If your marriage is falling apart I know what you are going through.
I married the girl next door.
We started dating when she was 14 and I was 15. She is the only girl I have ever loved.
We got married three days before I graduated high school. We were both eighteen. I joined the army so I could support us.
Six years into our marriage it was falling apart at the seams. At this time I made a commitment that I would seek the Lord with all my heart. I had grown up in church but I wasn’t convinced that God was real. I knew I was in trouble and could not fix my marriage on my own. I figured if God was real He could help me. So in January 1983 I set out on my journey to find God. I got up early every morning and I prayed for one hour before I went to work. I took my Bible to work with me and read it during my breaks and lunch. Within just a few short days God showed up and revealed Himself to me. I was amazed that He was really real. He took me by the hand and He walked my marriage from a place of hell to a wonderful place of love, respect and peace. I want to share some of the steps I took to save my marriage.
The very first thing I learned was how to forgive. Before I learned to forgive, my wife and I would argue and she would always say very condescending and hateful words to me. She was very quick of her feet and could argue circles around me. She would always frustrate me so I would just walk away to a place where I could think. I would think about what she said and come up with a response. So I would track her down and give her a piece of my mind. To my surprise she could never see the wisdom in my response and she would chew me up one side and spit me out the other, so to speak. As I was learning to walk with God He taught me, to just forgive her, when we would get in an argument. So instead of coming up with a response I would go to my room, shut the door, and say out loud, “Lord I forgive her and I thank you for her, for she is Your gift to me.” I would say it over and over and to my surprise the hurt would take wings and fly away. It was amazing.
One of the big reasons for many of our fights is I was very lazy. I would not help out around the house. My wife would have to nag and nag and nag to get me to do anything. In my mind I reasoned, “If I help her too much she will expect me to do more.” I reasoned, “If I wash the dishes, I’ll be struck with always having to wash the dishes.” This is what you call a stronghold in your thinking and it was causing great problems in our marriage. One day as my wife was at work the Lord spoke to her and said, “Quit nagging your husband.” My wife responded, “Lord if I don’t nag him he won’t do anything.” The Lord just repeated Himself to her. My wife said to the Lord. “OK Lord but you will see that I am right.” This was on a Wednesday. And she was right, for the next three days I did not do anything. On Friday evening our church was having a special guest speaker and we attended. At the end of the service the minister ask if anyone want to know what God’s will was for their lives to come up for prayer. Well I was the first one in line. As I was walking up to the alter the Lord spoke these words to me, “If you weren’t so blame lazy I could tell you would to do.” That night my life forever changed. After the Lord said those words to me I change my thinking. I decided if I saw anything that needed to be done I would do it, so that, my wife would not have to. That was in 1983 and my wife has never had to nag me since.
Within the first year of making a decision to seek the Lord He had already taught me how to forgive and changed me from being lazy to being diligent. Things were getting better but were a long way from being happy.
When my wife was twelve or thirteen years old a friend of their family molested her. She never told her parents. After this experience she made a decision, in her heart, that no man would ever touch her again without her consent. After we were married I liked to touch, and I figured it should be OK since she was my wife. However if I touched her without her consent she would become very angry. We both agreed she had a serious anger issue. One day between 1984 and 1985 the Lord spoke to her and He told her she did not have an anger problem but she had a fear problem. He instructed her to forgive the man who had molested her. She did and an amazing transformation took place. It no longer bothered her when I touched her without her consent. Forgiveness released the fear out of her heart and the symptoms of anger faded away.
In 1986 I was at church one night praying and asking the Lord to do something with my wife. I was venting some of my complaints to Him.
He responded to me and said; “You have enough problems of your own to worry about your wife.”
I was truly shocked when I heard the Lord’s response. Once again my life changed forever that night. I decided I would completely accept my wife the way that she was and I would focus on my issues and try to better myself. When I quit complaining and judging my wife she blossomed like a beautiful flower before my eyes. You see, I always wanted my wife to accept me the way that I was. When I began to accept her unconditionally the way that she was, she began to accept me.
Also in 1986 the Lord spoke to me one day as my wife and I were fighting and she was saying many condescending and hurtful words to me. He said, “When your wife is angry do not take anything she says personal.” This was a game changer for me. Before I understood this I would be crushed and go and feel sorry for myself. After this I just simply let it go in one ear and out the other. I have since learned that when she is frustrated she just needs someone to vent her frustrations on. I now count it an honor to allow her to vent to me. She always feels better and I never take it personal.
In 1987 we were married for ten years. Thing were better but a long way from where I hoped it could be. I remember one night I was in my backyard and I told the Lord, “I will do anything for my marriage to work and be better.” The Lord responded to my prayer and He said, “Take your wife out and bring up an incident that had taken place the first year of our marriage and repent to each other and forgive each other.” This was a very painful thing that had happened in our marriage and I just put it out of my mind and acted as though it never happened. However the hurt of this incident was the root cause of a vicious cycle that was happening in our marriage. For the past nine years about every month we would have a big blow-up fight. She would threaten to leave and divorce me and I would apologize and say I would change. I took my wife out and I told her what the Lord told me to do. We both shared our heart with each other. We repented to each other and forgave each other. Our marriage really began to mend after this event.
In 1988 the Lord called us into the ministry. I am so grateful for His faithfulness to take me by the hand and walk me out of a broken marriage into a wonderful marriage. We still went to though changes and I had to learn many lessons but I can tell you today after thirty-nine years of marriage I love that girl with all my heart and just the thought of life without her breaks my heart. We both truly enjoy each other and we do just about everything together.
I would say, the answer to: “How do I save my marriage” would be to seek the Lord and dedicate your life to him. Be willing to do whatever you need to do to make it work. These are some of the things I learned from the Lord.
1. Always forgive
2. Don’t be lazy but be diligent
3. Anger issues are really fear issues
4. Accept your wife/husband and work on yourself
5. Never take words spoken in anger or frustration personal
6. Let the Lord heal the deep hurts and wounds of the heart.
Go to www.schoolofhealthandhealing.com and take the FREE course on “How to have a successful marriage”. This course will transform your life and empower you to be the husband and the wife that God has called you to be. It will empower you to live by faith and possess the abundant life Jesus came to give us.
Reverend David E.Watson
Founder and President of the University of Health and Healing. He has a heart for seeing people get healed, and freed from the shackles that Jesus broke off for us.
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