She Fed Her Husband Dog Food

Posted April 18, 2018 by Guest Poster -

angry man eating

NOTE: This is a guest post written by my friend Melissa, a certified marriage and family coach for FamilyLife.com

Recently a husband came home to a home-cooked meal prepared by his wife and after one bite spouted, “This tastes like dog food!”

The wife said nothing but the next evening prepared another meal for her unsuspecting husband. After one bite his gasping comment was, “This tastes terrible.”

The wife coyly replied, “You think my cooking tastes like dog food, so I prepared dog food for you rather than wasting my time cooking.”

Have you had these types of tensions develop in your marriage relationship? Small wounds and unresolved conflict growing into mounting resentments, criticism, days without talking and wounded hearts. Bitterness builds and it becomes difficult to be in the same room together without conflict. You feel alone even though you are living in the same house.

As marriage mentors and coaches a common comment we hear is, “We used to love each other so much, I don’t know how we have gotten here” or “How can two people who supposedly love each other so much hurt each other so deeply?” The answers to these questions vary from couple to couple but largely we find that many issues in relationships can be resolved through having the right tools in your toolbox.

It wouldn’t work very well to try to use a screwdriver to saw a piece of wood in half. Similarly, we need to use the right tools in relationships to resolve problems. If you find yourself in the “crazy maker” cycle fighting over the same issues repeatedly and getting nowhere, you’re not using the right tools.

Do you know how to resolve conflict? Do you know when to listen and when to speak? Are you seeking reconciliation or retaliation? Do you know what resolution looks like? Do you know how to communicate constructively? Do you know how to forgive?

unhappy marriageSadly, many couples we coach do not.

We all have heard the statistic that 40% of marriages are ending in divorce but are you aware that second marriages have a 60% divorce rate and third marriages have a 73% divorce rate. The obvious thing we should see is that leaving what we have to try to find something that works better isn’t probably going to happen. The issues and brokenness from leaving a first marriage are just carried into consecutive marriages and compound the relationship struggles.

I almost walked out on my marriage 14 years ago.

My husband and I were married at 19 and did not have good examples set on to how to build a marriage that lasts. Every day in your marriage your actions are either building it stronger or tearing it down. Believing it was my husband’s fault if I wasn’t happy led me to deplete our relationship and become critical. My husband’s use of pornography led him in his father’s footsteps and he had an affair. My abandonment and rejection issues from my real father abandoning me when I was two and my step-father’s abuse left me completely defeated and unable to cope with my husband’s betrayal.

Crisis of faith…..do I leave or do I stay.

I wrestled with that decision for a year before being able to solidly recommit to my marriage. Rebuilding trust, offering and asking for forgiveness, reconstructing respect, letting walls down, and choosing to love again took time and a lot of hard work but I can honestly say today it was worth it. I wouldn’t trade the lessons learned and the relationship we have now for anything. We found out what real love is…..it is a choice….not a feeling. You stay with someone long enough, you are going to see their worst and they are going to see your worst. It is the test of love. What will you do when someone is at their worst?

melissa and husbandWhat we learned through this time was that God is able to redeem and heal all brokenness. We couldn’t fix each other and our happiness couldn’t be based on one another’s performance. We also learned we both were missing a lot of the tools we needed for a healthy relationship.

I wish now that we would have sought help sooner. We were both feeling the drain and strain in our relationship and chose to stick our heads in the sand. Pride, shame, ignorance, stubbornness and busyness were roadblocks to seeking help.

We are now using what we have learned in our painful, messy journey through this adventure called marriage to help others avert or survive their crises. Don’t make the same mistake we did and wait until the damage is extensive. A lasting marriage will be one of the greatest joys and accomplishments of your life if invested in properly. You may just need some help with the right tools, need to get some coaching or seek counseling to survive the storms. I do want to speak candidly to anyone reading this who is in an abusive relationship and say first you need to get safe. It is never right to stay with someone who is hurting you or your children.

I want to leave you with some resources to help strengthen and equip you to have strong, healthy relationships.

My husband and I are missionaries with FamilyLife, an organization dedicated to providing biblical, applicable resources, a daily radio program, and events to empower individuals to have the relationships they desire with God, their spouse and their children. Our website is www.familylife.com and www.blendedandblessed.com (this is our website for blended families). Here you will find our daily radio program, an app that can be downloaded for daily listening, and our events and resources.

Please feel free to email me at mvandeberg@familylife.com for more help and resources.

melissa and famWe have been mentoring couples, leading small groups, marriage retreats, parenting classes and other trainings for 4 years around Wyoming and Montana. There are trained marriage mentors around the US we can connect you with for personal coaching free of charge.

We would love to help those seeing the needs in their community for marriage and parenting help to begin a small group or host a marriage weekend event in your community to help strengthen marriages and families.

I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.  2 Timothy 4:7

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