Real Relationships Part 3: Uh-oh—What happened? I’m not sure we even like each other anymore…should I give up?

Scenario:

Girl falls for boy. He digs her too. They are “in love” and can’t wait to tie the knot. Sure, they have issues, but doesn’t everybody? “Our love will see us through,” they think. Only—it doesn’t. Fast-forward 6 months past the wedding. The excitement has faded, laughter no longer permeates the air, and all the warm gooey mushy mush feelings have disappeared into a black abyss. The cute quirks no longer cute and curious peculiarities no longer curious. She feels betrayed. He is annoyed. She is lonely. He feels like a failure. She tries harder and harder to please him—but the more she tries the more he shuts down. Insecurities come out of the woodwork and the alarms in her heart begin to go off: “Warning—Warning! This is not what you signed up for!” What’s a girl to do?

I could write thousands of pages on the topic but since my time is limited and you wouldn't finish the entire article at such a length, let me try to boil this down to some “bottom-line principles” best I can. I don’t claim to have all the answers and I acknowledge that each relationship is unique. This may not work for you—but then again—it just might. This is not the answer, but I hope it will bring illumination on some of the things at work in this scenario. I will try to hone in on a few major strands of the rope in which you may be tied up and will offer some practical tips along the way that will hopefully empower you to move out of this place of “stuck.” Are you ready? Let’s go!

Issue 1: “No matter what I do, I just can’t make him happy!”

That is right! And guess what—he can’t truly make you happy either. The point of marriage is not to make the other happy—that’s impossible. If this is your focus, then I suggest you take a good look into the heart of the issue—your heart. My guess is that you are hard on yourself and don’t have a good sense of your worth—unless you can make others happy and they are pleased with you. The way you feel about yourself is dependent on if other people accept and are pleased with you. This is no way to live. Your worth as a person is not dependent on if other people are pleased or not.

The real issue is being a “people-pleaser.” Beneath this are insecurities. And under those are often self-hatred, believing lies about your own worth as a person, and fear of rejection, failure, fill-in-the blank: FEAR!

Living from the stance of being a people-pleaser is a sure way to draw out and enlarge your insecurities. Sometimes people will be pleased with you—and sometimes they won’t be. Please the one who made you by being the you that you were created to be. If you are impatient, I’m not saying, “Then go ahead and be impatient—it’s just who you are!” That’s not an identity statement—that’s’ a learned skill—and an emotional response. I’m saying to learn to become the best whole, healed, and authentic version of you.

When you know who you really are, you can be true to you no matter how other people respond. If you are a person who values being kind, then be kind! Not because you feel like you have to—but because it’s who you are. And let your “doing” come from a place of “being” that is unconditional in nature. You act out of a place of giving of who you are and how other people act or don’t act should make no difference. Where do you start? Get a vision for and get in touch with who you are. I started a series on “Identity.” You may want to click HERE to read that article for a starter. If you want me to continue the series, leave a comment and let me know!

Another thing to mention around this topic is that true happiness is something that happens on the inside and is not dependent on what other people do or do not do. True happiness and living from a place of knowing your worth is to be “who you are” not “who you’re with.” If your happiness depends on others or you allow their happiness to depend on you, your life will be a roller coaster based on changing moods, emotions, and circumstances.

Yes, there are blessings to be found in a marriage, but happiness is not the end goal. Just before I married my husband I began to wonder if we would actually make each other happy (we had some pre-wedding arguing going on.) I prayed about it and really felt God tell me something profound: “You and your spouse-to-be are like sandpaper statues. You will learn how to dance through this life together (emphasis on learn)—and in the process, make each other smooth.”

Wow. And yes—that is exactly what it’s like. Learning—a process—friction—sparks—and finding our rhythm in this crazy world. You see, your lack invites him into healing and his lack invites you into yours. What does this healing look like? Oh-it would take a book to lay it out. But let’s focus on one thing for now. Start by targeting your thoughts. Begin to separate what is true from what is not true. I’ll dive into some of this soon. For an article that starts to dig in to this process, which I call the “Freedom Process” you can click HERE. If you want more, leave a comment at the end of the article and ask for a Part 2!

