UNLEASHING THE K.I.S.S. MARRIAGE –“Fences/Freedom – Part 2”

I saw the movie “The Help” this past week, and once again I saw and felt the burning passion in all of us to be free. Toward the end of the movie, one of the main characters, Aibileen finds the courage to stand up to the self-serving, manipulating, big bad Hilly Holbrook. Aibileen boldly claims that through the process of being able to speak about her life and bring her pain into the open, it validated her as a person and she found her voice. Those words were a spear into my heart because they are so true. When we are validated and accepted for who God created us to be, we find the confidence to speak up and defend our self worth. When we discover our self worth; it unleashes confidence and freedom.

 I believe God puts two imperfect people together to help them to chisel their characters into who God created them to be. Unfortunately this is a painful process that many of us don’t want to embrace or endure. It would be so much easier if everyone was like us.

It’s not easy to find that wonderful balance of freedom in our marriage relationships (or any relationship). I often hear, “Why should I do…this for him, if he doesn’t do…this for me?” Again, this is an area where you need to incorporate the most basic skill in any relationship: Communication-giving voice to your needs. When we are given freedom in areas that we so desperately desire, we are better wives, friends, mothers, sister…everything. Determining freedom/fences looks different in the various passages throughout our lifetime.

  1.  When we are first married. This is the time of establishing careers, perhaps finishing your education, and buying your first home. Don’t just expect this to happen, you need to determine who is going to take out the garbage, do the laundry, cut the lawn, pay the bills and all the other necessities of life. Putting voice to these fences early on in your marriage will establish a solid foundation and will bring you freedom.
  2. And here comes mommy with the baby carriage. This is a crucial time to communicate freedom/fences. Ladies, we have to understand that men can’t grasp all of our fluctuating emotions during this time. Sleep deprivation, feeling overwhelmed and losing all the freedom we had before the babies came along, can stretch the marriage beyond anything we could have imagined. My dear friends, this is a time of communication like never before; you need to make your husband understand that you need some freedom from the daily, monotonous grind.  While he is busy providing for a large family and home, you are being bombarded by constant demands of running a household (and perhaps also a career). At the end of the day, both of you may feel like you have given all you can, and it’s still never enough. If you do not help each other find some relief or freedom at this stage of your life, you will become resentful, then angry and perhaps bitter.
  3. There is another life. Your last child is about to leave home and you wonder if your marriage will survive now that is it only the two of you. For so many years all you did was devote your time to raising the children, paying bills and trying to find your own passions and purpose.  You feel like your husband still does not understand you and you wonder if you would be freer not being married.

Here is a great story:  I know a couple that had devoted their life to their children and careers, and never took the time to understand each other. When the last one left home they wondered if there was anything to salvage in their marriage. They were not familiar with each other’s needs, passions or determine what made each of them happy.  One day they sat down and discussed the options.  To separate might give temporary freedom (because anything new is always exciting), but they would be worse off financially, they might be lonely, they would probably destroy their family dynamics, friendships and perhaps lose some of their own self-esteem. They sat down and communicated freedom/fences and determined to get to know each other. Today this couple is vibrant, happy, financially free and enjoying the best years of their life.  This is what it took:

  1. To see the problem;
  2. To voice their feelings, pain, resentment.
  3. To seek to understand each other’s need, feelings, pain, desires.
  4. To forgive the past hurts and resentments.
  5. To accept each other the way Jesus Christ has accepted all of us.
  6. To choose, with humility and unselfishness to learn to love the other person the way they need to be loved.
  7. To set each other free to be all God created you to be.

Love is…”not self-seeking” (1 Cor. 13: 5 NIV).  When we stop trying to “get” something from each other, and start “pouring out” on each other, beautiful transformation begins to take place.

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