The Separation-Leads-to-Greater-Intimacy Paradox

Posted on July 28, 2012 by


This is a piece I posted on Peacefulwife.com.  I know you aren’t married yet.  But MUCH of this post applies to single women and also women in committed relationships, too.  Let me know if you have questions or concerns and we’ll talk about them!  

This is a very odd concept I’m going to share with you. But I believe it is VITAL on our journey to become the women, believers in Christ and wives that God wants us to be. First, a few words of Christ to think about and digest:

 “Anyone who loves his father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” Matthew 10:37-38

“If anyone loves Me, he will obey My teaching. My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. He who does not love Me will not obey My teaching.” John 14:23-24

MARRIAGE IS ABOUT UNITY, RIGHT?

Yes.  BUT, I have to primarily have unity with Christ.  If I don’t have that source of power, strength and identity I will depend on my husband to be Christ to me and suck my husband dry with my emotional and spiritual needs.  I have to love Christ MUCH more than I love my husband or my children or any other person on the planet for all of this to work!

WE HAVE TO SEPARATE OURSELVES FROM OUR MEN/HUSBANDS AND CLING TO GOD.

This is going to sound so strange. I hope that God will shed light on it by His Spirit for it to make sense. But in order for me to achieve the greatest intimacy and unity with my husband, I first had to separate myself spiritually and emotionally from my husband and find myself, my life, my joy and my strength completely in Christ alone. I had to unhook my mind, emotions and soul from my husband and latch on to Christ.  And I had to COMPLETELY commit myself to obeying God’s Word no matter if I agreed with it or if it was politically correct or not.  I had to truly make Christ KING of every aspect of my life.

This is a VERY radical thing I am talking about doing. It means taking the Bible literally and really living it out. It involves crucifying ourselves, sacrificing ourselves to Christ and living with the Lordship of Christ. Many of us, especially those of us who are controlling, disrespectful women are often very  spiritually and emotionally enmeshed with our men. Honestly, many of us have made idols of our men and/or ourselves and other things. It is high time for us to tear those idols down and only worship and serve Jesus Christ as Lord of our lives.

Lord,

I pray You might prepare our hearts and help shine the light of Your blazing Word into the darkest recesses of our souls to see any decay and sinful rot that needs to be removed before it consumes us. Open our eyes to our sin. Help us to see it as clearly as You do. Convict us of all of our pride, our un-forgiveness, our resentment, our idolatry and our self-righteousness that is grieving Your Spirit and keeping Your power from working in our lives.   Help us to truly see that our sin is JUST as awful as our guys’ sin – no matter what their sin may be. We are not better than they are.  We are not more holy.  Tear down every stronghold of Satan. Tear down every idol. Help us to dig them all out by the roots and lay bare the very foundation of our faith in You.

Let us rebuild our faith on Your Word and power alone. Let us rebuild our understanding of godly femininity, godly masculinity, marriage, families, Christianity and the Lordship of Christ on Your Word with pure, sturdy and precious materials that will not burn up on judgement day. Rid us of our stubble and hay and our ungodly, carnal mindsets. Renew our minds by Your power.  Our wisdom is worthless.  Help us not lean on our own understanding anymore.  Help us trust Your wisdom alone.

Let Your Spirit be free to change us and make us all that You desire us to be. Let us be willing to surrender EVERYTHING in our lives completely to You. Let us give You our deepest fears and help us to see that You are truly big enough, sovereign enough and powerful enough for us to trust You. Help us to see that You are sovereign even over each of our relationships and over each of us. Let Your perfect love come into clear focus and drive out our fears.

Even if the worst case scenario happens, we are safe, sheltered, adored, beloved and empowered in Your arms. We can crucify our own dreams and desires, get rid of our own understanding and embrace Your ways that are so much higher than our own!  Help us to see that You can even use our own sin and our guys’ sin for Your glory if we decide to obey and honor You!

In the Name, power and will of Christ,

Amen!

