The views expressed below are those of the writer and may not reflect the views of Rejoice Marriage Ministries or the Steinkamps.
Men, has the Lord placed a devotional on your heart that you would like to share with other standers?
Husbands likewise dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered. 1 Peter 2:7 (NKJV)
Marriage has become about fulfillment in our society rather than a long-term commitment of “we’ll get through this no matter what.” Instead, if one or the other “feels” little to no fulfillment they tend to look elsewhere. Coupled with having to reach new heights in the marriage relationship year after year, one or both is pushed to the test of not being content any longer.
Our children are becoming broken and fragmented because of the broken and fragmented relationships that they see their moms go through due to the leaving of a father or the contentiousness that our wives experience leaving their covenant marriage. Chronic, poorly managed conflict is the enemy’s masterpiece to destroy our marriages. I’ve heard the term “climbing the crazy ladder” is how there becomes no resolution to our marital debates.
But did He not make them one, Having a remnant of the spirit? And why one? He seeks Godly offspring. Therefore take heed to your spirit, And let none deal treacherously with the wife of his youth. Malachi 2:15 (NKJV)
A ladder at the top is very unstable. My tendency was to take very little time at all in getting to the top of our debates/ arguments. I was always more right than wrong about most things when it came to my marital challenges.
The most stable part of any ladder is at the bottom. Not often did I allow myself the room to be right or wrong and give grace to my wife.
Husbands love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be made holy without blemish. Ephesians 5:25-27 (NKJV)
In His Word, Jesus Christ says as men, we are to love our wives as He loved His church and Jesus was SO all about grace. We often climb a ladder very fast but we come down from the ladder very slowly. If you were like me, this pattern of “climbing the crazy ladder” was so unhealthy for my wife, mixed with her own brokenness, this ladder collapsed on our marriage.
For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been set free from sin. Romans 6:5-7
The God of all creation has shown me, through His grace, that my wife’s pattern of avoidance and withdrawal was usually followed by one of my moments of little if any grace. It became chronic bickering and challenges that created an environment of emotional insecurity rather than emotional safety. Creating a place of conflict gentleness and open communication has come only after my own personal Damascus Road experience.
Immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he received his sight at once; and he arose and was baptized. So when he had received food, he was strengthened. Then Saul spent some days with the disciples at Damascus. Immediately he preached the Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God. Acts 9:18-20 (NKJV)
Jesus has shown me through His teachings in His Word that creating this environment of conflict gentleness, through grace, fosters safety and emotional maturity for emotional intimacy. And that without grace there is neither maturity nor intimacy. I finally recognized, while climbing to this height of acceptance of my part in our marriage death, it has been through Christ, that I longed for spiritual maturity and with the beginning of the peeling away of the old man. Acknowledging I had to put away the “crazy ladder,” never to climb again.
Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. Galatians 5:1 (NKJV)
Praying that you know level ground in your life and heart through Him who loves us.
Jim in North Carolina