Yesterday I shared five big mistakes I made as a wife. It seems people always find it interesting to read about people's failures. My blog stats were high yesterday so apparently people are curious to see where I've messed up. I thought some of you may also want to know what I did right. It wasn't as easy to come up with this list, but here goes...
I prayed for my husband.
There are times the enemy has sent assignments to destroy us and prayer has saved the day and our marriage. I've prayed for Larry as a man, a husband, a father, a pastor, a leader. Sometimes it's been with his knowledge, many times not. Lots of times it was with my hand on his shoulder in the middle of the night, quietly praying. Other times I laid on the carpet face down and cried out to God for him. By the way, the best book I ever read on this is The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie Omartian. Get it.
I kept my own walk with God strong.
One day I will answer to God for my spiritual walk. The bible says each of us will be called to account. I won't be able to hide behind my husband or blame him. Before I belong to Larry I belong to Jesus. He's always known he's not number one. Not only is he perfectly fine with that -- He wouldn't have it any other way. I don't look to Larry for my walk with God each day or expect him to guide me in bible reading and prayer. It's up to me each day to have my time with God and this prepares me to be a better woman, wife, mother, leader.
I asked God to change me.
A majority of women marry a man and then set out to change him. I did try that at times but after a while I saw how futile that was. It's not about changing him even if it were possible. It's about changing me. I'm the only person I can change. Shortly after marriage I saw that's what I needed to do. I begged God to change me, help me, grow me. Especially in the hard times when breakthroughs seemed far off, I've learned how important it is to look within first to see where the change needed to come. I've been doing that ever since. It seems to be working pretty well for me and I highly recommend it.
I made him the priority even when our kids were small.
As far as my role in the home, making Larry happy has always come before making the kids happy. Dating and "changing up the playlist" to keep things fresh has always been important. A lot of marriages break down because women forget, before we were mothers we were lovers. The greatest role I have in the home is not that of mother. Many times we even hear it spiritualized from pulpits as a biblical mandate: "the most important role you'll ever fufill is that of a mother". Sounds good, but not true. Actually the most important role a woman fills is as a daughter of the most High God. Wife comes after that. Mother comes after that. The call as a wife very clearly comes first before that of being a mother. (Genesis 2:19) I love my kids and they are definitely my priority but as it relates to the home, my marriage is first. Child-run homes absolutely destroy marriages.
I had sex with my husband even when things weren't perfect in our relationship.
Sex is a unique blessing I always knew I couldn't afford to assign a low priority to. The bible doesn't say wait until everything is amazing to fulfill your husband sexually. (Or to receive it yourself.) There are plenty of times that things were challenging in our relationship but I've always known that I am the only one who can legitimately provide this for him. The greater challenge was being enthusiastic about sex when I just wasn't happy. What helped me in that case was more prayer. There were seasons of difficulty where I prayed that the Lord would help me be what I needed to be in the bedroom while I was waiting for issues to be worked out. Not always easy! And not fun. I know, I know, sex should always be amazing and fun or you shouldn't have it...right? Not exactly. Truth be told, sometimes in the difficult times it's an unselfish gift of love you give to your spouse even when you're not feeling it. I've learned that we can't light a room on fire every time. Sometimes I needed to even initiate it when I wasn't feeling it. Throughout the good and bad times in our marriage, we've discovered it's wise to have sex as much as possible. In my experience, when you act on the facts, feelings come back!