A few weeks ago, my husband and I had dinner with some old friends who happened to be in town.
Over chips, salsa, and mexican food, to our surprise, they began sharing about the marriage struggles they had experienced over the past year.
The wife began to share about the changes she had made in order to preserve her marriage. She confessed that she was frequently angry and lashed out at her husband and kids. Also, she had put on about 40 pounds and her husband no longer found her attractive.
They were both pretty miserable in the relationship. The husband found himself in circumstances where he was tempted towards having an affair. He strayed emotionally, but had not yet strayed physically. He told his wife that unless they could learn to be happy together that he was going to leave.
Jarred into dealing with reality, the wife was broken before the Lord. The Lord began teaching her ways to deal with her anger. He also began showing her sacrificial ways to show love and care for her husband. She lost the 40 pounds.
It was at this point that they were sharing with us. She had obviously humbled herself completely in order to preserve their marriage. The husband patted her hand and proudly explained how well she had done in making these changes.
Naively, I asked the husband what the Lord had taught him through all of this. He basically said he hadn’t changed much, but he certainly appreciated the changes in his wife.
While he excused himself to the restroom, she described through tears how she learned to die to herself when dealing with the criticism and other actions of her husband that still hurt her and previously caused her to respond in anger. She described the insecurity of always wondering if she was good enough to please him. This had been an underlying issue in their marriage all along.
This was the stage they were at right now, she chose to die to her own needs and desires in order to save the marriage. I choked down another chip and silently prayed that the Lord would use the changes she had made to produce a loving and generous response in her husband.
And I wonder, which of the two let themselves go?