Month: March 2019

Personal Rights

You ever think about the leading cause of divorce? Some would say adultery. Others say a lack of compatibility. I believe it’s the injustice served to one’s personal rights. What do I mean? Let me explain.

One spouse cheats and the other feels he/she has the right to fidelity within marriage. That sounds very reasonable. What about the right to be happy? Don’t we all have the right to be happy? Isn’t that not only an American right, but a human right too? So if our spouse doesn’t make us happy, we have the right to find someone else who does, right? That’s what the world would tell you. Even churches have fallen in line with that way of thinking and counsel accordingly. But what does God say about our personal rights?

Doesn’t God want us happy? Doesn’t God acknowledge the injustices done to us by others? Don’t we have rights to feel the way we do? Of course He does and He agrees you have the right to feel as you do when all these terrible things are done to you, but just because He acknowledges and understands your pain, doesn’t equate to reciprocation. When someone does something wrong to us, we are never to retaliate or do something wrong in turn, all for the sake of justice.

Let’s look at our ultimate example: Jesus. Jesus was mocked, scorned, lied about, betrayed, beaten, abused, and killed. Never did Jesus grab up a sign to picket for His social injustices. Never did He go around talking about all the evil things people were saying and doing to Him. Not once did Jesus retaliate. Not once did Jesus stand on His own personal rights. He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and He let them spit in His divine face! Think about that. Does that sound like the One Who would counsel you to divorce your spouse because he/she cheated on you? Would Jesus Who wants us to follow His example, give our spouse the cold shoulder because they don’t do everything we think is right in our marriage? Would He tell you to abandon the covenant of marriage so you can be “happy?” No, He wants us to love our neighbor (i.e. spouse) UNCONDITIONALLY! Why do we not apply to our spouses the lesson to turn our other cheek when someone slaps it?? Why do we only give our spouse only “so many chances” when Jesus says to forgive seven times seventy (i.e. an infinite amount)?

The Father loves you. He agrees you have personal rights. You have the right to feel betrayed, to want justice, etc. etc. But He’s asking you to surrender those rights and do it His way…just like Jesus did.

Can you do that today? Can you choose Jesus and His higher ways over your personal rights?

Marriage Instruction Manual Part II

So there’s only a few weeks between Part I and Part II. We were just recovering from the disconnect of grief we experienced after the death of my father-in-law, when we had to rush our 3-year-old daughter to the emergency room after a lot of weird and unexplainable symptoms were occurring, only to receive the diagnosis of leukemia! (I wasn’t kidding when I said 2018 was the worst year of our lives.)

This chapter in a marriage instruction manual would have to be entitled, “Chapter 13: Dealing With Simultaneous Grief Within Marriage.”


We don’t realize how much we depend on our spouses during the seasons of life. When life is good, we expect them to celebrate with us. When life is sad, we expect a shoulder to cry on. When life is hard, we expect support and encouragement. However, all of that falls under the assumption that they are not in the exact same place we are. We are assuming they have those things to give when we need them. Unfortunately, those assumptions are incorrect when you both find yourselves in the same pit of darkness…a place neither has walked, nor wants to…a place of more questions than answers. Our daughter’s diagnosis sent us both, separately, spinning into that place.

What do you do when you don’t have that spousal support? You can’t blame them, because you don’t have it to give either.

Here’s the instruction part for Parts I & II:

1. Take up your grievances with God, not your spouse. He’s the Dude in charge anyway!

2. Sit tight. Wait for things to turn around. The pressures surrounding you and your spouse will change. Wait for it.

3. Don’t do anything stupid! There’s a reason a lot of marriages don’t survive the stresses and traumas of life. They’re hard. When things escalate, refer back to instruction #2! ⤴️

I wish I could say that everything our marriage experienced in 2012 would prevent any future problems, but that’s not the case. When things got hot and heavy and the pain was unbearable, we, unfortunately, attacked each other. There were fights that I can’t even remember now what they were about, but we survived. What we did learn in 2012 to prepare us for all that we were going through was instructions #1-3.

