by: Cris Corzine-McCloskey
Here are some things I used to believe about myself. I thought I was patient, open-minded, loving, hard to offend, and selfless. Here is what I now know about myself, I can lose it with the best of them, and under extreme duress, an f-bomb can come out of my mouth. I can be stubborn, fearful, a grudge holder, and selfish. How did I discover these ugly truths about myself? I got married, and there is nothing like marriage to flush our carnality to the surface.
While my confessions, especially about the f-bombs, may shock you, let ye who is without sin cast the first stone. I am the local Christian marriage counselor, so I know for a fact even the most spiritual of us can lose it with our spouses. Why is that?
We enter marriage with expectations of our spouses, ourselves, marriage, sex, etc. When reality hits, it’s like Pandora’s Box has been opened, and ugly things about ourselves and our mates come flying out. This leads us to believe we have married the wrong person. After all, aren’t they bringing out the worst in us?
Newsflash: our spouses can’t bring anything out of us that isn’t already in us. And if we decide to own our own stuff and quit blaming our partner, this is a way to unpack some of our baggage. For those of us in ministry, this is invaluable. We don’t want our flaws damaging those we have been called to serve. Marriage is the thing God often uses to develop our character to carry His anointing better. I need that. So do you. Even when it’s challenging and humbling.
Bill Johnson, pastor of Bethel Church, points out, “many mistake successful ministry as a sign of God’s approval of their private life. But character is a supreme issue with God. His righteousness and character are not built into us by our own efforts. It is developed when we quit striving and learn to abandon ourselves completely to His will.”
I translate that to mean, just because I’m successful in my efforts as a Christian therapist, it doesn’t mean God’s proud of my selfishness or f-bombs. They aren’t okay. But He loves me and desires I give up on myself. I need to bend my knee to Him and quit asking Him to change my spouse. I should ask Him, instead, to change me. To build His character into me. And let His grace empower me in my weaknesses.
God is always working to make us more like Jesus. Frankly, before I was married, I thought I was getting close. But since I can’t picture Jesus losing it and throwing an f-bomb, I have been forced to admit I have a long way to go.
How about you? Is the pressure-cooker we call matrimony causing all sorts of ugly to come boiling to your surface? Divorce is not the answer, because at least half the problem is within you. Bend your knee to God and ask for help staying in, instead of looking for reasons to get out. And when all else fails, call me, your friendly neighborhood, still growing in this thing, Christian marriage counselor. After all, with a track record like mine, you know I won’t judge you!