SOME SIGNS THAT I MAY BE AN IDOLATOR IN GOD’S EYES.  (I definitely used to do this in many ways and at many times and it was extremely destructive to my relationship with God and my husband)  See if you might be worshipping your man, yourself, pride, having control, your anger, unforgiveness,  marriage or your man’s spiritual condition and/or purity as an idol:

  • I expect my guy to “make me happy.” I put ALL of the responsibility for my happiness on his plate.
  • I am insatiable and am a bottomless pit of continual needs and demands and no matter how much my man does for me, it’s not good enough, I always want and think I need more. He can’t please me.
  • I wager my happiness on my man’s performance, spiritual condition, purity (ie with visual temptation), spiritual maturity, love for me, etc. I make it HIS fault if I am unhappy. I set the conditions and tell him that for me to be happy in life, he must do as I say. The things I want may be good things, they may even be God’s will for my man, but if I make a certain goal for my guy and controlling him the MOST important thing in my life – I have a SERIOUS sin issue on my hands – possibly idolatry!
  • My anger, bitterness, resentment and being “right” are more precious to me than my relationship and emotional/spiritual intimacy with my guy – my anger and my rights may be idols.
  • My unwillingness to forgive and my cherishing my anger, bitterness and resentment are more precious to me than my intimacy with Christ.
  • I try to control my guy, to make him be more like me, to make him think and feel more like me, to remake him in my own image. I don’t accept him as he is or appreciate that his masculinity is vastly different from my femininity and that our differences are a blessing. I have a wimpy, small, impotent picture of my man in my life.
  • I think I know better than my man what we should do in most any situation – that is UGLY PRIDE.
  • I try to control God and remake Him in my own image, too. I have a wimpy, small, impotent image of God in my life. And I have a HUGE, powerful, sovereign picture of myself.  I think of God as practically a puppet Who should do whatever I say.
  • I think I know better than God – PRIDE again. “Yes, God said that wives are supposed to respect their husbands and follow their husband’s authority and leadership, BUT I am exempt from that because my husband won’t lead/can’t lead/isn’t a believer/has X sin in his life. So I am going to do things MY way! God doesn’t know what He is talking about when it comes to my marriage. I have to take control. I’m the only one who knows what we really need to do right now. I refuse to trust God’s Word.”
  • I constantly want attention, affection, words of love, loving deeds, loving looks, love letters, emails, gifts, and everything to be focused on my husband giving me my desires 24/7.  The relationship is all about ME, MY needs, MY feelings, MY desires.
  • I am obsessed with my pain and how unloved I feel, but I don’t see my guy’s pain at all or take responsibility for my sin.
  • I think that I am better than my man – PRIDE.
  • I want to be with my guy ALL THE TIME. I can’t allow him any freedom to pursue hobbies or time with the guys or to relax by himself. I am selfish and demanding and smothering my man.
  • I give and give and give and give love to my guy because that is what I want him to give to me. And I am continually disappointed because he doesn’t reciprocate my giving. I have HUGE expectations of my guy. I resent my guy. I resent the love I give him and resent that he doesn’t love me the way I want to be loved.

WHAT NEEDS TO BE SEPARATED EXACTLY?

For me, I had to separate myself from my husband emotionally and spiritually and focus on MY heart, MY sin, MY pride, MY idolatry, MY relationship with Christ and MY repentance. It was SO easy to focus on my husband’s sin, what HE needed to change, what HE was doing wrong, what God clearly wanted HIM to do. And I was happy to point all of those things out to my husband.

That didn’t work.

At all.

MY WAY MADE US BOTH MISERABLE

You know what happened when I lectured my husband, condemned him, looked down on him, preached at him, pointed my prideful finger at him, judged him and told him what he should do – he went FAR, FAR away from me and he went farther and farther away from God, too. He believed me about how sinful he was and felt hopeless about being close to God again. He was emotionally and spiritually very distant. I had no idea why. I would demand that he come back. I would demand that he love me again. And I would get no response whatsoever.

My husband’s eyes were hollow and vacant. He didn’t look at me when I came in a room. He didn’t care if I was upset. He didn’t hear me. He didn’t respond to me. He seemed like the most unloving husband in the world to me. And I resented him greatly for the pain he was inflicting on me. How DARE he be so unloving to me. I was such a loving and wonderful wife, after all! That is what I thought. But I was so blind. Amazingly, I didn’t see my disrespect, my control, my pride, my arrogance, my idolatry and all of my sin that had pushed my husband away and deeply wounded him. I had sabotaged our marriage myself. ME!

