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The fighting got more intense and began happening more frequently than ever before. The yelling, arguing, cursing, finger-pointing and flying objects were becoming the norm. I’m not talking about the media frenzy leading up the Mayweather vs. McGregor fight or an episode of the Kardashians. I’m talking about years 6-10 of our marriage. Kristen and I were at each other’s throats constantly. During this time-period, our family had grown from one child to three. I had a new job in a new town which meant a new house, new friends, new church and new responsibilities. What were supposed to be some of the happiest times of our lives turned into some of the most tumultuous.

When Kristen and I first started dating I was drawn to her bubbly, outgoing, life-giving personality. She was drawn to my strength and confidence. I was competitive, she was inclusive. I was bold, she was passive. I was a leader, and she went with the flow. We were about as opposite as two people could be – but that’s what drew us to each other, as we both admired the qualities the other possessed. But as our marriage trudged along, we were becoming easily irritated and even began to dislike the things that once attracted us to each other. I was trying to change Kristen to think and act like me. She was trying to change me to think and act more like her. We kept pushing harder and harder to ‘fix’ the other person and it was like trying to push a boulder up a hill.

We finally came to the point where something had to give. We couldn’t continue living like this. We were not being the husband and wife God called us to be. We were not being the parents He called us to be. As we sat and talked late one evening, we both realized – almost simultaneously – that we could not, no matter how hard we tried, change the other person. We both wanted change, but the only person we could truly change was ourselves. Our own pride and selfishness had to be squelched if we were going to have the marriage we always dreamed of. So, we both decided right then and there to commit to changing ourselves and not the other person. We also needed to refocus our thoughts and actions on the things we loved about each other again.

We are broken and flawed people in need of remodeling. And if we’re truly going to make the necessary improvements, who better to model after than Jesus Christ. We need to love each other like Jesus loves us, to forgive each other like Jesus forgives us, to be patient, kind and gentle – all like Jesus. As we worked at becoming more Christ like, our marriage began to take shape. We still have our ups and downs, but when we focus on Him and not on ourselves, we get through challenges much easier. To this day, we are both still fixer-uppers, and God is the only true carpenter qualified to do the work needed in our lives. Who’s your carpenter?

Psalm 127:1 ~Unless the Lord builds a house, the work of the builders is wasted.

Together Time: Tell your spouse at least three qualities that attracted you to them.

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