Daily Distinctives, April 23, 2018 – Confessions of a Christian Husband in a Dysfunctional family

Today I come to my devotional with a heavy heart. My marriage is really suffering lately and my wife is at her wit’s end with me. Things have been bad in the past, but not to this point. And so before my brothers and sisters in Christ, I openly confess that I have not been even remotely close to the best husband I can be to my wife. There is no infidelity or physical abusiveness or anything like that, but there has been a whole lot going on in our lives and we have kind of fallen away from each other emotionally. Apparently more on my part than on my brides. I tend to get tunnel vision and oblivious to the signs when my wife feels alone in our marriage, perhaps this is likely because of the fact that I pretty much have a one-track mind, and like to get into a groove and stay there. My old pastor used to say, it is good to get into a groove, until it becomes a rut, and if you stay in a rut for too long it becomes a grave. There is wisdom in this. There have been some significant life changes that have occurred in our family of late, my wife has taken on a job in teaching. With this, a whole lot of time was sucked away from her to do the things that she already had struggles with when she was a stay at home mom. Here I am, Mr. Oblivious, not being sensitive to these things. But some of you know how it is…that crazy cycle. Once you get on it, it is hard to get off of it. It starts with warning signs, little subtle hints that are trying to say, “Hey, the water is getting deep.” I am thinking, yeah, I know right? I am up to my ears in work too. Then the warning signs change to, “You aren’t helping me, I am standing on my tippy-toes here!” And I am thinking, “Gosh, does she ever quit with the nagging. I get it, I need to work harder and make more money. Will you cut me some slack.” The warnings grow more severe, “Hey Jerk, I didn’t sign up to be a single mom.” Still oblivious, “Why you gotta resort to name calling, well here is one for you…” The crazy cycle. Then you are left with two wounded people, but there are no cries for help anymore, just, “Gurgle…gurgle…gurgle…” As my bride slowly sinks beneath the surface. It reminds me of Jim Gaffigan who said,

“You know what it’s like having a fourth kid? Imagine you’re drowning, then someone hands you a baby.”

That is kind of what I think my wife feels like right now. But you know sometimes a wake-up call can hit you so squarely between the eyes that it rocks your world and you have to change or permanent damage will be inevitable.

The irony of it all is that this time it is not because I have spread myself too thin with church obligations. Ha! Will wonders ever cease? Work has always been there and I have learned to turn it off in the evenings. But instead of helping my wife, I have kind of been avoiding her because it seemed like we were being mean to each other, and by golly, I am a man, how dare you talk to me like that. Right? Wrong. I have pretty much been a big fat jerk, playing the old tit-for-tat games that ten years of stupidity in my marriage have trained me to be. That and I have been downright lazy in my marriage. Sure, we have done the counseling thing and honestly, at first, I was opposed to it. I discovered my opposition was for a good reason too. But after the initial shock, I opened myself up to it and actually learned quite a lot, even implementing some of the things that I have learned and adjusted some behaviors and patterns in my own life. Too little too late? I don’t think the LORD is finished with me yet. Nor is He finished with my wife or our marriage. So, I go back to the drawing board and learn to sacrifice more and more. I get to lay aside my absurd expectations and finally recognize that my wife, though one with me, is not me and can’t handle the pressures that I have grown accustomed to.

Now some may say, hey jerk face, what are you doing writing, you should be in there with your wife. Not if I want to live to see tomorrow I don’t. But I recognize and agree, that instead of sitting here writing in my devotional, I should be in bed with my wife. Can’t, I am in the dog-house for real right now and frankly, I don’t deserve to share the same bed with her right now. Besides that she has made it clear that she needs her space. Still, if I have learned anything in my walk as a believer in Christ is that when the going gets tough, the tough go to their knees in prayer. I have been spending a lot of time in prayer alone with the LORD, and I have also reached out to some of my brothers in Christ to pray with me. My kids are all in bed, and my wife is chatting now with one of her friends and seeking godly counsel for herself and so now I am going to find my solace in the WORD. When I get in the WORD, the LORD has a way of revealing things to me that I need to hear, and I have no doubt that today’s study will do just that. So, if you are joining me in my devotional, please lift my wife and I up in prayer, we could really use it. I know that God will be glorified through all of this, that we will both grow and our marriage will be stronger than ever before. But I know that I am going to have to work really hard with her to make that happen and I am going to have really lean in heavily to the LORD. No better time than the present…well just as soon as I finish checking on her and seeing if she needs anything.

Okay…I’m back. And I asked her permission to share these things with the world. But let’s shift gears from confession to conviction and dig into the WORD.

[Gen 27:1 NKJV] Now it came to pass, when Isaac was old and his eyes were so dim that he could not see, that he called Esau his older son and said to him, “My son.” And he answered him, “Here I am.”

So here is Isaac, and he is getting up there in age to the point that the Bible describes him as having eyes that were so dim that he could not see. Now some scholars speculate that Isaac had some forty years left in him before he finally died, but at this point, it would seem that he thought the end was near and he wanted to put his affairs in order. And so he calls his oldest son to him. Esau must have been really close to his father. It kind of reminds me of the relationship my son Jacob has with his Grandfather. Those two are so close that when they get together you can’t tell where John ends and Jacob (my son) begins. My in-laws have moved off to another state to retire but my Father-in-law and my son still talk on the phone just about every day. I am proud of their relationship and love that my son is so close to his grandfather, and this is how I imagine the relationship between Isaac and Esau.