Issue 2: “We brought baggage into our marriage. I’m willing to deal with mine but he isn’t. How can I make him be my partner in this?”

You can’t! Anytime you feel the need to “make” anybody do anything, you are no longer operating from a place of freedom but are more likely being driven by fear, worry, or a need to control related to insecurity.

You can’t make him want to try—and the more you try—the more you will push him away. Is it a lost cause? No! You have a lot of work that you can do in the meantime—on you! Deal with your junk and even if he isn’t willing right now, perhaps he will see the way you are being transformed from the inside out and desire the same.

Let him watch you from a place of silence. It may seem like he’s not paying attention—but he sees you. Look at your own tendencies towards fear, worry, the need to control, and where you have unresolved anger and pain. Look at where you over-react to things. These triggers are your invitations into self-discovery for the purpose of healing and becoming whole. For more on triggers, click HERE to read an article about how dirty dishes triggered me into a frenzy and what I learned to do about it!

It is often the hidden root beneath the fruit that really deserves our attention. You can’t get away from your past in the regard that if undealt with, it will continue to inform who you are and how you respond today. Were you the over-responsible caretaker in your family of origin? Then you probably still play that role today. You are still trying to get daddy to approve by hoping your husband will meet the need your father never did. It’s time to let the little girl heal and grow up into the wife she wants to be. If you are interested in catching a glimpse of the little girl that lives in me, click HERE to see my own reflection on the topic.

So an agreement related to that particular might be:

When communicating important information we agree to do the following:

1. Ask if this is a good time to talk—don’t jump into a conversation if the other person is otherwise focused.

2. If the person agrees it’s a good time to talk, the listener must stop what he/she is doing and turn to give full focus and attention to spouse.

3. Person with the message gives context for what he/she is about to say i.e. “This is really important to me so please think carefully before you respond—this is a tender issue for me, etc.”

4. Person listening promises to respond to content just brought up and not use it as a launching pad to bring own concerns to the table. First respond to the content (and the heart) of what person just said.

5. If message is unclear, ask questions for clarification.

6. Person receiving questions be patient—the questions are not judgment statements or being asked to be an annoyance—genuine clarification is being sought.

7. When listener thinks they finally “get” the message they can repeat it back in a paraphrase form to check for understanding.

8. Other person will confirm or clarify if needed.

9. Agree and clarify action steps each is responsible to take.

This may seem like a lot of work just to “talk” and in the beginning, yes, it is. But once the agreement is in place, it’s easy to point to the paper and say, “Hey—remember this” when things start to get out of hand. It sure beats having the same argument over and over because we never figured out how to get out of the crazy cycle of assumptions and miscommunication!

Issue 3: “I think that he thinks this and that but he won’t talk about it”

Do EVERYTHING you can to identify and get rid of assumptions. They are very, very dangerous, and often are one of the key players in destroying relationships. If you don’t know—try asking. If he won’t tell you, surrender it. He doesn't want to hear about what you “know” is going on inside of him. He may not even know! This may pressure him in a way that causes him to further shut down.

Test your assumptions whenever you can by asking questions (but not too many questions and not from a place of anxiety or fear) and give your spouse the benefit of the doubt. If he says, “It’s not you” then go with it. No point trying to figure out what you can do to change when he’s never asked you to change. Some men internalize their issues and while it seems like they are mad—the truth is they may just be stuck in their own junk. Or maybe it really is unrelated to you. But your constant asking is creating an issue where there is none.

If his issue really is about you—and you make yourself a safe person by being authentic and available—he may tell you when he’s ready. First work on being that safe person by finding stability in who you are. Let him see that he can bring something up that won’t destroy you. Show him you don’t “need” his approval for your self-worth. I’m not saying go to the other extreme and just become “Ms. Independent, I don’t need my husband” kind of lady. It’s too much pressure on a guy if we live as if his mood, opinion, or reaction will make or break our day—or our heart. We need to give them room to have a bad day and space to work it out. His bad day doesn’t have to be brought into the relationship. Men tend to be better about separating issues whereas women tend to mix them all up together. Separating “what is me” and “what is not me” can be very helpful.

