We were in our early years of marriage. My husband finally had his first job as a dentist working for a big dental company about 45 minutes from our apartment. Excited to hear about his day over a hot meal prepared for 2, I checked the driveway every few minutes. But the dinner hour came and went. It was getting late..No matter how many times I checked the clock or peeked out the window, it didn't make him appear.. 

Disappointed and frustrated, I finally took my homemade offering off the burner because if he wasn’t going to come home to eat it at a decent hour, well, I was not going to stay up and wait…

My imagination had run away with scenarios of him stopping for dinner with a friend after work or just dilly dallying around the office because he loved it there. Both of which were ridiculously far from the truth. 

Finally when he practically stumbled through the door starving after a 12 hour day he was so disappointed dinner was cold and I was not anticipating him. Suddenly I felt terrible.

I realized my one sided, distorted perspective was feeding my personal disappointment and frustration. It was all about what I wanted, when I wanted and how I wanted it.  That’s called being a control freak. 

I realized he was not late on purpose; he was late because life was doing what life does. It interrupts, reroutes, slows us down. And the only way to have mental sanity is to understand that we cannot perfectly control the events in a day. Rarely does a day go exactly as planned. 

If events always went exactly as planned we might not feel like we need the help of a heavenly father or even the help of a spouse. These re-routes, detours and interruptions are the normal way of life.. Regardless of what the reroute is however, our perspective towards disappointment around failed plans matters. 

Looking back at that night, I was thinking more of myself than of him. I wanted the satisfaction of seeing my husband enjoy the meal at the hour I deemed dinner time. 

It was about me and my feelings. 

Not about how I could refuel him after an arduous day in the world.  I was disappointed because he was not fulfilling my desire of being where I wanted him at the exact time I expected him, eating the meal I made for him. 

We live in the outskirts of the Houston metroplex and his office at the time was about 45 minutes without traffic from our apartment. So my expectation was actually ridiculous considering Houston traffic but it was still big and present. 

My perspective about his lateness fed my disappointment. I made it all about me. 

I didn’t consider how long and hard his day probably was. I didn’t put myself in his shoes until he walked through the door and I saw his disheveled hair and expression. 

I had allowed my imagination to run away..

I’ve learned that most of my suffering is created in my head and not actually in real life.

The whole point of having a person, a spouse, is to be in a partnership of companionship. A couple is a team. They take turns hitting the balls and running the bases.  A spouse is to be a soft place to land after a hard day of work. I am ashamed to say I was more of a bed of nails to my husband that night. 

If I had truly been caring about and thinking of him, I would have kept the dinner warm, and made a beautiful place setting. But my immaturity reigned and the lesson has not left me. Thankfully I have had thousands of nights since then to love him better.

Little disappointments are a part of life. How we process them will shape our character and build up or tear down our relationships.

Marriage is where we have the opportunity to live out faithfulness regardless of the difficulties and disappointments life throws at us. Marriage is so much richer now that I’ve taken the responsibility of happiness off of my husband. My husband is not responsible for my happiness. My circumstances do not determine my happiness. 

I cannot control my husband or life’s daily circumstances, but I can control my response to life’s disappointments and not make my husband the enemy but remember he’s my partner. 

Deep contentment and joy that bubbles from within has proven to come from serving the Lord within my marriage. Serving my husband and children in obedience to the Lord not out of a  patriarchal sense of duty but out of an overwhelming love for Jesus has proven to be the secret sauce for deep contentment in my soul regardless of what we are facing circumstantially.

Treating my husband the way I want to be treated has helped me be kind and less demanding. The Lord gently showed me that everytime I would try to “make my husband pay” I was hurting myself, not just him. 

We are one. 

If he gets hurt then so do I. If he is strong and healthy emotionally then I too am stronger and healthier emotionally. Keeping in mind our oneness, helps me make decisions that will strengthen our marriage and benefit our entire family. A strong marriage is a beautiful gift to give to children and grandchildren. It’s becoming rarer and rarer but if you ask the Lord for instruction, he will gently guide you, my friend.

