25 Years of Evangelizing My Husband

Paula Hendricks has an absolutely compelling post over on the true woman blog titled “25 Years of Evangelizing My Husband.” As a pastor this is one of the most frequent and heartbreaking things that I encounter. Because of that I am exceedingly thankful for this article and I’m confident that I will be using often to encourage women walking through this valley. Here’s are a few excerpts:

The nest would soon be empty. As was our marriage.

We had our roles down pat. I was the aggressor, bordering on a plate thrower; he was the passive aggressor, master of the silent treatment. We pressed each other’s buttons with heartbreaking regularity.

Over the years I constructed a compelling case of “he did’s”—stories I relayed to accommodating girlfriends. Mind you, I did this strategically. Prayer groups were preferred. There I got head nods—even a prayer on my behalf. Please change him.

My own prayer life was all about change (meaning, him). Clearly, God was sympathetic to my cause. I was David in the psalms unjustly treated by Saul. I was Joseph imprisoned for my faith. I was on my way to martyr status.

Why then, being so unjustly treated, so right, was I so miserable? And, for all my Bible verse quoting, why was my spiritual life so stagnant?

You see, my husband is not a believer . . . a fact I routinely brought before the Lord and prayer partners. During our twenty-five years of marriage, I had purchased countless books and CDs with titles such as Beloved Unbeliever. Yet, my daily prayer, Please change his heart, had gone unanswered.

Not, however, because of a lack of evangelism on my part. I left tracts on our coffee table and upped the volume on sermon CDs.

On Sunday mornings I would tear up. If only my husband was sitting next to me at church. If only he would thumb through a Bible. If only he could hear this sermon. From my balcony view, I would glare at the backs of other husbands, arms draped over their wives’ shoulders. Surely these husbands led nightly devotionals, volunteered at Vacation Bible School, and prayed before meals. If only . . .

Inevitably my mind would drift toward a vision, twenty-five years in the making. My husband and I would be called to the pulpit to share our story. I would smile through humble tears as he would credit me for my contagious Christianity. His testimony would highlight my years of faithfulness: attending Bible studies, teaching Sunday School, rising at 5 a.m. to seek the Lord. The applause would be deafening. Maybe we’d write a book. A video series perhaps…

Looking at the negative aspects of my marriage had only produced despair—twenty-five years of whining to God about my righteousness in journals that I have since destroyed. Even Christian therapy had been reinforcing my case of “he-did’s.”

The truth is, I was the one who needed to change.

So, if I ever get called to a pulpit to give a reason for my despair giving way to joy, I will take the microphone with a humble heart. After all, it was my negativity that impeded marital intimacy for all those years. No more. The joy I now feel at waking up next to this man rivals that of any newlywed.

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March 25 2013 04:00 am | Blog

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