Something my husband and I are doing to be proactive in testing assumptions is to develop an agreement—an “alliance” if you will—that we both agree on ahead of time in terms of how we relate to each other in the heat of the moment so we both play fair by the rules we create together. For example, my husband often thinks he’s clear when he tells me something and vice-versa but truth be told, we communicate very differently and it’s just not a “natural thing” for us to just “get” what the other is trying to say. When we assume the other person has “heard correctly” we often end up in an argument later because the clarity we assumed was there was indeed not. See sample agreement to the right.

Agreeing Through Differences

Let me mention that it took us over two years to even get to the spot of agreeing to work on an agreement! [Click HERE to see another article about making agreements.]

We’ve had to deal with underlying, foundational root issues that made even working on a helpful tool difficult. Those layers were many but to highlight just a few reasons why we had issues were related to:

- Gender Differences: Men and women are really, really different! We didn’t say it, but we lived as if different was “bad” and kept trying to convince each other that “my different is better than your different.” We had to come to terms with the fact that women see the world through pink sunglasses and men see the world through blue sunglasses. What is a big deal to me is often not to him and vice versa. This makes it hard to respond to a person rightly unless you understand this principle.

I had to learn to give context and let my husband know, “Hey—on a scale of 1-10, I want you to know this is a level 8 important to me.” Then, although it only seemed like a 2 for him, he could adjust the way he listened and responded. The thing didn’t have to become more important to him in order to do this—he just knew it was important to me—and I am important to him—so he had to learn how to respond to my heart and not judge why I’m being “so sensitive” or “silly.”

We both went through (and are still going through) a process of adjusting our mindset and how we relate to each other. It’s not a smooth, one-time, easy fix. It’s a commitment and it takes practice. We are believing if we keep practicing, it will eventually become our “new normal.” When we mess up (and we do!) forgiveness is the best choice. Then we get up and try again. The book Love and Respect really helped us with this particular area of our relationship—a lot!

- Playing Past Roles: I continued to play the role of any issues that were left unresolved in my life. For example, there was a theme of men saying one thing and then doing another. I didn’t trust. I thought I trusted my husband—he never gave me a reason not to. But I gave myself plenty of reasons not to—only they were all “what if” scenarios—none of which were true and now looking back, none of which were even likely.

I had taken unresolved hurts and fears from past relationships and projected them on to my husband. I had to recognize this and stop it! It was not good. In order to do this I had to dig into my own heart and mind, identify roots, and I went through a special process of “coming out of agreement” with the lies I believed, forgiving and releasing people so I could get untangled from the emotional baggage, and deciding what I would believe about my husband and choose to be committed to that perspective. Of course the process involved much more—but that’s a nutshell of what I did.

- We Are Just Plain Different: Akin to recognizing gender differences, we also have been learning how to recognize how our different personalities and preferences impact our relationship. My husband doesn’t need to become more of an extrovert to “please” me but he does go out of his comfort zone when I have a social need. I don’t have to become an introvert to “please” him but I do have to go out of my comfort zone to respect his need for privacy or down-time. We are trying to compromise where we can, but also just identify when it’s okay to just to disagree or be different.

Silly example, but this illustrates the point: there are certain foods my husband likes—good for him! But I don’t like them. There are other foods I like which he does not. We don’t have to find a way to compromise in the sense of “I’ll like some of your food if you like some of mine.” We simply say, “I don’t prefer that.” And guess what? It’s okay. If it’s his night to cook, he knows I don’t like that certain thing, so he makes a little just for him. We try to be open to trying new things, but the point is that sometimes we just listen to what the other person says about themselves and though we can’t understand it, we accept it and live the best we can by the principle I like to call “embracing unity with diversity.”

Issue 4: When have I tried enough? When is it time to just give up?

