anxiously waiting for marriage while still broken from the pain  of their past. If you’re broken, you’re not SINGLE and you can’t be married until you’re single (even the laws of the land will tell you that).

So, how does one become SINGLE or walk in purposeful and godly singleness? Well for me, that question was answered in a two step process.

Step 1 – CUT OFF every tie (relationship, friendship, habits, what have you) that DIVIDES my loyalty between itself and God.

Step 2 – RUN into God’s waiting arms and STAY THERE!

Step 1 was vitally important for me because when I began my journey into being SINGLE, I was already in a committed relationship that was headed for marriage. I knew that my relationship had been built on an improper foundation (see anything other than Christ”, even good things like good looks and common interests) so therefore the Demolition Company was called in (d/b/a Holy Spirit). I gave God free reign to completely dismantle that relationship. If it was God’s will for us to go forward together, I trusted that He would rebuild the relationship on SOLID foundation (aka the Solid Rock).

Now, even before I became a real Christian (not that lukewarm mess I was in for years), I have been a PRO at Step 1. If the guy I was with wasn’t treating me right, I cut him off! If a friend started acting trifling, I cut them off. If an acquaintance stepped out of line, I cut them OFF! I was good at cutting people off.

Now, STEP 2 though….that was a different story all together.

Of course I would run into the arms of Jesus for comfort and safety every time my heart was broken but staying there was a different matter all together. This time was RADICALLY DIFFERENT though.

Not only did God call me out of my sinful relationship, but because He finally had my attention, He began to LAVISH me with a love like I had NEVER know in LIFE. Every day, He would point me to the love letters He had written for me in the book of Psalms or Songs of Solomon or Matthew or John or Revelation or even Genesis. Moment by moment He would explain to me how precious and beautiful and priceless I was in His eyes. He would give glimpses of the GLORIOUS future He has prepared for me. It was nothing like I had ever experienced in my life. I was completely LOVE STRUCK!

Now with my loyalty clearly UNDIVIDED and utterly fixed on Christ alone, I began an 18 month journey of ABSOLUTE SINGLENESS (no crushes, no dates, no guy friends, “special” or otherwise, NO NOTHING). It was just me and Christ. In that time period as God continued to groom me and teach me to find joy and completeness in Him alone, I started asking Him questions. I finally understood just how the idolatrous nature of my past relationships had doomed them from the start. And trust me it was idolatry. Side note – anyone you are willing to disobey God for, IS your god (idolatry at its finest).

Previously when I met a guy that I connected with, I would commence with making him the center of my universe. If i needed counsel, answers, advice, or comfort – no need to pray – just ask Mr Boyfriend Man. I would pour out all of my affection and love into the relationship while completely neglecting anything else, even my relationship with God.

Well, enter Deut 12:3-4

” And you shall destroy their altars, break their sacred pillars, and burn their wooden images with fire; you shall cut down the carved images of their gods and destroy their names from that place. You shall not worship the Lord your God with such things.”

So now that my idols (inordinate affection for romance/relationships) had been smashed to pieces, I was in EXCELLENT position to fulfill God’s purpose for my singleness. In this time of ABSOLUTE SINGLENESS, God began to pour into me. He taught me how DISGUSTING sin looks to Him. How my years of lukewarmness both nauseated Him and broke His heart. He taught me that LOVE was not a feeling but a PERSON (JESUS CHRIST, patient, kind,  not seeking His own, the very embodiment of 1 Corinthians 13). He taught me how EXPENSIVE grace was for Him despite that it’s free to us.

God began to expose me to me. He showed me that my tendency to “people please” would always put me at odds with His will for my life if I continued. He taught me how to STOP LYING to avoid negative consequences. He taught me to PRAY for people even when I wanted to hate them. He taught me to LOVE others without expectation. God did a lot. He also taught me what a godly, Christ-focused, Heaven approved relationship looked like from His perspective. The Holy Spirit literally filled me up with knowledge about marriage and relationship at a time when I was totally without prospects.