[Gen 27:2 NKJV] Then he said, “Behold now, I am old. I do not know the day of my death.
[Gen 27:3 NKJV] “Now therefore, please take your weapons, your quiver and your bow, and go out to the field and hunt game for me.
[Gen 27:4 NKJV] “And make me savory food, such as I love, and bring [it] to me that I may eat, that my soul may bless you before I die.”

Now, this is where favoritism and traditions go awry. I understand that some people just get along better with others. And as a parent, you aren’t supposed to have favorites, but the reality is sometimes some of your kids get on your nerves where others don’t (as much). So I get it. Still, Isaac knew that Jacob was to be the one who should receive the blessing if anyone did. Isaac, himself, was the son of promise who had received the blessing of his father Abraham, even though Ishmael was the firstborn. And we looked at this in detail in an earlier study. No doubt Isaac’s wife told Isaac about her encounter with the LORD. But this just goes to show me that sometimes I, like Isaac can be so set in my ways and have my own ideas about how things should go that I fail to listen to my wife. Isaac would rather have things his own way and get that big “breakfast” that he wanted so much instead of doing what he knew God had commanded him to do through the revelation he had given Rebekah. I can so relate to Isaac now…I am getting old(er) and my eyes are dim, but perhaps they are not dim from age but from failing to open them up to look around every once in a while. Isaac was so focused on the manly things that represented his strength and his ego that he failed to adhere to the will of God.

 

via GIPHY

Yep…

[Gen 27:5 NKJV] Now Rebekah was listening when Isaac spoke to Esau his son. And Esau went to the field to hunt game and to bring [it].
[Gen 27:6 NKJV] So Rebekah spoke to Jacob her son, saying, “Indeed I heard your father speak to Esau your brother, saying,
[Gen 27:7 NKJV] ‘Bring me game and make savory food for me, that I may eat it and bless you in the presence of the LORD before my death.’
[Gen 27:8 NKJV] “Now therefore, my son, obey my voice according to what I command you.

It would seem that both parents were blowing it in regard to their parenting skills here. On the one hand, you have Isaac trying to bypass the will of God by giving the blessing to Esau, and here we have Rebekah trying to do things her own way to see God’s will come to pass. Both parents, it seems, have fallen short of their duty as parents and gone their own way.

Having six children of our own, I understand how easy it is to fall into this parenting trap. Sometimes you feel so strongly that your way of parenting is what is best and your spouse doesn’t have the first clue as to what needs to happen to raise the children that they both set out on their own paths to do their own things, there own way, instead of coming together as God intended them to and in one accord, train their children up in the way that they should go. Had Isaac submitted to the revelation that was given to his wife from God, and had he trusted his wife enough to listen to her then perhaps things would have gone quite differently for the entire family. Had Rebekah approached her husband and in a manner where he might have been more reasonable maybe things would not have gone the way they did either. But the truth is, had they both come together it would have been better for them all.

As it stands, Isaac was trying to give away the blessing to his older son who quite frankly was not deserving of it. In my last study I shared the words of Matthew Henry who talked about how Esau had no fear of God, nor did he honor his own birthright. And so here is the son who went off and married pagans, forfeited his birthright as something that was trite and meaningless, and now he is to receive the blessing that was reserved for his younger brother?

 

 

So, this is about all the mental strength I have left in me for tonight. Conviction is draining isn’t it? I am thankful to have the opportunity to get into the WORD and to start to get this off of my chest. Again, I do so need your prayers so please lift Erin and I up if you think about us. I love her with all of my heart and she deserves so much more than I have given her. So I am going to rest and hopefully, LORD willing, I will pick up here again tomorrow.

Prayer: LORD, you know my desire is to be in Your will. Forgive me for being insensitive to my wife and failing her. Help me to be the husband You have called me to be. LORD you know her so intimately that I can’t even begin to meet her needs in the way that You can, and so I ask that You would pour out Your spirit upon her and renew her faith. Help me to encourage her, and continue to love her, but to be more attuned to her needs. LORD, for those who may read this and perhaps are struggling as well, I pray that Your peace would be upon them and that they too would realize that without You at the helm of our marriages we are destined to be dashed upon the rocks. Please bless Your children, surround us with godly men and women who desire to see us survive these tumultous seasons of our lives to come out on the otherside perhaps a little worse for wear, but strengthened beyond what we ever thought with testimonies of Your grace and Your mercy. LORD, as I have committed myself to You so now I recommitt myself to my wife. Help me to draw closer to her with the same passion that I draw closer to You. Open her heart to me LORD and help her to see my desire to honor her and love her the way she needs to be loved, and then train me up LORD in the way that I should go as Your son whom You have given to wed to Your daughter. I love You LORD, let that carry over into my marriage in new and profound ways. I pray too that You would keep the enemy out of our home and that You would protect our children during this time of discord, and that You would replace that discord with harmony and peace. To You be the glory! –Amen

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