Category Archives: Submission

Is It Really ALL My Fault?

My fault

The following is a question I received from a man who has been struggling in his marriage and working at trying to do what he needs to do to make it work. Granted, he was a contributor to the breakdown of their relationship, but has been putting forth the effort to right his wrongs. This question is so common that I decided to share my thoughts on the topic, knowing there are others who struggle with this issue:

When one party in a relationship decides to make positive changes, it can create a conflict in the other spouse, they may ask questions like; “Can I trust them? What do I do with my pain? Would things be better if I left?”  Just to name a few.  Often inner turmoil pushes the focus of blame on the other person.  The question arises, “Is this ALL my fault?”

Just a quick question, my wife and I spoke yesterday and she basically told me she can’t promise me that things will work out between us, but she’ll give it some time.  In your opinion, from experience, is it all my fault that we’re in this position (and having all of these marital problems)?  That’s the image she’s describing, and I’m just wondering if that’s possible.  Could it really be ALL my fault?  

I will TRY to answer as directly as possible (for me).  Is the blame in the breakdown of a marriage ever the fault of just one member of the party?  Honestly, if that were the case, it would be the first time I have ever experienced it in my 20 plus years of counseling.  A particular choice of bad behavior in a relationship might be perpetrated by one party or the other, but those individual choices tend to be symptomatic of a greater problem and that choice of “acting out” was their way of dealing with that problem.  In other words, a person doesn’t just wake up one morning and decide to, let’s say, have an affair.  Usually you can trace backward the breakdowns (poor communication, no edification, lack of attention, lack of conflict resolution skills, etc.) that were occurring for quite some time in the marriage that led to the one party justifying a behavior like adultery, as in my example.  Once justified, the decision to act is only a matter of time unless the parties in the relationship make a joint effort to address the problem issues together, put forth the effort to change, lay THEIR (yes, plural) sinful behaviors at the foot of the cross (and do not pick it up again) and forgive the past; understanding that it took two people to create the original dynamic that lead to the offense(s).  As long as blame has priority over the desire to seek resolution there will never be the investment necessary to bring a marriage into alignment.

I apologize for out “winding” you, but you ask an explosive question, my friend.  Bottom line, I believe it takes two to make OR break a marriage.  The key to making the changes necessary to salvage the marriage requires a willingness on both parties to take responsibility for their own participation that has led to the erosion of the relationship.  God loves to work with honest and transparent people and I’ve witnessed him do nothing short of a miracle, but we ALL need to choose to participate in the healing and restoration process.

My recommendation would be to be intentional about your behavior and choose actions that show your interest in making the marriage work (emotions will lead you to destructive choices!) regardless of her making you sole blame or not.  If you are determined and prepared, do not let the decision to separate be yours, let her take responsibility and risk the consequences of such an action.  This will allow you the peace of knowing you did all you could to save your marriage and keep the family together.  Lastly, and CERTAINLY not least, keep this situation bathed in prayer (including praying for your spouse).  Just because you see no forward movement on the part of your mate does not mean that God is not trying to stir her heart.  Sometimes the way things look on the outside are not representative of what is going on inside.  At this moment she is protecting herself so as not to be hurt.  Remember, she is in pain and is not yet willing to take a chance on you.  It takes time to gather the evidence that your change is real and you will not do further damage to her.  The fact that she, “…can’t make any promises,” and that “…she’ll give it some time”, indicates that she may not be entirely ready to throw in the towel.  There may be some hope.  As you know, I can make no promises either way, but stay close to the Lord and he will give you the peace, comfort and courage you need to come out the other side of this trial.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.       Proverbs 3:5-6

Love your family, love those children.  Be blessed my brother, I love you and I’ll be praying for you both today.     – Pastor Eric

God takes marriage, a commitment not only to our spouse but to God, very seriously.  If the husband has been neglectful of his responsibilities, yet decides to put forth the effort to change and allow God to work in his heart he will only benefit.  Whether his wife has become hardhearted by her pain and chooses the path of least resistance; it doesn’t negate the husband’s responsibility to be submissive and allow God to grow him.  Remember, it’s not just about your spouse if there are children involved.  Even when divorce is likely, you still have the opportunity to be the best parent that you can.  It is not just an opportunity, it’s your obligation.

Be Blessed!

©2016 Eric A. Disney, Marriage by Design

Ready to Reactivate Your Marriage? Click on the “About the Book” tab to learn more about Marriage by Design: The Keys to Create, Cultivate and Claim the Marriage You’ve Always Wanted.

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Filed under Behavior, Character, Commitment, Divorce, Emotions, Forgiveness, Leadership, Obedience, Prayer, Restoration, selflessness, Submission, Transparency, Trust

Men…Submissive?

rings

Men, you need to understand that when the Bible speaks to submission on the wife’s part, you need to take the entire dynamic of Scripture into consideration with regards to this topic.  I guess the real question is, “Wives, why wouldn’t you be willing to be submissive if your spouse was fulfilling his role and modeling God’s love to you?” Ah, there’s the rub.

Submission probably wouldn’t even be an issue if everyone were fulfilling their roles.

Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them. Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.            -Colossians 3:19-21

Did you notice? Men are equally bound by submission. In fact, submission begins with the husband by virtue of his role. Paul states in Ephesians 5:1-2, “Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” He continues his thought in verse 21, “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” The evidence displayed by our Savior through his selfless sacrifice exemplifies his love for us.

The husband is called to honor God out of respect for who he is and by merit of his title, creator of all things and designer of life. This is a foundation for reverence as denoted in the above scripture. His is the example to follow as demonstrated in the life of Jesus Christ.

Men, are you demonstrating submission to your spouse by your relationship with God? Do you lead your household as a Godly example? What are some efforts that need to be made in displaying obedience to Christ?

©2014 Eric A. Disney, Marriage by Design

Ready to Reactivate Your Marriage? Click on the “About the Book” tab to learn more about Marriage by Design: The Keys to Create, Cultivate and Claim the Marriage You’ve Always Wanted. 

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Filed under Character, Male Leadership, Roles, Submission

Give Yourself to God, He’ll Clean Up the Mess!

clean up

For me, certainly one of my major battles involved harnessing what came out of my mouth.  In all honesty I have not yet arrived.  I am still a work in progress…but I’m in good company.  On more than one occasion I had attempted to stop on my own to no avail.  It was clearly evident that I need help greater than myself.  You see, people thought my insults, rudeness and sarcasm were funny.  If God healed me from this would people still like me?

Needless to say, since having asked God to temper my tongue, I no longer care about the acceptance of the world. What God thinks of us is far more important. In displaying God to our families, we should do our best to emulate Him. Men, as the spiritual leaders of our households, that is our obligation.

From the minute we wake up in the morning to the moment we close our eyes at the end of the day, plenty of people and circumstances have the potential to tear us down if given the opportunity.  Ask yourself: do I want to contribute to the “tearing down” process, or would I rather be a part of the edification process? Our marriages need to be the place where we build up and strengthen each other against the arrows of the world.

Are you assessing your behaviors as you interact with the world?  Are you learning to tame your tongue and gather yourself before you respond out of emotion?  Are you examining your motivations and responses aimed at your spouse, or are you simply taking everything personally? It is not just an issue of what words come out of our mouth; we also need to consider what we allow into our minds. External influences can have a great impact on what goes on in our minds, which in turn impacts the words that come pouring out of our mouths.

…whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.-Philippians 4:8

Have you asked God to show you how to better tame the critical spirit and breed a heart of understanding and edification?  What is the potential of such a transformation in your marriage, in your life?

God allowed me to retained my sense of humor through the process yet has filtered my communication in such a way as to be more edifying to others.  But again, I am still a work in progress and try to be more intentional about my behaviors, He continues to clean up the mess.  Thank you, Lord!

©2014 Eric A. Disney, Marriage by Design

Ready to Reactivate Your Marriage? Click on the “About the Book” tab to learn more about Marriage by Design: The Keys to Create, Cultivate and Claim the Marriage You’ve Always Wanted.

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Filed under Behavior, Character, Communication, Leadership, Male Leadership, Respect, Restoration, Submission

You’re Not the Boss of Me!

Bossy

Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting to the Lord. -Colossians 3:18

Ladies, some of you didn’t like reading this, but follow me for a few moments before clicking on another link. Husbands, you listen as well! First of all, if Scripture mentions something more than once, pay attention to it. When we look at submission it is imperative that we examine the flow of the marital roles, how they work together, and how they are unique. The model starts with God at the top, for he is the designer of marriage and all creation. The next two elements (husband and wife) are not ordered in importance but rather differentiated by responsibility of role. Galatians 3:28-29 makes it clear that in God’s eyes we, both men and women, are all equal.

What we know about God is that he loves both the husband and the wife equally with no qualifications. He has at heart the best interest of both people in the marriage. Ephesians 5:23 declares that the husband is the head of the wife. “Are you saying that he is my boss?” the wives may be asking. No, not at all, ladies. What it means is that God has given men a role that is unique to them. Within the context of marriage, the husband is called to be the spiritual leader of the household.

Ah, here is often where the issue of submission becomes derailed. There are many ways to demonstrate the spiritual aspect of our being to our family. If you are weak in this area it will affect your credibility as the leader and the willingness of your family to follow you. Men, stated simply, you are called to treat your wife and family in the same manner that God treats you. It is a tall order, and if you are not tapped into Scripture and cultivating a relationship with Him, you will not know how to lead.

Gentleman, take a moment and assess your effectiveness as the spiritual leader. Are you leading your family in the ways of God? Do you as the spiritual leader demonstrate God to your household? Does your family know that you have their best interest at heart? Do you attend church with the family, demonstrating that it has priority? Don’t expect it to have priority with your children if it has none with you. Are you praying with and for your wife and family? Are you in fellowship with others?

©2014 Eric A. Disney, Marriage by Design

Ready to Reactivate Your Marriage? Click on the “About the Book” tab to learn more about Marriage by Design: The Keys to Create, Cultivate and Claim the Marriage You’ve Always Wanted

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Filed under Male Leadership, Submission