Well, after one year and six months of ABSOLUTE SINGLENESS, the Holy Spirit in His infinite wisdom and mercy had broken every bad relationship habit I had acquired over 26 years of life (and trust me, I was a hot mess!). In that same time period, I blossomed joyfully in His presence, bearing fruit that I had long waited to see in my own life. Instead of being double-minded and hypocritical,  God removed the shame of my past and granted me a precious gift – the gift of transparency (lol, it is a JOY to be able to speak the whole truth after years of hiding in the shadows of sin’s shame). I call it a gift because not everyone has it, not even all Christians have it. In my time of ABSOLUTE singleness, God gave me insight into what my destiny looks like from His eyes. He granted me the privilege and honor to pour into the lives of the younger generations behind me, especially teenage girls. He equipped me with the grace to share my heart wholly and truthfully with them, helping them to navigate the choppy waters of young adulthood and avoid the traps that the enemy has lying in wait for them.

I can say without a shadow of a doubt that my season of ABSOLUTE SINGLENESS yielded much fruit. I am still single because I am not married yet, but as a woman engaged to one of God’s precious and valiant sons, this season is not of absolute singleness. This season of my life is about transitioning to be a WIFE AFTER GOD’S OWN HEART (props to the book by Elizabeth George by the same title – I am re-reading it for the 3rd time and it is BLOWING  ME AWAY!).

So, if you are still broken about your past and in need of healing, go to God – GET WHOLE! GET SINGLE! If you are currently unmarried and you desire to build a home and family under that sacred covenant between you, your spouse and God, I suggest you GET SINGLE. Because we all know, you can’t be married until you’re single.

I pray this blesses your life and your journey with Christ! I pray you find purpose and joy in singleness. May it be a time of EXPONENTIAL growth in Christ rather than drudgery to you. Love you guys!

(if you have any questions or want me to pray along with you on anything you’ve read here please reach out to me on Twitter @attorney_of_luv or email me at or comment with your contact info).

life, marriage

Are You Ready?

As I count down the last 4 months and 1 week of my season of singleness, I can’t help but reflect on where God has brought me from. If you browse any of my blog entries prior to September 2009, you can see the growth for yourself. I use to think I was ready for marriage as soon as I was an “adult” (over the age of 21 in my book). Because I was always starving for love and affection from a “special someone” I wrongfully believed that those urges meant that I was ready to settle down. So around the age of 22, I started diving heart first into one committed relationship after another looking for the perfect guy. It never worked out. My inordinate affection for a human being’s love guaranteed that I would idolize those relationships if any of them had blossomed into marriage. God loves me too much to see that happen so He always intervened before things got to that stage. Along with God’s divine intervention, my own selfish, manipulative, Proverbs 5 ways ensured that I never got what I wanted more than anything, a stable relationship that was marriage focused. In case you were wondering, here’s what Proverbs 5 (v. 3-6) says:

For the lips of an immoral woman drip honey,And her mouth is smoother than oil;But in the end she is bitter as wormwood,Sharp as a two-edged sword.Her feet go down to death, Her steps lay hold of hell.[a]Lest you ponder her path of life—Her ways are unstable;You do not know them.

You might think it mighty odd that I would describe myself in those terms but let me explain. As THAT woman who was compromising and saying ANY and EVERYTHING to get a ring, I was definitely a smooth talker. I would flatter, flirt, cajole or nag my way to get a guy to see me as “wifey material” (I hate that term now, by the way, lol). I wasn’t thinking about the guy. I wasn’t considering whether I was suitable for him and the future plans he had. I wasn’t praying for God’s will in his life. I wasn’t concerned with how I could help him grow in Christ or achieve his destiny, I JUST WANTED A RING!!! A woman with those kind of selfish motives is the EPITOME of a Proverbs 5 adulteress. This is not to down myself but to give us all a reality check. You’re not ready for marriage just because you’re lonely. The best piece of advice I ever got when it  comes to singleness, godly relationships or marriage is this – don’t be obsessed with FINDING the right person, be committed to BEING the right person (paraphrased from Chip Ingram’s Series Love, Sex and Lasting Relationships).

Are you in a fruit bearing relationship with Christ by yourself? Do you daily exhibit the character traits of the Holy Spirit by being loving, joyful, peaceable, long suffering, kind, good and faithful? If you are currently NOT bearing this fruit with family and friends, how the heck do you think you’ll be able to do so while you’re yoked with another imperfect human being in the covenant of marriage?

These are important questions to ask oneself because marriage is not about a WEDDING. It is about spending a lifetime with someone who will cause you to look more and more like Christ with each passing day. A marriage built on anything other than Christ is built on a shaky ground and before God fully prepared me, I was headed for disaster.

Look out for another post on singleness. I pray this one has given you reason to pause, examine yourself and pray. God bless.Image