That’s entirely up to you. But I’ll tell you my perspective. As long as my husband and I are both alive, I will never be able to say of myself “I did everything I could and just have nothing left.” Every day is a new day to try again. Every day brings a new opportunity for breakthrough. Trying doesn't have a timeline—it is a lifestyle.

I do my part—nothing more and nothing less. If I try to do my part and his part, I’ll make things worse. If I do less than my part, the breakthrough I want to see probably won’t happen. [The book Boundaries by Henry Cloud is a great resource for this.] I can’t give up because that is not the nature of love. The Bible has to say of love that it never fails. It is patient and long-lasting—enduring. Because love is a choice and not a feeling, I chose on my wedding day to do my part “until death do us part.” I meant what I said on that day and no circumstance can change that.

[Disclaimer: There ARE times to remove yourself from a relationship such as when you or your children are in danger or harm’s way. This is not “giving up” this is being smart and setting boundaries. This is NOT what I’m referring to in the above section.]

I've had plenty of times during fights or rough times when my feelings and thoughts and just about everything in me told me, “Run! This won’t work! Get out!” But I did not react to those thoughts or feelings. I stood my ground knowing I’d made a commitment and with God’s help, I intend to keep that commitment.

Do you know that when those feelings and thoughts are at their strongest, a fresh breakthrough in our relationship is usually just around the corner? I use the power of choosing my thoughts to create a victorious mindset to get through these intense moments. If I agree with the thought of “This will never get better” then I’ll be stuck and trapped in my own words. I instead say, “This may feel like it will never get better in the moment, but that is not true. I am committed to doing my part for this to get better. God, I trust you to do your part and please help my husband to do his.”

Sometimes we just need to let a little time go by—do some forgiving—and align our perspective to a position of thinking the best and choosing who we want to be in the relationship. Suddenly we find it wasn't as bad as we thought. All relationships require grace, truth, and time. These ingredients work together to create the healing and growth we want to see in ourselves and in the relationship. [Check out the book Changes That Heal by Henry Cloud—he does an amazing job explaining this in depth!]

These are all rooted and grounded in love. Not a flimsy feeling that changes with the weather—but a solid foundation built upon commitment. When all else fails—it is our commitment that keeps us moving forward together. I used to hate the saying “fake it until you make it” because I’m all about authenticity—but if thought of in terms of “practice who you want to be until that’s who you are” I think it applies.

It takes time for us to work through our issues and to develop new thinking patterns and habits that bring health and growth to our relationships. It’s not a formula, it doesn't happen all at once, and it requires trial and error, grace and forgiveness, and a will to keep trying in order to make it. Make up your mind ahead of time about who you and thus how you will respond—that way when things get tough you can take your own advice and choose what you value over what you feel in the moment. Don’t react according to the strongest emotions. Feelings are fickle. Commitments (true ones) are forever.

Another book I must highly recommend for the person who wants to deal with their past in order to live the future they desire is Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Peter Scazzero. It was nothing less than life-changing for me in this process!

I’m sure I could say MUCH more—but this is what I have time for today. What specific questions do YOU have? What should I address in my next “Real Relationships” article? I’d love to hear from you—you’re the reason I write!

Disclaimer

I may have alluded to this but let me say it directly: Marriage IS meant to be a blessing! And I do love my husband very much. The articles I write tend to focus on the struggle aspects of marriage, not the "where it is easy and blissful" parts. Nobody needs an article to tell them to enjoy what's already enjoyable!

I feel the need to be transparent and "real" about how difficult relationships can be and although I focus on these elements in my writings, I also acknowledge that there are things in my marriage that are smooth, too. :-)

I do, however, think God matched me with a mate that is SOOOO different so that we would have to work it out. I mean, what better way for us to be stretched, to grow, and to have the understanding and experience necessary to encourage others in their marriage? If I had one of those "wow--this is so easy" marriages, would you take my advice seriously on working through the struggles?

I can offer hope because I have hope. I have hope because I've experienced it. I've experienced hope because I'm committed to the hard work of growing as an individual and becoming the best version of "me" as is possible in this lifetime.

