Many of you know that I always recommend The Marriage Builder to anyone asking for good books on marriage. It is an excellent book! We went through this book with our good friends before we got married and I believe it has played a large role in the foundation we have.
One of the main themes of this book is about getting our needs met in marriage. The author uses the example that if I see myself as hungry, my goal is going to be to get that need met. But scripture says that God will meet my needs, and I need to trust Him for that. So I have a two-fold focus in our marriage: to trust God to meet my needs, and to make myself available for the Lord to use me to meet Robert's needs.
I can honestly say that this has been a foundational concept in our marriage. It has stayed in the forefront of my mind and been part of my conviction many times when my attitude has not been one of selflessness. I am very thankful for this!
Robert has a work schedule that keeps him away from home often. And we have a life that moves on when he is not home. Sometimes that schedule changes unexpectedly, but our commitments still move on. This has caused some tension this past 6 weeks for a lot of different reasons... perceptions were different, thoughts weren't being shared, those unshared thoughts were allowing Satan a foothold, that foothold grew into more thoughts that created actions... You know the cycle! I started to wonder what Robert was thinking about some things and instead of asking him, I decided to test it out a bit and see if he changed his tune. Doesn't sound good, does it?
Meanwhile, I have been feeling a lack of connection with him. We have had a very busy 6 weeks, unlike any we've ever had as a family, I believe. But I also believe we were going within our shells in this busy-ness instead of staying out and communicating. When we were camping this weekend I was growing increasingly frustrated with this and was asking the Lord to show me what I needed to be doing differently. Didn't take long to get the answer this time! (Thankfully! I had a raccoon sneaking up on me in the dark and I was ready to head to the tent!) He showed me pretty clearly that my attitude stunk and I was the one with the selfishness problem!
I realized that in deciding to test the waters, I had immediately changed my focus from serving Robert to seeing how he'd react to me. I was looking for his behavior change, but it was all relative to my desires. Things I wanted him to think or say or do... for me. Not what can I think or say or do... for him.
There have been times where I've lost this focus in the past, but normally I can keep the battle inside my head. This month I have failed miserably at that, and it was pouring out and changing my behavior in our marriage. Marriage is hard! But it's so much harder when I'm acting with a focus on myself and my needs. Praise the Lord for His conviction and a new start! I got the kids occupied yesterday so I could have a chance to apologize and ask for Robert's forgiveness. I feel lighter today and all feels right with my little world! I feel more "connected" than I have since the beginning of August.
So I have I have a two-fold focus in our marriage: to trust God to meet my needs, and to make myself available for the Lord to use me to meet Robert's needs. And what a blessed difference it makes when I'm focusing the right lens.