5 Things I Learned At Our Marriage Retreat and How It Can Change Your Heart
Hi My Friends!
This last weekend was a whirlwind to say the least and I took a big social media break to give it my all! Christopher (my husband) and I hosted and put on a marriage retreat for the couples in our community group (similar to a bible study) at our church, Story City in Burbank CA. This retreat was LIFE CHANGING to say the very least….
Exactly a year ago Chris and I called Bob and Audrey Meisner; biblical counselors who helped us get through the HARDEST thing by far in our 4 years of marriage. With tears rolling down our face we weren’t sure how we would push through the biggest interception our marriage had experienced so far. There was betrayal, defeat, trust broken, and so much healing ahead of us but we had 3 things going for us that would be the answer to it all:
1) The belief that God could redeem our marriage and that we had to surrender it to him.
2) A repentant heart! Without a repentant heart there’s no way you can heal and unite as one.
3) A forgiving heart! Just as important as a repentant heart is a forgiving heart. One that understands the power of sin and acknowledges their own brokenness and need for God…in order to give that same love back to their spouse.
5 BIGGEST LESSONS THAT CAN CHANGE YOUR HEART TOWARDS YOUR SPOUSE
The number one thing that is the foundation of any kind fruitful and Godly marriage is this:
God Is Your Source, Not Your Spouse
1) YOUR SPOUSE ISN’T YOUR SOUCE FOR ANYTHING:
Joy, comfort, affection, affirmation, compliments, compassion, love, self esteem, confidence and soooo much more. No human (including and most importantly your spouse) will never be able to do all of these things at once or perfectly. It’s impossible. Ladies, have you ever felt disappointment in your marriage? Maybe your husband hurt your feelings a few times, or embarrassed in front of someone else…and what did it do to you? It crushed you didn’t it! I know exactly how this feels because trust me, the pedestal my husband fell from was pretty high because that’s how much I made him my SOURCE.
Oneness is NOT sameness. This realization is been huge for my heart as I began to navigate disappointment with Chris. I felt like we didn’t have it all because we are so different. Sometimes I would dwell in how much we weren’t alike that I started to create distance and starting feeling alone. Your spouse is not you and that’s a beautiful thing! We are made differently and those differences create a beautiful picture sharpening and growth.
2) EMOTIONAL WEAPONS CREATE CONFLICT:
Every person in marriage uses WEAPONS to hurt each other! Ok, not physical weapons (let’s hope that’s not the case.) I’m talking about emotional weapons. For example, I use these three weapons to hurt Chris in our fights:
Avoiding, Moodiness, Name-Calling, Nagging, Disrespect, Distance/Pushback, Withholding, Crying, Hardness of Heart, Self Pity, Criticism, Bringing Up The Past and sooo many more.
I don’t share this to freak you out! We all use weapons to hurt our spouse during conflict and we will do anything to either feel heard or shut the conversation down. An obvious one is ANGER but there’s a lot of passive weapons that are just as powerful and hurtful to the other person such as: isolation, neglecting, and withholding. You might see these as tame and non hurtful responses but trust me they can be extremely hurtful. You are not the more mature partner because you use passive aggression.
3) PUT DOWN YOUR WEAPONS AND CALL ON JESUS:
When you’re in a spat, it can often seem impossible to resolve it or move forward without a bucket of hurt. I know when I’m in a fight or argument with Chris, I feel like the world is caving in. I love him so much that it breaks my heart into pieces and in those moments I call on Jesus.
When you start the “fighting cycle” (someone starts throwing emotional weapons) this is when you make your phone call to Jesus. Ask the Holy Spirit to intervene and this starts with YOU! It takes two seconds to start conflict and it takes two seconds to end YOUR part in it. You can’t control what response your spouse chooses to have but you can control your own!
End the fighting cycle by responding in LOVE. That’s the supernatural gift from God. He is enough to change your heart, even in two seconds. A response motivated in love with only soften your spouses heart. Remember, you can’t control the way they respond. They may want to continue fueling the fire but YOUR not helping light it up! You are putting out the fire and giving your spouse the gift of grace.
4) COMMUNICATION GOALS:
You want 100 Truth with your partner while having 100 % love in your delivery. That’s the key to a Godly and spirit led response. Even if you’re communicating your feelings but your partner isn’t experiencing love it isn’t going to land with love for your spouse and therefore they won’t hear you and understand. Ultimately LOVE is our end goal. Love can be truthful, hard to hear, and it can be full of mercy and not judgment for the other person. The purpose of honesty is to connect and you can’t connect without 100% love.
Collassians 3:12 “Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves you, you must clothe yourselves in tender hearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.”
Anytime you start blaming your Spouse- STOP-talk to Jesus-HE IS YOUR SOURCE!
5) HARMONY IS YOUR END GOAL:
In order to have harmony with your spouse it takes a few steps:
1) You must take personal responsibility for yourself and your part of the conflict or situation. It’s easy to point your finger at the other person but a Holy Spirit response will have you taking ownership of your actions.
2) When you call on Jesus and pray, you are literally asking him to give you supernatural love you don’t currently have in your heart. When you receive this love (this undeserving love of God) your natural response should be mercy towards your partner because you have experienced Mercy from God Almighty.
3) Confess your limitation to the Lord and ask him to help you send away your offense towards your spouse. Harboring an offense can lead to a hard heart and resentfulness down the road. You may not be able to count on a “perfect” apology from your spouse but you can still be at peace with the Lord. YOUR SPOUSE IS NOT YOUR SOURCE. Their opinion should not destroy you or your day because you have enough love in your heart from Jesus. How do you do that? By spending time with him!
4) Correcting the course of your actions is huge in stopping a habitual habit or problem in your marriage! Figuring out a plan of action that is opposite of what hurt your spouse really helps your spouse feel heard and loved. Apologizing to your partner and really affirming their pain and feelings of hurt will help your spouse know that you aren’t giving up and that you take ownership in the conflict.
These are just a few key things I learned from my marriage retreat this past weekend. I was a witness to so many hearts being radically changed with this teaching! I’m super passionate about sharing the Meisner’s with the world because they have helped CHANGE my marriage over the past year. Honestly, it was such a blessing to have them with us in Burbank as they taught their program to my our best friends here in CA. The hearts and relationships that started to talk, forgive, or heal blew my mind and made me so grateful to the Lord for his sovereignty and goodness in my life.