How The Environment May Be Hurting Your Marriage

environment

My husband and I could not wait to get married. Our hearts were anxious to fully express our love for each other and we looked forward to the day we would be united as one.

Our expectations of married life were shattered as we faced our first hardship as husband and wife on our wedding night. As we pursued sexual intimacy, pain inflamed my body. We tried to laugh off the disappointment, as if we needed time to figure out what we were trying to do and do it right. We both thought it might take a few days to get use to.

However, weeks turned into years, and we were still struggling. Our lack of sexual intimacy became a catalyst for bad attitudes, intensifying other marital stressors.

Over three years time my marriage broke down and we were on the verge of divorce. But God was not willing to abandon us! He saved our marriage from ruin and He showed us something quite incredible, something I believe everyone should be aware of.

One day my husband was inspired to think about the environment. A conversation with a friend of ours about a woman with PCOS sparked the investigation which you can read HERE. My husband wondered if there was something in the environment that was affecting my body and causing the pain I experienced during sex.

Sure enough my husband came across ingredients he found in my face wash – which I had been using for about five years - that were called “parabens” and after some internet research found them to be endocrine disruptors. He urged me to stop using this product and any other personal care products that had parabens, and within a weeks time my body was healed, our sexlife was healed!

I know this might sound crazy, but this discovery has radically impacted my life in a positive way. I cannot help but wonder how many other issues married couples are facing that can be attributed to the environment.

God built our bodies with an intelligent design. We have so many different parts working together to help us function properly. The enemy on the other hand, is working tirelessly to destroy what God has created. I believe over the years, he has used people to taint the environment in such a way, parts of it are affecting us in negative ways.

If you, your husband or even your children seem to be suffering because of a dysfunction in the body, and no one knows why, I urge you to take a closer look at the environment. Investigate what ingredients you are exposed to through putting something on your skin or what you are putting in your mouth. Pay attention to the details and consider how your body may be sensitive to certain ingredients.

I think it is extremely important for every person to understand how our bodies can be affected by our environment. You will be your greatest advocate!

I shared about this topic a few Mondays ago in an online marriage retreat that I would love to invite you to check out! If you are interested visit Embrace Your Marriage!

– Jennifer Smith

UnveiledWife.com

What I Did When My Husband Confronted My Parenting

confronted

My husband sat across from me over breakfast. Our son sat in his highchair playing and eating. It was over this morning meal my husband confronted me about my parenting.

He gently and respectfully asked,

“Honey, what has changed with you when it comes to feeding our son? We use to be on the same page, but lately I feel like you have thrown out things we have agreed on. You give him whatever you want to and disregard what I think is appropriate.”

I immediately wanted to defend my parenting abilities. I wanted to justify why I give my child portions of things that are not nutritionally valuable including: I don’t want him to miss out, he is over one so its ok, and a little won’t hurt him. I heard these excuses jump out of my mouth before I could soundly consider them. None of which answered my husband’s question as to why I decided to deviate from the plan without his consideration. I wanted to fight for what I had done, for the choices I’d advocated for our son, and for the example I lead in my own eating habits, but as I was confronted, God showed me the best thing I could do was apologize.

I wasn’t able to apologize right away because my flesh always gets in the way of that! We got hung up on a few frustrating arguments surrounded around he said/she said, what was generally said and exactly mentioned. Then finally I came around…

“I am so sorry. I am aware that I lack self-control when it comes to my eating habits and I am sure that a part of me that justifies poor eating for me, also does the same thing with our son. I am also sorry for choosing to disregard decisions we made as a family to offer him healthy food over junk food. That was disrespectful of me. I want to be on the same page with you as we parent together.”

Those words took a little more effort to blurt out than the ones that seem so confident about justifying poor behavior. But once said, I realized how much they were truly needed.

My husband is a patient man. Although he had made small comments here and there over the last few months to encourage healthy eating, I pushed his words and his intentions to parent a specific way aside, pridefully believing that it would be ok.