In these times, it’s proven that our spouse (no matter how strong or wonderful) isn’t our lifeline, that position is only for Jesus! Our answers don’t come from our spouse either. He/She is just trying to figure it all out too…just like you.

Keep in mind, we simply cannot give what we don’t have to give. In the trauma of our daughter’s diagnosis, both my husband and I were severely hurting. We, honestly, didn’t have each other to lean on or look to. However, that’s ok. Those are the times we are reminded that God should always hold that place…in the bad times and the good.

Marriage Instruction Manual Part I

Marriage. Is. Hard.

Even the best of marriages go through difficult seasons.

So hard, in fact, they should come with instruction manuals to explain some of the more difficult roads.

This post will attempt to write a chapter that should be in this handy, dandy manual.

Let’s call it, “Chapter 12: Dealing with Spousal Grief.”

So, 2018 was the most difficult year of our lives. In that year, among so many other losses, my husband lost his beloved father. We knew this day was coming for years. His dad was 40 years older than my husband and in declining health. I just assumed we would face his death together, get through it together, and heal together. What I didn’t expect was the disconnect I would feel from my husband as he dealt with his grief.

When his dad passed, he immediately stepped up and in the role to take care of his mom, but it came with such urgency. He was pushing us to relocate so we could better accommodate her (mind you, we live around the corner as is). He was pushing himself to keep up her place and yard, plus our place and yard, plus all the extra things he thought she required. I want to specify that his mom wasn’t putting undue pressure on him; it was my husband putting undue pressure on himself. Something kicked in; something that became bigger than himself. Maybe it’s a God-given sense of protection a son has for his mother, but it was more than he could handle.

Meanwhile, I’m trying to be supportive and understanding. Keep in mind, I’m now looking back at all this with greater understanding of a whole picture. While I was in it, I didn’t have a clue what was going on! The weight of taking care of the kids now fell on mostly me. Before, my husband helped bathe kids, got them ready for bed, read them a bedtime story, etc. to relieve me of nighttime duty. During this season, he would be gone to his mom’s: taking care of her, seeing to her needs, finding out more stuff he had to take care of. He was exhausted with his new responsibilities, and I was exhausted covering for him during his absence. My best friend was gone, because there was no time to discuss things. We were in survival mode, and while I could understand it at first, I couldn’t understand why we got stuck there. Was this going to be our life now? How can we keep going like this? Where is my husband? We need him too!

After weeks on end on this crazy train, I call up my friend since junior high. Ironically, her husband had lost his dad unexpectedly just a couple of months before we lost my father-in-law. I’ll never forget the hope that conversation brought. After explaining all that I was feeling from all that we were going through, she tells me it has been the same exact thing for her. She told me her husband had been the same way, and was only just now emerging from this self-driven unattainable desire to take care of everything! Whew! Really? This isn’t just me? This is something guys go through? And it’s gonna get better? Ok!

So, after that discussion, I approach my husband with gentle honesty about the “obvious” disconnect I’ve been feeling in hopes we can work through it. Here’s the shocker. Are you ready for this? My husband looks at me with pained confusion on his face and says, “You have been my rock through all of this. I can’t do this without you. I didn’t know you felt this way. I’m sorry.”


Wow, so what I thought was so “obvious,” wasn’t. He had been so busy with the weight of the world on his shoulders, he didn’t even realize he was leaving me out. I wish I could say it all turned around after that night, but it didn’t. It was eye opening for us both, but it would take another few weeks for my husband to emerge as well and realize he’s not Superman and can’t take care of the whole world. He can only do what he can do. But it’s a learning scale, and after the loss of a parent, we’re left figuring out what gaps we can and can’t fill. It’s hard. I just wish there was a manual somewhere that could’ve prepared me for it.