Thanks for sharing with me in this epic journey through the mountains and valleys called "relationship." Stay tuned for more articles in my "Real Relationships" series. And, as always, if you have an idea for a topic please share!

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Comments 11 comments

Cantuhearmescream profile image

Cantuhearmescream 3 years ago from New York

Seek-n-Find,

I feel an obvious connection to this Hub and can’t help but think that my recent struggles are in part responsible for its birth and many people will benefit from this.

I really connected with the cute quirks are no longer cute; isn’t that funny, those same cute quirks often end up becoming pet peeves? What’s even worse is when we are unaware of the exact point in time those cute quirks turn into annoyances, so we don’t refrain from them by any means, thinking that our loved one is potentially getting some kind of a kick out of them just to catch them rolling their eyes or huffing instead. Gee, I wish I would’ve known. Lol.

I love the getting rid of assumptions. In the presence of my boyfriend’s silence I find myself just making assumptions and I generally tend to go with the “worst case scenario” kind of assumptions. He may not think something really deserves the energy to talk about and I assume it’s because his answer would be unflattering, so I find myself getting mad or hurt about something that he never even said and probably doesn’t even feel.

4. Person listening promises to respond to content just brought up and not use it as a launching pad to bring own concerns to the table. First respond to the content (and the heart) of what person just said.

---This is a good one. For me, I feel like my boyfriend never wants to address anything, the good the bad or the indifferent. After having almost five years to try to accept this, I try to “talk” about our relationship as little as possible because I know it’s just not his cup of tea. So, when the opportunity presents itself to talk, when he gentle opens a door ajar, I try swinging it wide open and quickly get my “similar” need or thought in there. Unfortunately, he immediately resents me for my “slick” move and the conversation is abruptly ended. On the other hand, he is as guilty of this as me. When I attempt to bring up an issue in a very non-offensive manner, that I really feel is very important to address, he immediately turns the conversation away from my concern and resort to talking about his complaints. That’s the other thing, my issues may be questions but he turns his into complaints. I really try to steer away from playing the “blame game” because I know we will never get anywhere and there will be no growth. But if he feels like talking at all, it is usually the defensive, it’s not my fault… you have the problems, kind of conversation. So yes, I really could work on this and I would like to see if I could get him to as well.

The gender differences thing is probably the concept that I am the most aware of and the most frustrated with. Often times I think women think too much and men too little; if only we could find a happy medium. Yes, this is where I will admit that I am way too over analytical; there must be a deeper meaning, more to it. Why does he feel like this, where has this come from. I always try to analyze everything. Which is rarely every a good thing unless you’re a psychologist. Yet, I am frustrated how men, “often times” (I don’t want to get in trouble for stereo-typing), just don’t put a lot of thought into feelings and emotions. Things just are for men; they don’t necessarily think why and they usually don’t care either. What is the point in wasting time and brain energy on “silly” matters? Does she still love me, does she still find me attractive, and am I making her happy, does she think I look fat? Men don’t think like that. It’s more like; I’m beat from work, I wonder what’s for dinner.

I have like a hundred tabs open from all of the other articles I am interested in reading thanks to you, so I guess I’ll be busy tonight.

You brought up so many good points and I found myself agreeing with a lot and you left me with a lot of things to think about and maybe even some things to try. I really appreciate your deep passion and emotions. You are very relatable and I hope others find comfort in this hub. Thank you so much for taking the time to write this and you will hear from me again. Thanks!


Seek-n-Find profile image

Seek-n-Find 3 years ago from Illinois Author

@cantuhearmescream: I'm so glad you were able to connect. I use the phrase "one thing for now" all the time when I'm coaching my clients to help them realize change happens one step at a time. If you just focused on one thing and implemented--then another--you will soon be taking steps that end up taking you far. I hope the other articles benefit you too! My biggest problem with writing (besides time) is where to start! I have so much to say and want to help but am not always sure where to start. Anytime you have specific questions, please feel free to pass them on. It helps me focus my articles and I love writing "real content" that helps "real people" with the very messy "real problems" life brings. I look forward to remaining in touch!!!