The truth is that I neglected to follow through on goals we made together to feed our son in a healthy way. Although my son receives some of the best nutritional food on the market, I was sneaking him ice cream bites, cookies, crackers, fries and many more types of foods that are not as nutritional all under the banner of acceptability. I told myself a little won’t hurt him, in fact he will love it!

If my actions were never confronted by my husband, I could have been a catalyst for poor eating throughout my child’s life. If I am not careful, I still can be. The choices I make for my son will influence how he makes decisions as an adult. I am helping shape him.

Parenting also affects marriage. If my parenting disrespects my husband the contention from that will cause strife and bitterness. It is vital that I am aware of the choices I make in parenting and consider how they will affect my marriage.  All of which I should be submitting to God.

I believe it is important for husbands and wives to parent on the same page and give each other room to confront each other. We are our children’s greatest advocates and there is a lot of responsibility that comes with that, there nutrition being a big part. After being confronted, I was humbled and then I was inspired to make changes to better the quality of life my family experiences. I want to respect the goals my husband and I make together and I want to help advocate for good clean eating, as well as so much more.

If any of you have been confronted as a parent, especially if your spouse confronted you, I urge you to grip the defense that wants to fight and prayerfully consider if God wants to use that confrontation to show you how you can be better!

– Jennifer Smith   Unveiledwife.com 

Why Your Husband May Not Be The Problem…

nottheproblemAhhhhhh! I walked into the bathroom and slammed the door behind me! I was confident my dramatic outburst would show my husband just how much he was hurting me. I desired reconciliation, but more so I wanted him to understand my perspective. I wanted him to admit that he was wrong and validate my feelings through a sincere apology. Until then I would camp out in the bathroom and withhold my heart from him.

With my back against the wall, I refused to look at the situation from a different point of view. My convictions were powerful, convincing me I did not need to reassess in any way. Motivated by fear, I could not comprehend, nor receive or extend grace for my behavior or his. I just didn’t know how to let go of the emotions swirling inside my heart and mind.

In the early years of my marriage, my husband and I fought daily. I often thought to myself, who is this guy? My husband was not living up to my expectations of a husband and I doubted the love we had. With every contention that boiled between us I stewed in my frustration desiring nothing more than my husband to surrender.

I was convinced that he was the problem for our marital misfortune.

I even prayed to God and asked him to change my husband. I could not stop believing that he was the reason we fought and hurt so much. I also told my husband how he was the problem and how changing his ways would heal everything.

The real problem was me.

I failed to recognize how I was contributing to our marital fights. Living in denial, I was not willing to accept the truth that my character was flawed, that I had sin that was affecting my husband, that I was imperfect.

It took a few years, but God finally got through to me. He unveiled me and helped me get to know the real me. I experienced God’s amazing grace and it felt so good. I grasped an understanding I never had before, that it was ok I failed and that God loved me no matter what, that I had the opportunity to extend grace to my husband, and that grace is a gift that can be given at any moment not necessarily after an apology.

Grace is bigger than fear!

God showed me areas of my life in need of transformation. He also transformed those areas and behold many of my marital fights dissipated. I learned how receiving grace and extending grace could transform marriage!

God also taught me that it is good to pray for my husband and it was necessary. However, it was all the more crucial that I pray for myself and allow God room to move in my heart.

For those of you who may be in the midst of a marital battle or believing that your husband is wholly responsible for your unhappiness, I want to share this simple truth with you today. Your husband may not be the problem! I know this sounds harsh, and I don’t want it to hurt you. I just want you to be aware that marriage is affected by both you AND your husband. I am not saying your husband is not influencing how certain situations erupt, I am simply addressing that you play a very vital role as an influencer as well. The point is not whether your husband is at fault, he very well may be, the point is that no matter who is at fault, you are responsible for you! Only you can make a heart change in your heart, and that ability is invaluable to marriage.

I wish as a new wife that I had recognized how powerful my actions affected our marriage. I wish that someone had urged me not to blame my husband for everything. I wish someone was firm with me and shook me out of my selfish way of thinking. I wish I had always known grace. Yet, I know now and I share it with you now!

