helping people connect & discover true intimacy

From Anger to Tranquility
Karen's* thoughts on her life and marriage

My marriage just wasn't what I thought it would be. After a wonderful courtship, my dream wedding and a fantastic honeymoon, real life hit me hard. It was obvious that my new husband, Mark*, and I had very different ideas about what marriage was like. We seldom discussed our differences and resolved nothing.

Every time he chose to watch TV over being with me, I was hurt. Every time he ignored me, I was hurt. Many nights I cried myself to sleep, alone in my bed, while he watched TV downstairs. When the hurt got real bad, I would try to explain it to him, but nothing ever changed. This pattern of hurt continued for the first decade of my marriage.

I'd label the second decade as one of anger. No matter the resolve I made to change, I was still being hurt and my heart was becoming hard as a way to protect me from more hurt.

Whenever I tried to confront the monster of indifference in our marriage, the results would always be the same: I would end up in tears, apologies would be made, we'd have two or three good days and then it would be back to the same old thing. I had no idea the kind of anger I was allowing to grow in my heart.

Somewhere during this decade, I began to see Gene Schrader. Over time, two major things hit me. First, I was to speak the truth in love. While I had tried to speak the truth, I wasn't doing it in love. I was speaking the truth to get my own needs met.

Second, I began to realize that my "ideal marriage" was an idol in my life. I desired it more than I desired God. How did I know? Well, my thoughts were consumed with what hurt, what was wrong, what I wanted. So I confessed the sin of idolatry and began to seek God with my thought life.

When Gene told me to take all my hurts to the cross and ask God to forgive my husband for each one, I was shocked. Ask God to forgive my husband for what he had done to me?! Something did not compute. But I began to do that.

Somewhere in this act of praying for my husband, God began the healing process. Things have changed some at home, but the biggest change has been in my heart. I can choose to love my husband and pray for him. I can seek God more than the ideal, perfect Christian marriage. I know God will never forgot or ignore me (He always has my best interest at heart). Some things may never change in our marriage, but I have changed simply by forgiving unconditionally and gazing on my God and glancing at my circumstances.

*not their real names

All Articles