Relationship problems

For a season, early on in our marriage, my Hot& Hunky husband and I lived in mutual contempt. I didn’t like him and he didn’t care for me too much either. We were on the road to divorce.

Out of frustration, and also in an effort to solicit sympathy, I confessed our mess to a friend, who invited me to her church to hear a speaker talk about marriage.

I thought, What the heck, I’ve got nothing to lose.

The speaker told her story about not feeling any love toward her husband.
Romance, pleasant communication, demonstrations of love, affections of all types, were distant memories.

That sounded very familiar…

Desperate for an answer.

Out of desperation to save her marriage, she locked herself in her prayer closet and asked God to flood her heart with love for her hubby. “And you know what?” she drawled. “God did just that. My heart filled to overflowing with a love and desire for my husband.”

She went on to tell how even in the 1000 years of marriage since that day, she never again lost that feeling for him.

Ugh, I thought, Good for you.You aren’t married to my guy. That would never work at my house. And whatever a prayer closet* is, I don’t have one.

Funny thing about miracles. They cling to your heart.

When you hear about a miracle of any kind it creates a longing for one of your own. Faith grows and hope rises. You can believe that if God did “it” once, He could do it again, and do it for you! 

The idea of a marriage miracle wouldn’t leave me, so I decided to ask God to intervene for us. “God,” I said, “You know the situation with us. If you can, fill my heart with love for my husband.”

Immediately, I had a thought run across the backyard of my brain. “Look at the dog.”

“God,” I prayed,  “I’m confused. I have a lot of issues with his stupid dog. It nips at me and chews up my clothes and piddles on my carpet, but don’t you think we should work on this marriage issue first?”

“Look at the dog,” continued to reverberate in my head.

Am I supposed to learn to adore the dog in order to make peace with my husband, I wondered?

Marriage lessons from the dog. 

Without further instruction or explanation, I obediently observed the dog.

When my husband left for work, that dog would pace from window to window, pining for his guy.

It couldn’t get to the door fast enough to welcome my man back home after his long day at work.

When my husband watched television, that dog was right there, waiting for a touch or a kind word, expecting nothing, but ever available.

Even when my husband scolded the dog, it never held a grudge or withheld affection from my man.

Competing with the dog. 

Not to be outdone by the dog, I decided to see if I could get my husband to like me as much as he liked his mutt.

I started kissing him goodbye every morning. I told him to have a good day and thanked him for working so hard. When I heard his car in the driveway, I locked the dog in the bathroom so I could be the first one at the door to welcome him home. I let go of past offenses and made myself available for affection.

I began to do things the dog couldn’t do – fixing his coffee, making his favorite meals, starching his shirts they way he liked, looking right at him when he talked. 

At first he thought I was up to something! He checked the bank account to see if I was overdrawn, inspected my car to see if I’d had an accident, monitored my whereabouts thinking I might be having an affair. When he found no evidence of ulterior motives, he began to to respond positively.

Our relationship flourished. 

Instead of waiting for him to shape up, wake up, move on, or die, I took initiative to do what I could to make a difference. Praying. Listening. Taking action to get the marriage I wanted. 

How about you? What have you done lately to protect or contend for your mate or your man? Leave me a comment. I read every single one. 

Verse of the day:  Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Col. 3:12-14

Prayer: God, prepare my heart to be the best version of you I can be in every relationship, but especially in my marriage. Lead me, guide me, speak to me about your good plans for my life. In Jesus Name amen. 

* A prayer closet is a quiet place to pray.  

13 Comments

  1. Brenda on May 31, 2021 at 2:14 am

    How did you know that I needed to hear that from you at this time in my life! We will be married 25 yrs. in June but I have wanted to leave my husband many times lately but God keeps telling me to stay. I was surprised to hear you say that about you & Dave because I thought you had the great marriage always. Thanks for sharing your story. It makes want be kinder to my husband. He is a very good man!

