9 Thoughts That Can Change Your Marriage is written by Sheila Wray Gregoire. It is an excellent book for any marriage. It contains new thoughts that can revolutionize the way many women think about their marriages. Sheila is the founder of the blog To Love, Honor, and Vacuum. Many times her posts have helped me in my marriage. Her perspective and wisdom on so many marriage topics is a true gift from God. I recommend all of her books.
Today, I would like to explain how one of the thoughts in her book changed my entire marriage. The thought is:
“I’m called to be a peacemaker, not a peacekeeper.”
Sheila explains how many women think that they are supposed to keep the peace in the marriage by agreeing with their husbands on the outside, but hurting deeply on the inside. In a way they think they have to let their husbands have their way with everything just to keep him happy and have a peaceful home. But, this isn’t real peace and in the end it is destruction.
This way of thinking led to many problems in my own marriage.
For the first ten years of marriage I lived as a peacekeeper. There were many things that upset me. I would bring them up from time to time. However, seeing my husband’s unpleasant reaction was enough to convince me that I should just love him and let him live life as he wanted.
One specific example is addictive behaviors. He did many things such as drink alcohol and smoke obsessively. I did not do these things and I was very much against them in our home. I would bring these issues up at first. Then, slowly, I would conclude that it was just too much trouble to try to agree on these issues. I told myself that if I loved him I would just accept what he was doing and let him enjoy life.
But, the sacrifice was that I was always unhappy inside. I felt very unloved and I was constantly worrying about my husband. I was praying every day for him. I’ve looked at old journals and noticed all my written prayers for him. I pleaded with God for my husband to quit his sinful behaviors and follow the Lord! This was all really good. And we should go to God in prayer. But, God wants us to do something!
I should have planned what I wanted to say to my husband. I could have set up boundaries and ways to resolve conflict. I even could have asked for help. The problem was that I never set any boundaries. I basically allowed my husband to do whatever he wanted even if it meant I suffered inside.
Then, when I found out that my husband was secretly addicted to pornography, everything changed. At that point I knew it went too far. This was not the life that God wanted me to live. It was really a struggle during that initial time for several reasons. First, I was learning how to share my feelings and hurts. I was creating boundaries of what was acceptable and unacceptable in our home. At the same time, my husband was learning to live with me as a different person. He was understanding that there would be consequences and conflict. So many things on Sheila’s website helped me and provided guidance throughout this time.
It was during that time that I found out I was not called to be a peacekeeper. I was to be a peacemaker. This was a new life for my husband and I. By following God, our marriage slowly started to change. We both began to move closer to God and to each other.
This is just one thought from this book that was so true in my marriage. The whole book is filled with guidance. I have found that Sheila’s books have helped my marriage so much. This book is just the same. It can help change the whole way you view your marriage.