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Sorry this is so late today.  You can imagine the warfare in our own house.  Sheesh!

We have to discuss the ginormous role that justification and rationalization play in this whole thing.  How many of us control, withdraw or take our relationships hostage because we have good reason to?  Of course we have good reason to.  Otherwise there would be no need to take a self-protective stance.  Notice the word “self-protective” as in “all by myself”.

All of us have reasons to not trust our husbands on some level.  It may be that you don’t trust him with other women, pornography, money, kids, laundry, finances, your heart, his own relationship with God, or even many simpler things.  I have a friend who would never go on ladies retreat until her kids were old enough to kind of take care of themselves.  She was so controlling that she just knew those kids were not going to get a bath at night and probably end up eating cereal for dinner.  She didn’t trust him but she also was being unreasonable.  Your kids will survive a night or two hanging out with dad letting dad be dad.  Why can we not give our men the freedom to be the dad’s they want to be?  When I asked her why, she was embarrassed about her own lame justifications and rationalizations.  She was beginning to see how much she controlled everything to the point where no one could come through for her no matter how hard they tried.

I am going to go back to a time in my marriage when my kids were very young.  I remember my husband getting home from work.  He came home to craziness because that was just that season of our lives.  Dinner would be half-cooked and kids everywhere.  He would ask me to sit down with him on the couch for a minute.  So many times I would say in a minute, or as soon as I am done with this or that.  I remember one night it was about 10:00 pm and I was putting in the last load of laundry and kids were all in bed finally.  He looked so sad and said, “do you think I could rate on your list somewhere after laundry?”  Ouch!  When he came home he was choosing me first.  He had kids on his legs and everyone talking to him at once.  He would make his way to me first and want to put his arms around me and give me a kiss.  Doesn’t that sound almost fairytale-like?  I would be in such a mode that I could not engage with him.  Believe me all of my justifications and rationalizations were very convincing and even right – things have to get done.  But in the light of putting my husband’s heart after everything all evening, even after laundry ….. super lame….super wrong…..and even sinful.

If you can relate to that any of those situations take that same scenario and apply it to your marriage with God.  How much of your relationship with Him do you control?  How much time is spent in some mode or agenda that doesn’t allow you to choose Him first?

Now I hesitated bringing in our relationship with God to this encouragement because again we are female and we tend to do good with a checklist and forget to engage our hearts fully.  The temptation will be for you to totally spiritualize this challenge and forget to fully engage.  You are going to have to go to God in all this and let Him search your heart and reveal what needs to be revealed.  But I do not believe that you should loose the focus on the marriage to your husband in this exercise.  You can not do one without the other but in this case I feel that many of us will be tempted to make it be all about “God” and still miss our husband’s heart in the process.  Even though you would have superb justifications and rationalizations to back you up all the way.  The enemy will use your good heart and intentions against you.  You have to begin to open your eyes to this tactic.  We are at war.

So for this exercise try to apply the jist of either one of those examples to your lack of trust therefore control regarding your husband with other women, pornography, money, kids, laundry, finances, your heart, his own relationship with God, or even many simpler things.  It is going to suck.  It will be hard.  It will feel impossible to do without all of your justifications, rationalizations and even plain logic.  But when I was healing from a violent relationship where I had a lot God touched my heart in those ouchy places and asked me about them.  The first thing out of my mouth was “But he….” did whatever.  God kept asking me over and over the same questions.  I was getting frustrated.  Finally He said, “Jennifer I am not asking you about him and what he did.  I am asking what you did with what he did in your own heart.”

I promise you this exercise will reveal things about yourself you did not know.  It will also help make you wiser to the ways of your enemy and how deceitful he really is.  It will begin to shed some light on all that he has gotten away with in your relationship.  I am fighting and praying for this in all our marriages.  Much love.  Keep pressing in with an engaged heart.