|photo courtesy of Katelyn Swanson|
I don’t know if I single handedly saved our marriage, because it takes two to do that. I do however know that I made a conscious decision one day to try to improve all things in our marriage.
Sherry was absolutely correct that we had let things slip in all aspects of our relationship and we were essentially roommates living our own lives. I was not happy with the situation or finding any satisfaction in my life. Sherry and I have always had a good relationship. However, I hate to admit that I never really was totally committed to it. I had never thought seriously about what Sherry needed from a husband or what she needed on all levels of her life (though as you know she isn't bashful about telling you). I know that was a big part of the problem because I had never totally invested in her and our relationship.
At this very same time I was in some accountability groups with other men in our church and I began to really understand the biblical view of a family where it is the husband’s responsibility to set the tone for the entire family especially his wife. The Bible is very clear on this point in Ephesians 6:25-28 and I began to see that if I don’t show my wife that she is loved more than any other thing in my life, how is she to respond to anything else?
So I made a decision to try to show Sherry that she is the most important thing in my life. It took a big examination of my own life to understand where I was falling short. I didn’t like what I saw, a self-centered, half-committed moron that was concerned more about trivial things than my marriage.
I deliberately did not tell Sherry about what I was doing because I didn’t want to make a big deal about it because, first, if I wasn't able to pull it off nobody would know and, second, I wanted to approach this with as much selflessness as I could and see if she noticed. I knew I had a lot of mending to do so I was prepared to be in this for the long haul.
The first thing I did was try to do as much for her as I possibly could. If you know her at all, you know that Sherry has never been a fan of housework while I don’t mind doing household chores. So I knew if I helped there it would help out on a lot of fronts. Also, having a diet coke ready for her when she got out of bed was a cheap but effective way to get her attention. Sherry was incredibly skeptical at first, wanting to know what my angle was but my sole purpose was to give her some relief so she would be able to focus more on her artwork ~ I wanted her to have the opportunity to spend her days doing what she loves.
The other thing I concentrated on was finding out what else was important to Sherry. I never really understood the importance of knowing until I really concentrated on it. And I got a wonderful benefit, I found out who my wife is, that I was in love with who she is and that she is more important than anything in the world; I was falling deeper in love with her the more I understood her. My love continues to grow each day; the more I am around her the more it grows.
To say the least, Sherry saw a profound change in my life and she began to embrace it and have confidence that this was permanent. This meant wonderful things to our marriage because as the love grew, the intimacy began to grow which just reinforces everything else and makes the love grow more. (Not to mention it smoothes over many potential potholes.)
Looking back on it, this is one of the prouder moments in my life; that I was actually able to change its outcome. And I found out that I was married to the most beautiful, creative, intelligent, desirable women in the world for me. I just didn’t have part in saving my marriage, I made my life.
Next time - the lessons we learned from this