i love the wilderness. i dig hanging out with other men. and i’m all over talking with guys about the really important things in life.
i’ve done this thing for the past ten years and every year, some of my favorite conversations are about their marriages. some of the conversations are difficult. some are encouraging. some are full of brutal honesty. some are expressions of denial.
some are seeking help and willing to listen to advice and others have absolutely no clue their marriages are about to be shipwrecked. either way, talking with these guys about their marriages is a challenge. and an honor.
this week, we had a guy stand up in front of the whole group and air his dirty laundry. he told of his twenty-year struggle of sabotaging his marriage. he didn’t try to do it on purpose. he was simply unaware of the damage he was inflicting on his wife, by his unwillingness to listen to her…the absence of compassion…and the inability to put his wife’s needs above his interest in the lives of others.
he’s a pastor. his calling is to preach the word and shepherd those who needed his attention and care. somewhere along the line, he got duped into believing that being attentive to his wife was not as important as being attentive to others.
and he lost her. to another man.
but the story didn’t end there.
both of them decided that honoring their marriage was the equivalent of honoring god. so they didn’t quit. on each other. on marriage. on god.
they each repented of their sins. they each assumed responsibility for where they failed. they forgave each other for the mistakes that were made and they determined to make changes. she broke off the adulterous relationship. he started owning up to the kind of man he had become.
and even bigger, they stopped trying to hide their marriage failures. they stopped turning against each other. they started turning to their friends for help. they drafted others into their pain and submitted themselves to the wisdom of god, revealed in the word. they started living by faith again…and began believing that even though they were each unfaithful, god would always be faithful.
they hit the bottom in 2006. they have been on the journey back since then. they have taken six years of baby steps…both individually and as a couple. its far from perfect. he admitted that some days, he’s the same old insensitive, self-centered slug he was throughout their marriage. but he’s making progress.
not because he’s such a great guy, but because he finally decided to personally trust in god to change his heart…instead of just telling others that god would do it for them.
his story inspired me. how about you?