Written by: Roland and Tammy Martinez.
How would you describe the atmosphere in your home? Do any of these thoughts come to mind- Loving, peaceful, life-giving, a safe place? What factors influence that atmosphere? Is home a place where your biggest fans can’t wait to see you?
Early in our marriage, I honestly couldn’t wait to come home. Tammy and I enjoyed being together. Our apartment was all of 700 sq ft +/-. We’d get home on Friday, clean the apartment to ensure our weekend was free, and grab dinner together. The days we had free from responsibilities were few, so we took advantage of those to the fullest. Many times, making the 1.5-hour drive from Miami to Naples. It was in Naples that Tam and I spent most of our time while dating and loved to hit our favorite spots.
Good Intentions Don't Always Work
You may recall in other blogs we’ve posted that our first years of marriage were incredibly busy. We were zealous about any opportunity that allowed us to serve the Lord. But quickly found that our time management was lacking the margin to ensure true emotional and relational health that is so important. It didn’t take long for the busyness of our reality to cause an ever-so-subtle drift.
We knew neither of us were ever going anywhere, but there was distance. In the most difficult of times, we loved and trusted one another, but we found it challenging to close this gap that our drifting had caused. The realities were more than just the day-to-day responsibilities. The realities were legitimate struggles that Tammy and I just couldn’t reconcile.
One day, while we were on our back lanai (this is what the back porch was called in Ft. Myers), I had this great idea ... Remember that love song, “Everybody Needs a Little Time Away?” I thought that maybe, just maybe, what we needed was a little time away to reset. I said, “Tam, I’ll just go away for a couple of days to pray, and you don’t have to worry about me. Just watch our five children (the four girls and Cai, who was around 8 months old at the time), and I’ll cruise on out of here.” Genius, right? LOL!
I guess I really didn’t think that one through. Without hesitation Tammy says, “I don’t think that’s a good idea.” I replied, “Why?” and she said, “I might like that too much!” I. Was. Devastated. The last thing I ever wanted either of us to feel was that love, joy, peace, and all that is life-giving was absent or lacking in our home. A place where we would be each other’s biggest fans. I was definitely at fault.
The Real Goal
Galatians 5:22-23 smacked me right between the eyes. “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, meekness, and self-control. All these things are in Christ.” These nine expressions produced by the Holy Spirit in the life of a believer should be how we describe the atmosphere in every Christian home.
How is it that I relied on the Holy Spirit to guide my every move outside the home, but when I walked through the door, I would do more to quench the Spirit then to surrender to His work? Transformation needed to take place, and it wasn’t my spouse that needed to change, it was me.
I allowed way too many of my own selfish inner vows to disrupt the work of the Holy Spirit. As a result, the atmosphere of our home could not be described by those nine expressions given of a Spirit-filled believer.
Even though Tammy and I may have wanted “A little time away” we knew we needed to work this out. I knew that I wanted our time together to be life-giving! Today, there is no doubt we would describe our home as loving, peaceful, life giving, and a safe place to rest. We are far from perfect, but we're continually surrendering to the work of the Holy Spirit daily.
Doesn’t everybody needs a little time away? Maybe, but it won’t be because it might be easier without you. 🙂
Where do you start?
1. The Holy Spirit only dwells in the lives of those who have put their faith and trust in Jesus. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to God the Father except through Jesus. (Contact us if you want to talk through giving your life to Jesus)
2. Believer, it’s time to consider your own actions, demeanor, and disposition. Think through what your greatest desire for your marriage would be. Then what becomes the resistance in your own life that keeps that from being a reality. Emphasis here on relying on the Holy Spirit to bring personal change in your own life.
3. Be tender-hearted towards one another. When conflict takes place in marriage, we know, more often than we care to admit, we have wounded our spouse. Ask the Lord to give you a tender heart that accepts an apology and grants forgiveness.
4. Lastly, we know many relationships deal with unhealthy patterns. These lists we provide are never to be seen as “Three Ways to the Marriage of your Dreams” silver bullet.
5. Don’t hesitate to seek the objective help of a mentor, counselor, therapist or pastor if reconciliation seems out of reach.