    • Robyn Dykstra on May 31, 2021 at 12:49 pm

      Brenda, What you focus on grows. When I dwell on flaws and irritations they get bigger and bigger. When I appreciate his strengths and how he blesses me AND OUR FAMILY, my heart catches up with my thoughts. 🙂
      Bless you!

  2. Joan Brown on May 31, 2021 at 11:23 am

    We’ve been married 46 years on June 7th! We’ve got a wonderful relationship! We’ve added to it the picture frame notes that came with a dry eraser…from our church “tribe” meeting…..after you spoke to us at our last meeting at IRBC! I have it by the coffee pot…. and just write a little note of thankfulness about our lives every morning, and usually he will add something to it!

    • Robyn Dykstra on May 31, 2021 at 12:45 pm

      That’s so very cool! Thanks so much for telling me. Look forward to being with you again.

  3. Nikki Chase on June 3, 2021 at 1:12 pm

    Robyn!

    We met at a conference many years ago up at Silver Birch Ranch in northern Wisconsin.
    You remember me I hope—it’s Nikki?!?!?
    Only kidding? Totally don’t expect that you’d remember me?

    Anyway, just writing to give you my appreciation for the posts you faithfully send out to us.
    Your writing style and content seems so……?
    Inspired!
    You feel like a very wise and funny penpal ?
    Keep up the good listening & following of our Father, Savior, & Spirit ?

    Lots of Love & Encouragement to you,

    Nikki

    • Robyn Dykstra on June 3, 2021 at 3:05 pm

      Hey Nikki,
      So thankful for your post. Appreciate you.
      Actually on our way to Waupaca,WI for a women’s retreat this weekend. Hope WE meet again – maybe at SBR?

      • Shumirai Tsitsi Mazombe on June 10, 2021 at 10:50 pm

        Thank you Robyn for your consistent posting.

        This Zimbabwean lady loves your writings.

        Through your post you have reminded me to pray to God about the difficult situations and relationships I have in life..

        I shall do just that tonight.

        Blessings and love ?

        • Robyn Dykstra on June 11, 2021 at 1:55 am

          I’m so glad Shumirai. Thanks for posting and may the LORD answer all your prayers favorably.

    • Nikki Chase on June 3, 2021 at 4:52 pm

      (You don’t have to respond to this)

      Just wanted to make you aware that all of those question marks that my previous comment had were originally emojis with the proper facial expressions to tag along with each statement!

      Guess they didn’t work with the formatting change…or something like that (imagine an embarrassed little yellow face here and a broadly smiling one right beside it 😉

      Hopes & Prayers (and I don’t say this flippantly) for a blessed time in Waupaca (blue heart-shaped emoji)

  4. Tina on June 4, 2021 at 1:00 am

    Just like Brenda, I read this post just when I needed to hear this message! I find myself frustrated with my husband (of nearly 20 years) now and then and I find myself pulling away and putting distance between us. You have reminded me that regardless of that frustration, God calls me to love and honor my husband always. One thing I have recently done is start bike riding with my husband because it is something that he enjoys (even though I would rather go for a nice, long run). It’s something he loves to do and now we share that activity together. All of these years I resisted it because I didn’t really enjoy it, but now I am starting to look forward to our rides and I definitely enjoy the time with him. I know it sounds like a small thing, but it has brought us closer. You have reminded me that the small things at home (a kiss goodbye, waiting at the door when he gets home, etc.) make a big difference in both of our hearts and make our marriage stronger.

    • Robyn Dykstra on June 4, 2021 at 4:50 pm

      WOW, Tina, this is huge. Thanks for posting. What a big difference a small shift can make. WAY TO GO!

  5. Carol on June 6, 2021 at 6:35 pm

    Love this story about God using a dog to teach you! It is so like Him to use the simple things.

    • Robyn Dykstra on June 6, 2021 at 6:39 pm

      It’s a good one!

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