A NEW FOCUS

It wasn’t until I took some steps back and began to focus on my own life, my own sin, my own relationship with Christ and stopped trying to be the Holy Spirit to my husband, stopped trying to control him, stopped telling him what to do, stopped criticizing him, stopped thinking I was so much better than he was, stopped judging him and condemning him that I was able to begin to see.. I can’t be his conscience.

I can’t control him. I can only control myself.

Once I realized this and realized how much power I had to change things in my own life – it was the BEST DAY EVER!

I realize it is my job to cling tightly to Christ. It is my job to love Jesus more than I love my husband. It is my job to find my joy in Christ. It is my job to get my emotional and spiritual needs met primarily by Christ and take all that pressure off of my husband. My husband is a man, he is not God! What a relief that was for BOTH of us when I finally got that straight! He’s not god, and I am not god. God is God! And God began to be glorified and honored in my soul and my life.

HOW “DISTANCE” BEGAN TO CREATE INTIMACY

I learned to give my husband freedom to think for himself, feel for himself, hear God for himself make decisions for himself and treat him like the competent, responsible, grown-up, mature, dependable, reliable, intelligent, talented man that he is. I learned to find my joy independently from my husband. So if my husband succumbs to a sin, or he is depressed, or he is weak, or he is sick, or he dies… my source of strength and power is still with me. I have God’s Spirit living in me and empowering me.

I had to be willing to get rid of ALL the sin I cherished, to be cleansed by God and have a ready soul to welcome His power into my life. But when His Spirit lives in me, THEN I have the ability to obey God’s Word and be the wife He desires me to be. When I was cherishing sin in my heart and blind to all of my sin, I had grieved God’s Spirit and drove His power away. Now I have that knob that controls the flow of God’s Spirit in my life turned up as high as I can get it! I want ALL of His power to be flowing through me and working in me ALL the time! That is the only way I can have the life I want, the power I want, the perspective I need and the marriage I want. I don’t know any other way.

When I “removed my claws” from my husband, stopped pursuing him, stopped trying to control him,  stopped smothering him with love, stopped disrespecting him and began to be joyful independently from him – and I began respecting him, appreciating him, accepting him, thanking him, praising him and being grateful for any little effort from him – that drew him to me. He began to pursue me again. I began to understand the power of godly femininity and how doing things God’s way WORKS!!!!

HOW THINGS ARE NOW

When I became responsible for my own joy in Christ and began focusing on my sin and my life and my relationship with God… some amazing things happened.

  • I took all the pressure off my husband and removed every expectation from him so he could breathe again!
  • I accept him as he is and dont’ try to change him.
  • I have grace to extend to him when he sins.
  • I see myself as an equal instead of superior to my husband. I have humility now – thanks to God’s Spirit working in me- and that is a lot more attractive to God and my husband than all that awful pride!
  • I don’t worry because I trust God’s sovereignty and wisdom to provide for me in each circumstance and through every decision.
  • I have peace with God.
  • I have peace in my marriage
  • I have unshakable joy.
  • I see my husband as the leader in our marriage, and I have so much less weight on my shoulders! What a relief!
  • I give my husband time to himself cheerfully.
  • I give my husband space without resentment or grudge-holding.
  • I take care of my own needs and find my purpose, joy, identity and strength in Christ alone.
  • My husband could begin to hear God’s voice because I was finally able to be quiet and win him without a word by my respectful and pure behavior by the power of God working in me. My silence and respect drew him to me and to God.
  • I began to see more and more to respect in my husband and he began to blossom as a godly man and leader.
  • Eventually, we were able to have much deeper spiritual discussions than ever before as I stepped down and allowed God to work in each of us instead of me trying to MAKE the changes happen myself.
  • I have peace no matter what happens with my husband because I am not depending on his performance or righteousness for my happiness. I am depending on Christ, not a sinful man.
  • If my husband disappoints me, I might feel sad, and I can tell him I feel sad, but I can take care of my own emotions and spirit and stay centered on Christ.
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