Cantuhearmescream profile image

Cantuhearmescream 3 years ago from New York

Seek-n-Find,

Well, I'm glad you said feel free to pass them on. Before I embark on this journey of patience; is there a point (when you're not married) and you have stepped backed, expressed and exhibited patience and your other half is still not into communicating, when someone should give up? I am a total "fighter" and I never like giving up. At the same point, I gave up 10 horribly long years to a relationship that I was unhappy in for years of and one of my biggest fears is that I will have given another decade to another man that doesn't love me wholly back? It's hard to explain because I know men don't communicate like women do so sometimes it's hard to understand. I'm willing to spend hundreds of years laying brick if I know that an Egyptian Pyramid will be the end result, but I don't want to lay brick if it is only going to end up in a pile that no one finds pleasure in. I guess that's my cheesy way of saying I would put in all the work in the world if I knew we even stood a chance at someday having a healthy relationship that we both find fulfilling, but I don't see the point in wasting blood, tears, sweat and years if it only ruins us further?

Thank you again.


Seek-n-Find profile image

Seek-n-Find 3 years ago from Illinois Author

Great questions. If you are not married yet, that does put a very different context to it--yet what remains the same is any guy you marry will require a journey of sacrifice, stepping into the unknown, and healing. I hear what you are saying. Do you stand a chance with this guy? Yes! Will it be work? Yes! How much? I don't know. I understand not wanting to give another 10 years to somebody if its not a great fit-but how do you feel about setting a designated amount of time (say, maybe 3 months?) and use that time to really, really focus on your own healing/wholeness journey. Then reevaluate and see where you are at from a more "free" place? I would highly suggest the books I mentioned in the Hub--especially Changes That Heal and Emotionally Healthy Spirituality. Maybe EHS first--its a quicker read. If you feel it would benefit you to have some additional support on this journey, I am a life coach and my first session is always free. Feel free to take me up on the offer if you'd like--the free session has no strings attached. If you are interested we could do a phone appt and I could support you in making a plan so you can clarify what you want and move in that direction. You can e-mail me at Jenna.Ditsch@gmail.com if you'd like. Either way, I'm here on HP to be your cheerleader. :-)


Cantuhearmescream profile image

Cantuhearmescream 3 years ago from New York

Seek-n-Find,

I really appreciate the support; you've been great. You have given me a lot to think about. I'm not really in a place of "leave him or stay" because I love him and I would much rather work on it and stay then give up and leave. I guess I wasn't sure if there was just a time to count your cards and leave? I have a lot to do and I will be in touch. Thank you for being so supportive, it feels very comforting.


Seek-n-Find profile image

Seek-n-Find 3 years ago from Illinois Author

You are welcome. :-) Keep in touch!


christinekv profile image

christinekv 3 years ago from Washington

I will be sharing this excellent hub Jenna. Thanks for being such an inspiration. In many ways, I could identify with what you've shared. A little over 5 years ago, my husband and I went for some counseling. As we ended that, we read "Love and Respect." It also seems from what you've written, you may be familiar with Liberty Savaards teachings. This past fall, my husband and I hit another wall. We went to a communication workshop where some of the communication tools you mention were discussed and put into practice. Then we started reading a book called, "Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work." This book is excellent but made me realize there is no "magic formula" and that our relationship requires a lot of work. I've been a little frustrated though since if I don't initiate digging into it, it won't happen and it's probably been two months since we spent time reading it and doing the exercises. I certainly am not a stranger to perseverance (in many respects). My husband and I will have been married 18 years this summer (together for 20). Some have said you can't change anyone else, only yourself, which although true, can be a pat answer. Thanks for expounding and the additional examples you share. I hope to check out some of your other hubs when I have more time. If you publish a book, do let me know. I can only read so much from a computer screen!( My poor husband gave me a kindle for Christmas and I had him return it!).


