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Friday, May 17, 2013

How My Marriage Has Changed Me

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How My Marriage Has Changed Me - Lisa U Maki 

If you were to ask my family and very close friends to describe me, they will say that I am orderly and organized, that I take my job very seriously, that I am self-sufficient, and that I am a busy person. These character traits have been with me for a very long time and have become my trademark.
Although these characteristics are good and noble, they have also led to a lot of stress in my life, not to mention certain attitudes and behaviors that exhibit pride, control, and impatience. The very strengths that I had also became my worst weaknesses. Honestly, I didn't realize this until God started exposing it in my own marriage.
You see, God is a gentle God and He is a God of process. He exposes our weaknesses to us based on our level of maturity in Him, the season that He has placed us in, and what He is trying to do at that specific time. In my case, those strengths may have been good for the past seasons prior to my marriage. They were necessary to accomplish what God has called me to do for that specific time.
Let me make this clearer. God kept me very busy for Him in ministry all those years prior to my marriage. He did this to keep me focused on Him and so as not to be easily distracted by men, or dating, or getting married. As a matter of fact, my being very busy in ministry protected me from men. I remember even having a very strict busy schedule when my man finally came to the Philippines to claim for me. I was doing Bible studies and preaching engagements while he was trying to spend time with me and get to know me. Looking back, I can see how rigid I have become, but as I've said, it was necessary for that season.
God surely knew what He was doing when He chose my man for me. He knew this was the only way He can break these acquired habits, more so because I didn't really see them as bad habits. A few days after I was married, I was shocked to see my husband's pile of unfolded clothes in the bedroom. This was just the beginning of my training to break free from rigidity, and as my friend reminded me: "not to sweat those small stuff."
I remember another incident that God used to open my eyes. I drove home from the grocery one day and before I parked the car I called my husband's phone to let him know that I was already home and also because I was expecting him to help me. I didn't know that he had a guest and that he was ministering to this man. I kept calling him because he was not answering the phone. When his guest left, he confronted me about my phone call. I got very defensive and hurt with his reaction and it became a full-blown argument that left me very mad and grieved. Then God started showing me what my problem was.
I was a middle-class professional in the Philippines. I had maids and a driver. I also had a business with workers under me. And even when I was already in full-time ministry, I've always had people under me. I was also a single mom to two boys and was solely responsible for them. So what do these have to do with my phone call to my husband? A lot!
First of all, I used to have a maid and a driver bringing all my grocery bags from my car to the house. Next, I got used to giving orders to people, telling them what to do and where to put stuff. Thus, it was second nature to me to expect my husband to help me and for him to come out when I needed him -- at that very moment. After God showed this to me, He said, "Your husband is not your driver; he is not your maid; and he is not your child. You don't tell him what to do. You don't control him." That was a painful realization that definitely changed me.
God, through my marriage, also taught me to be more flexible. It's not that I was not a flexible person. It's just that with the so many responsibilities I had in the past, I needed a rigid schedule. My past schedule (prior to my marriage) looked something like this:
5am - 7am - Quiet Time, Prepare kids for school
7am - 7:30am - Running
7:30am - 8am - Breakfast
8am - 9am - Prepare for work/ministry
9am - Leave the house for work/ministry
10am onwards - Meetings, Work, ministry
(This can extend till 8 or even 9pm)
Other than all these, I had my two sons, family members, and friends I had to spend time with, some disciples I had to minister to, a ministry I was in-charge of, fund raisings, networking, etc. etc. etc. If I didn't have a rigid schedule, I would not have done what God assigned me to do.
However, I know that you will agree with me if I say that it is hard to break certain habits. I can easily get into work mode and get all serious about what I need to accomplish. I can get all uptight with schedules. God had all these in mind which was why He gave me a husband who can just go about his day without any schedule at all. I remember waking up one day with my whole schedule planned out. Then my husband told me that we were leaving in 30 minutes. I needed to take a shower, read my Bible, drink my coffee, fix the bed, check my emails, etc....how can I do all these in 30 minutes? Believe me, this happened not only once and it continues to happen until now. While it used to stress me out, I am so adjusted now. I can get ready so quick and I have figured out ways I can look fresh without taking a shower. I am not joking here. I couldn't even go anywhere before without taking a shower first and blow drying my hair. I used to have my wardrobe planned out for the whole week. It's totally different now. My marriage has changed me!
My marriage has taught me to go with the flow, to rest and relax, to lay my life down for someone, and to be selfless. It has stretched my patience, increased my need for God's grace, and has made me surrender to God more than ever.
Marriage is the best training ground for love. It is the most perfect healing ground. It is the best place to apply God's Word.
How about you? How has your marriage changed you? How does it continue to change you? Think about how God is using your marriage to produce in you what He wants from you. If you don't see it clearly, ask God to show you, and start thanking Him for this beautiful gift.
Lisa Maki is the founder of God'z Gurlz, a Bible-based online magazine for women whose mission is to is to provide a place where women can learn to manage their emotions, experience healing, receive love and acceptance, be free to be who God made them to be, and be the best they can be in their homes, schools, professions, relationships, and calling, through sharing of insights and experiences, counseling, prayer, and devotionals, thereby learning from and supporting each other. For more of Lisa's articles, visit http://godzgurlz.com/ Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Lisa_U_Maki Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/6918362

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