Friday, November 6, 2015

Marriage Renovations: Rebuilding HER Way

Photo credit: mikeg1968 Etsy Shop
In this series, Josiah and I are talking about the "renovations" God has recently made in our marriage, and how to negotiate your own marital renovation project.

When you're building from scratch, you start with the foundation and build up. In a Christian marriage, the foundation is Jesus Christ. He is the cornerstone. He is the rock you build on.

Josiah and I had this part already, praise God. (If you don't, but you'd like to know how, get with us!)

Nevertheless, even when you've built on a strong foundation, and you sincerely love your home, there are times when you need to do renovations.

Today, I'm talking about how I went through the Rebuilding phase of our marital remodel. You can catch up on what's already been written here:

Marriage Renovations: Intro
Marriage Renovations: Demo Day HER Way
Marriage Renovations: Demo Day HIS Way
Marriage Renovations: Blueprints HER Way
Marriage Renovations: Blueprints HIS Way

This is a hardhat area, folks. Strongholds are falling.

PHASE 3: Rebuilding - Alissa Style

 Okay, we've covered the first two steps in the marriage renovation process – Demo and Blueprints – now let's talk about Rebuilding.

If you're renovating your kitchen, you rip out the old kitchen, clean out the rubble, consult the plan, and then you get to start putting all NEW stuff back in – cabinets, appliances, tile – all the things that will make your new space usable each and every day.

That's what this part of our marriage renovations project looks like, too. It's time to take the lessons learned through the Demolition and Blueprints phases and use them to build thought processes and actions we can use in our everyday lives.

It's time to learn how to walk it out.

In MY marriage renovation project, I had just learned that it's in no way Biblical to vent petty frustrations and complaints to my husband, no matter how “respectfully” I may try to do so.

Therefore, God’s chosen ones, holy and loved,
put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience,
accepting one another and forgiving one another
if anyone has a complaint against another.
Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must also forgive.
Above all, put on love—the perfect bond of unity.
Colossians 3:12-14

I put some emphasis on some of that, but really, the WHOLE THING is golden. Seriously, read it again. Now again.

Nothing. Not one thing about venting complaints and frustration. Just patience, humility, compassion, and forgiveness.

(I want to insert a note in here: communication in marriage is necessary. I am not advocating a lack of communication in your marriage. PLEASE stay tuned for the Series Wrap-Up for more on this subject!) 

I also remembered this verse at the beginning of the rebuilding phase:

Don't be selfish; don't try to impress others.
Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.
Philippians 2:3 (NLT)

I don't normally use the NLT, but in this case, it so beautifully simplifies the meaning of this verse, and let's face it: the concept is so difficult to apply that the the more we can simplify, the better.

These verses are set in direct opposition from one another. So, I had to reword it like this: Instead of being selfish and conceited, I'm supposed to be humble and consider Josiah as being better than me, above me.

I used words from a few different translations there, and women's lib folks everywhere are tearing out their hair and gnashing their teeth because I just set Josiah above me, but guess what? We're supposed to set everyone above us, MOST OF ALL our husbands because they are “our heads.”

Only after you've dealt with this truth and accepted it can you really move on.

Once I realized it, I was totally able to apply it and life became really simple freaked out and basically screamed at God, “how the heck am I supposed to live like that?!”

Like my friend, Lindsay, says, “I'm just keepin' it real.”

Once again, though, God is faithful. He gradually helped me accept it, and then showed me how.

First, He had me write a list of all the things I love about Josiah in my prayer journal. He had brought me to a place where I was REALLY seeing all the fantastic things about Josiah, but I knew that wouldn't last.

Wow...I didn't mean that like it sounded.

I knew, in the heat frustration and anger, those amazing things I love about my husband would be hidden by my minuscule complaints. I needed a list to refer to in those moments, to remind me of all the great things, and put the small things back where they belong.

God also placed the PERFECT metaphor in our paths at exactly the right time: we took dance lessons.

Josiah had purchased a Groupon for dance lessons months before, and just before they expired, he made the first appointment...which fell smack dab in the middle of our rebuilding phase.

It was perfect timing.

Dancing is a beautiful example of how marriage works: he leads and she follows.

Can I tell you a secret? Shhhhhh...I may be a more capable dancer than Josiah.

I don't think that's anything he'd argue with. I love to dance, and it comes pretty naturally. Despite this, however, it's still not my job to lead. That's just the way it goes.

I may get the steps before him, but it's my job to patiently wait while he gets more instruction and to give him praise when he does well and encourage him even when he doesn't.

Sometimes, Josiah would move in a way I didn't expect, the “wrong way.” If I followed him, then we continued to dance, and we eventually got where we needed to be. However, if I didn't follow properly and tried to go my own way, the whole thing would derail and we'd have to start all over.

The analogy is staring us right in the face isn't it? The dance only works when we do our respective jobs, and my job isn't to lead Josiah, but to follow HIS lead and give him encouragement.

It is what it is, ladies: learn it, live it, love it...because God's truth is eternal; it's not changing anytime soon.

We also read through the Felhaun books, For Men Only and For Women Only, together...taking notes on each and passing them back and forth, chapter by chapter. You won't believe how much this aided the rebuilding process.

We were able to express our feelings and get to know more about one another in a safe way, during a time of peace, not conflict. I am inexplicably grateful for the knowledge I gained about Josiah: how he feels about certain things, how he thinks, and how God made him. I think he'd say the same thing, too (but read tomorrow's blog post to find out!).

Now, our renovations for this particular project are complete. Things still get messy at times, but with the project done, it's much easier to clean up. I'm sure God has more renovations planned for our marital future. The “house” is never complete until we leave this world and meet the architect himself.
However, knowing how that process works and that it DOES work is half the battle.

How does your marriage look? How does your life look? Are there places God has been trying to renovate? Have you been resisting the upgrade, afraid of the process? Have you gotten stuck at the demolition stage, sure that it can never look beautiful again?

Go all the way through with the process. Trust God to work in your life in amazing ways, and He will...every time.

1 comment:

  1. I'm so proud of you for sharing all of this! I really like the idea about writing down what you love about your husband. Love you both!