Seek-n-Find profile image

Seek-n-Find 3 years ago from Illinois Author

Thank you Christine! I really hope this helps and encourages others. I am so passionate about this topic. I would LOVE to write a book. I feel like I still have much to learn--so maybe I'll keep writing hubs a little longer until I feel ready for that next step. :-) The thing I think many people don't see is the wholistic nature of "being" and of "being in relationship." We are beings comprised of a soul (heart, mind, intellect, will, emotions) and we are also physical beings and spiritual beings as well. If I just utilized communication tools without having gone through inner-healing, they would only go so far. If I got healed from past and into a place of health but didn't have tools, skills, and strategies, I would get stuck. If I did all these things without my relationship with God, I wouldn't have access to the love that enables the best of what I have to offer. If I just prayed and did nothing else, I'd have no relationships! If I forgot to eat or drink, I'd die. We need to look at ourselves as whole people and bring our whole selves into relationship with the other as whole--therein awaits a convergence that leads to abundant life!!! Thanks for your comments. :)


christinekv profile image

christinekv 3 years ago from Washington

Perhaps you could take the hubs you have written on the subject and compose them into a book at some point. Think you may be doing some preliminary work here...perhaps later, you will just have to put the pieces together and do a little tweeking?

Yeah, those dang emotions tend to take over....ongoing battle between the Spirit and the flesh. We tend to get so defensive and pride is always ready to rear it's ugly head too. Lord, loose pride from me and bind me to humility in it's place! Being I am also honest, genuine and transparent, I have a hard time with those who can't own up to their own junk...who prefer to hide, blame others etc. As you say, it takes deep inner healing and for most of us, it's an uncomfortable place to go, so although it is necessary, some refuse. For myself, as well as others, maybe it has taken place on some level, but we may need to go deeper still, in order to experience the abundant life, indeed. I am very relational, and find myself challenged in ANY of my relationships, where I desire a deeper, more intimate connection. Since we all are in process and all make our choices, I've had to learn the hard way to guard my own heart since many lack objectivity (goes back to pride vs humility). I don't write people off, but do keep at a distance those who won't be real and or think they know all the answers based on their convictions, education or social status. Those who are open and honest I appreciate, even when we don't agree, and those are who I will allow in and desire to be closer to. There is only so much time in the day anyway. The way God has designed and gifted me, He reveals to me things not only about myself, but also others. He is doing a refining work in me though in that I don't always share what is revealed (wanting to do so in the Spirit of Truth, and Love....Love can be tough, not wanting to enable people to stay unhealthy, and the Truth can be a bit ouchie...) . So I suppose that's more about not attempting things in my own strength, praying, discerning, and waiting on His timing. I feel "stuck" when it seems I'm the only one making any effort and then I tend to want to stop making the effort...but I endure, and need to be better about continuing to press through. Life is not easy but it indeed is an interesting journey and we all have a call and a purpose. The enemy though sure likes to distract from that, if he can. I think many more than just an individual, and that persons relationship with the Lord, play a role in walking in victory. The choices we make cause ripple effects. Many are either unwilling (due to apathy or selfishness) or perhaps truly unable to grasp this concept. Regardless, as you said in the hub, we need to model love...always trusting, hoping, and persevering. Thankfully, regardless of our circumstances, He does not fail us, and none of us can fully see the complete picture. It would be nice though if more of us would cooperate with His plan. Without Grace, we'd indeed be lost and without hope.


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thefedorows 2 years ago from the Midwest

If I knew you and you were sharing this with me over a cup of coffee, I would be smiling and nodding from ear to ear...and probably give you a hug! This is a beautiful hub. I voted up! I absolutely agree with you. Marriage is a commitment to unconditionally love each other no matter what. We cannot force each other to do anything! But we can commit to keep our hearts fixed on Christ and invite him in to help us. I have only been married a few years, but it is amazing to have a partner in life!


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Seek-n-Find 2 years ago from Illinois Author

Thank you thefedorows! A cup of coffee, a hug, and good talk is one of my favorite things. :-) Blessings to you on your marriage and thank you for the vote!!! :-)

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