It’s the little acts of kindness performed over and over that act as a balm to life's disappointments. 

Acts of kindness like the way I pull back the covers on both sides of the bed at night for both of us, speak to my husband.. There was a time I only threw the pillows off the bed on my side. When I learned that hurt his feelings I changed. Pulling back the covers for both of us to him says, I love you. I want you. I’m glad we share a bed. And it’s such a simple little thing.

Making his lunch with the little protein snacks he enjoys tells him I care about him. It’s of very little consequence to my day but it speaks loudly of kindness to him. 

One dark lonely night in our early years,I sat in my prayer chair, tears streaming down my face crying out to God about a disagreement my husband had been locked in for a long time. I prayed, "Are you here? Don’t you see how wrong he is? Won’t you do something? Don’t you care?"

When I stopped long enough to listen, God was faithful to answer me in his still small voice. In the quietness of my heart he tenderly said, "What if I called you to stay faithful to me, and love your husband unconditionally during this time whether he changes his mind or not?"

"Would you do that for me?"

"What if I want to love him and draw him to me through you? Would you show him how much I love him even when he is not deserving?" 

"Would you do that for me?" 

"Would you serve me by serving him even when you can’t see me working in his heart?" 

"Would you do that for me?"

"Yes,Lord. I will do anything for you.. I will be kind. I will be a peacemaker. I will do by best with our meals and in our home for you Lord because I love you.  I will do it with a happy heart and my whole heart for you."

"Honestly Lord, I’m too stinking mad at him to do it for him, so let it be known that I am being nice to that man for you not for him."

Maybe not the best initial attitude but through serving the Lord by staying faithful to my marriage and family the Lord worked a tenderness and true love in my heart for the man who once felt like the enemy. 

Following hard after God’s wisdom, changed my heart and opened my eyes to a bigger broader vision of leaving a legacy of God’s faithfulness for our children. 

We build a legacy of faith..by remaining faithful with the help of the Lord. He knows we will fail, but He is there to pick us up, dust us off and set us back on our feet. 

Serving my husband as an act of worship for the Lord is one of my favorite ways to worship the Lord.  If I served my husband for the sake of my husband, then there would be huge chunks of days in the week,  where I would not do it because we weren't seeing eye to eye on something. It’s a relief not to have to do it for my husband since he does frustrate me.. But do for the Lord? 

"Yes! Everyday. I will Lord. and I will do it with a happy heart and a whole hearted attitude."

My husband and I think very differently and we respond to situations in polar opposite ways. I used to think he was just being ornery. But he is simply wired to see situations from another angle. After being married to him for years I know not to take this personally but to see it as a benefit. We have different blind spots so if we put our perspectives together we can see a situation with greater clarity together. I seek to understand his perspective versus judging his motives hard and fast slamming down my gavel of judgment against him.  I used to think he was just being difficult. But he is wired differently. 

 Wisdom grows a partnership. It takes time. 

It takes time to build a strong complimentary companionship in a marriage.

Wisdom brings healing and depth. 

Having been married for 34 years I can speak of God’s faithfulness and wisdom. God will do the work if we let him. 

The relationship of understanding and mutual respect and love that my husband and I have together is definitely not because we did it our way. 

Feeling disappointed and like you want to quit does not mean you should.

Seek the Lord for sympathy and understanding. Seek the Lord for direction. Worship the Lord by serving your husband and kids. Let God worry about the fruit and the end result. Just stay faithful to the Lord and what He has called you to do. 

Sometimes life throws us curve balls we don’t expect. If you are living what feels like to be a broken life full of wrecked relationships, hang on. God’s favorite thing to do is redeem and restore. Restoration happens to be His specialty. He loves you. He wants you. He’s for you. Listen for him and he will guide you.. 

Hang on my friend and give the Lord all your disappointments. He can hold them.

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