Reclamation…reclaiming your marriage

178862897Reclamation:the act of returning something to a former, better state

I also love this definition from vocabulary.com:

Reclamation is the noun form of the verb to reclaim. Most people involved in reclamation what to reclaim something out of a sense of moral or environmental duty. Since re means again, it makes sense that a reclamation involves restoring something to its former glory, especially something that has gone to the dogs. Anything that’s fallen on hard times is a good candidate for reclamation.”

If you’re on the internet at all lately, you’ve seen just a ton of “propaganda” promoting the idea that we, as women, hold all the cards in our relationship and he, as our man, better get it straight or we’re out.  There’s so much entitlement in statements like these, don’t you think? A few examples of these things would be

“If he doesn’t fight for you/follow you when you leave, he’s not worth it anyway”

“If he doesn’t get jealous when you ______, then you deserve better”

“If you’re the only one trying, then it’s not worth it” (sometimes you’ll be the only one trying, but it’s totally worth it!)

It’s these type of statements, added in with the TV shows and movies these days that depict men as idiots and below us as women, that push this thought process along.  Let me say this first, marriage is H.A.R.D., the hardest thing you will probably ever do in your life.  At times it will break you down and make you think you want out.  Be honest, I’m sure at some point or another we’ve all wanted off of this crazy train wreck.  But, if you stayed with it, if you didn’t give up, and you worked on your marriage together and reclaimed it, then you know what can happen when you’re both broken and laid out and you hold on to that promise that you once made to each other.

I am definitely not the guru for all relationship issues, but my husband and I have been through some serious problems together, both of us wanting to leave at one time or another.  We’re both type A personalities and firstborns (insert explosion here), so you can only imagine the hard headed “discussions” that have gone on between us.  But, no matter what we’ve gone through, no matter what’s been said, no matter how badly feelings have been hurt (and they have been hurt), we’ve always come back together afterwards and were stronger than before.  It didn’t always happen right away, and not without a lot of humility, but we always ended up better.

Here are the ways I think we, as women, are our worst enemies in our marriages:

1.  We compare

We look at Facebook and see all of our friends with the “perfect” marriages and we compare.  We go to church and see everyone put on their best clothes and their happy faces and we compare.  We start to count up all the ways that “her” husband does this, or “her” life is so much better because of that…and all of that comparison takes our eyes off of being thankful for what we have.  The best way I’ve ever heard this put was that “we are comparing everyone else’s highlights reel to our behind the scenes”, and that isn’t a fair outlook.  Comparison is the thief of our joy.  It took me years to figure this out, don’t look at what others have, look at what God’s given you.

 

2.  We focus on Him, not on us

I’ll say it – it’s easier to focus on and point out issues with someone else than it is to fix ourselves.  I’ve always said that if I could be my husband’s Holy Spirit, I would do a great job!  We can spend so much time pointing fingers and angry at him for what he’s doing wrong, that we don’t even stop to think of how we could adjust our own attitude in the situation.  When we can focus on what we need to do first, and pray for him, the situation can be resolved before it gets too big.

 

3.  We expect him to read our mind

Come on ladies, I know I’m not alone here.  We want him to take out the trash without being asked.  We want him to know we need a date night without having to say anything.  We want him to go grocery shopping with us because he thinks it would be fun.  Never. Going. To. Happen.  We can pretty tough to live with sometimes, especially when men don’t know what we even need!  Even though it would be great if he came up and helped with the dishes “just because”, be willing to ask for the help/time that you need with him.

 

4.  We care too much about what other people think

Let me explain a little here about why I would say that – my husband is a big guy who can be a bit rough sometimes if you don’t understand him.  He wasn’t raised to be much of a “people person” so that comes a lot harder to him than some other people.  Between his size, his shaved head and his tattoos, he is misunderstood a lot.  Over the years I’ve tried to “groom him” to fit the mold of what I wanted as a husband, what looked good to everyone else, but those years ruined his trust in me and only told him that who he was could never be enough for me.  Since then, I’ve come to realize that he even though he looks scary to some people, people who know him know that he’s a teddy bear (he really likes it when I say that, it’s his favorite).  I’ve had to learn that if people are going to judge him, and us, based upon appearances, then they are missing out.  Don’t put too much thought into how other people see your husband, not even your friends, just encourage him to be better every day and pray for him to become who he is supposed to be.

Ladies, DO NOT give up on your marriages!  The world (and sometimes your own friends) would tell you that it’s not worth it, that HE isn’t worth it, that you are right and it’s all his fault…but that is NOT the truth.  When you made that promise before God and everyone, you said “for better or worse”.  These days it seems like everyone loves the better, but forgot all about working through “the worse”.  Remember that we’re not here on this earth to have a good, easy life…we’re here to learn to be holy and better people.  That growth doesn’t come from an easy relationship and our whole world revolving around us, it comes from the hard work, humility and brokenness that it takes to make a marriage work, continually asking God to help us along the way.

 

Do you have any “tips” that you would give to other women going through a hard time in their marriage?  Have you chosen not to give up on your marriage and seen the benefits of that choice?  I’d love to hear about it!  Share in the comments below!

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