I urge you to pray and ask God to unveil you. Ask God to show you areas of your life that need to be transformed and then ask Him to renew you! Receive grace from God for your past and ask God to help you extend grace to your husband. God will honor your humility and your marriage will benefit greatly as God molds your heart. And don’t stop praying for your husband too! Ask God to speak truth into your husband’s life and to transform him as well.

Marriage can either be a tug-of-war led by pride or it can be a river running in one direction guided by the banks of humility.

Have you ever been convinced that your husband is the problem with disregard to your behavior?

– Jennifer Smith    UnveiledWife.com

Letting Down My Walls With God And With My Husband

unveiledwife

He reached for his Bible, a very used hand-me-down from his father. Tucked within the covers of his bible were a few pieces of paper decorated with his handwriting.

“Read these” he encouraged me.

They were prayers my boyfriend had been saving. Desires that were the closest to his heart. Scribbled in the corner of each prayer was a date, all of them noting years before we had ever even met. One prayer in particular stood out among the rest. His desire for a wife was clear, but He pleaded with God to help him be patient for the one who was to be his wife. After reading it, my boyfriend of a year and a half whispered gently,

“You are the answer to my prayer.”

My heart swelled with joy. It was in that moment he proposed marriage, and I excitedly said, “Yes!”

We were young and in love. Our hearts were dedicated to living out an extraordinary life of service to God and we were eager to do it as a team. Only six months later we were married and headed out on our first adventure as missionaries in a foreign land. Our passion to serve God in Africa was explosive! Despite our love and faith to follow God’s call on our life as husband and wife, we encountered a few hardships immediately following the wedding, which we were not prepared for.

We had both saved ourselves from sex until we married. We knew we would need to take some time to adjust, but I never would have imagined we could experience so much heartache in the intimacy department. Pain inflamed my body every time we initiated sexual intimacy, a challenge that lasted 4 long years. Accompanying the physical pain was the anxiety, the emotional repercussions, and the forming of habits that kept my husband and I very distant in this part of our marriage.

I felt broken, inadequate as a wife, insecure, and angry. I turned from God in my despair, frustrated that He would not miraculously heal us and fulfill our marriage completely. When I was in the trenches, when depression and fear seized me, I didn’t know where to get help. I was embarrassed, but more so I felt utterly alone in our marital struggles.

Regardless of my rebellious heart, God never let me go. He pursued me and challenged me to allow our situation to transform my heart for the better.

As I responded to God’s love and turned back towards Him, He revealed the importance of being “unveiled” as a Christian woman and as a wife. Being unveiled is to let the walls down that keep intimacy with others unattainable. Being unveiled is about being transparent with our struggles, so that we may be transformed.

But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit,and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. – 2 Corinthians 3:16-18

This message became a vital piece of the healing that took place in my heart and in my marriage. When I was unveiled before God and my husband, I experienced freedom and peace like I had never known before. I also acknowledged things about myself I had never seen before. With clarity I was able to repent of the negative behaviors I had and truly be transformed.

God showed me how many other wives also felt alone in their struggles. He gave me a passion to share this message of being an Unveiled Wife with others, providing a safe place to talk about marriage issues, receive prayer, share marriage resources, and most importantly encourage women to turn to Christ. Unveiled Wife is a ministry for wives and I am honored to be used by God to share His love with the world.

I have experienced true healing and transformation. I am now able to enjoy sexual intimacy with my husband and our relationship continues to mature daily. We also gave birth to a beautiful baby boy in 2012! Parenting adds a whole other dynamic to marriage that has blessed us tremendously. We are in awe every day! My husband and I still encounter challenges along the way, but the UW Community has been a huge support system for my marriage and others all around the world. I am grateful.

Blessings,

Jennifer Smith      Unveiledwife.com

This post is a part of our “Who We Are” Series. For all posts visit,

“Who We Are: The Stories Behind TBM Writers”

Who We Are at The Better Mom

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