Strengthening a Relationship in 2021

by Jennifer Greene-Sullivan

My lack of ability to sustain a functional marriage is not news to people who know me. In fact, I am more than confident several folks out in the periphery of my life actually revel in the fact that two out of three times I have FAILED at the venture of marriage.

Real Talk: Chris would probably say that he has been in the dog house more in the last 30 days than outside of it. Obviously, I should come to the realization that the most common factor in my lack of successful strengthening of my relationship is MYSELF.

What exactly is it that leads me astray down the path to enlightenment when it comes to strengthening my marriage? Often my sister-in-law and confidant (let’s call her “E”) has remarked that EXPECTATION is often the cause of people’s unhappiness. I am not sure I agree with the concept of expectation as a root cause for strife.

On the other hand, I have been called a woman of high expectation in reference to my career and to my personal endeavors; therefore, my TYPE A personality often impedes my ability to accept a lack of perfection. Could it be this issue of high expectation bleeds over into my personal life as well?

“Expectation is the root of all heartache.” William Shakespeare

I do believe that my upbringing and the upbringing of my husband also play an intricate role in how well we weather life’s many storms. Our spiritual well being and the strength of our value system also influence our relationship.

“Endure to Persevere, Baby!” Jimmy Greene

I have several questions: Can a man actually add a roof to a chicken coop within a two year period? Could a man replace a rotten step within six months of it rotting? Is it possible that this said man could put up the Christmas present (a metal swing) that he gave me FOUR Christmases ago? Would it be feasible for a man to have rotten siding replaced on our home before 2026 or have that siding painted?

I have pondered the fact that this man never lets the sun set on his concerns or needs, especially when he is doing an activity he enjoys (like farming or eating tasty cakes). However, my honey do list remains…untouched. Now, before you feel that I am being petty, I may very well be feeling some kind of way about these frivolous things.

Certainly, they are not more important than the well being of my relationship or the health of our children. These mundane things are the icing on the cake of the condition of my marriage. What lies beneath or inside the cake /situation is more pertinent to our lives together.

What lies beneath the surface? I have ruminated over this question for an entire week. God has helped to reveal the answer. My problem is simply: PRIDE. My prideful attitude has stilted my ability to be loving and to be forgiving inside several of my relationships, especially my marriage. I tend to be haughty and to expect situations to just go my way whenever I feel like they should. I am too idealistic when I need to be realistic and Christ centered.

What does the Bible say about “double mindedness”?

2Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, a whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 6But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.

James 1:2-8

Double mindedness, according to James Chapter 1 in the New International Version, leads to instability in all areas of our life. Pride has no place in the heart or mind of a believer.

James 4:6

But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

I have battled the effects of pride in my life and in my psyche. It’s this pride that separates me from God and from my husband. Ever since I was a little girl, I have always LOVED myself. Being confident is a strong quality, especially for young women, yet when does confidence become PRIDE? If I enter into praise and worship with the Father, yet if I am prideful (my flaw), I am unable to establish true communication and communion with Him.

My pride also keeps me from growing in my relationship with Chris. I have spent so much time in prayer in March and April asking to help me understand what MY MAIN ISSUE in my personality is that hinders my bond with my husband, or any other issue that keeps me from prospering. I get the same message each time I ask about that subject: PRIDE.

I like to believe the mere fact that I am aware of my shortcomings means that Chris and the Lord have not given up on me yet. I am a work in progress. I will continue to give myself over to the learning of unconditional love and behaving as one who knows what unconditional love really means.

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I am an English teacher, mother, and wife, but I love to write. I feel that I am blessed to be able to use my talent to write about my children's books, poems, short fiction, and parenting. Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have about my experiences with beginning a writing career while focusing on my children and my job. I look forward to comments and to hear from my readers!

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