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Beautifully Taken for Granted: Building Trust in Marriage

Who WANTS to be taken for granted? You’d probably have thought there was something wrong with me if you had walked into my kitchen two years ago late at night after a long day and found me giggling.

I was giggling to myself over a sink full of dirty dishes because after 9 years of marriage, countless hours of diligent sacrifice, my husband finally, beautifully, had taken me for granted.

I worked really hard to be taken for granted.

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That sounds really crazy, I know, but the reality is I never saw trust in marriage the way I do now. Let me tell you how being taken for granted was actually a sign of growth in our marriage.

I began working on our marriage a few years ago when I stopped nagging him to pick up his dirty underwear, and instead started praying over it. His empty toothpaste tube left on the vanity gets silently replaced. His lunch is quietly waiting each morning.

Our marriage was in a rough place after his last deployment. Out of the six years we had known each other, he had spent three of those deployed. The trials of war were a heavy burden that I didn’t know how to carry with him, and he didn’t know how to let me.

We tried to pick up and move forward, as if skipping over the missed year, but we had changed. I had spent a year just being a mom, and he felt like an outsider to our little all girls’ club. We didn’t really know how to overcome the abyss between us.

We had forgotten how to reach across the abyss. We needed to build trust.

Let me tell you, pretending the rift wasn’t there, wasn’t pretty. We were almost on the brink of disaster when Jesus began to intervene.

I wanted God to change my husband, who had returned from war angry and different. While, I prayed and prayed that he would change, I got angrier and more bitter when he didn’t. I sat all self-righteous on my pious side of the room, waiting for him to change before I would.

But God began a quiet work in my heart.

He answered my prayers for change by changing me. I began to see love, not as an emotion, but an active choice. I could decide to love him everyday.

Praying for my husband to change meant that God was working to change me first.

However, my husband didn’t trust that love. He wouldn’t ask me to do his laundry. He wouldn’t ask for help with even the littlest things, and seemed perturbed when I would offer, like depending on me was weakness.

Mostly, he didn’t see us as a team. He was running his own life and I was a corollary player.

To change his perception, I had to learn to be trustworthy, be willing to serve, be gentle instead of nagging, instead of shouting louder, get quiet. I had to serve him without complaining, joyfully. I had to ask him everyday – what can I do for you? And then do what he asked, even if I didn’t want to.



So, when he dragged himself to bed after an 18 hour day, leaving his cold, stale coffee in his thermos, his dirty lunchbox full of trash, and a pot simmering on the stove for me to watch, a midnight load of laundry to do, I almost got frustrated. Hey, I’m tired too!

but then I heard, God’s quiet voice, ‘what a beautiful blessing.’

I went to bed last night giggling to myself because after years of marriage, long months of hard work, my husband takes me for granted. I have worked really hard to be beautifully, taken for granted.

A blessing? beautiful? to be taken for granted?

Did I hear that right, Lord? YES! Yes, the fiercely independent husband who wouldn’t ask for help, didn’t want to need me, now relies on my help, and beautifully takes for granted that I’ll be there and do things for him.

Wow. I almost missed the sweetness of that moment. It had taken years of work to reach that point. And I am thankful God reminded me to see being relied upon as a blessing.

Our marriage that almost ended in bitterness and anger, is stronger than ever, full of laughter again.

Psalm 85:10 ESV  Steadfast love and faithfulness meet; righteousness and peace kiss each other.

Finding this verse from Psalms almost brought me to tears. Never could I have imagined my marriage in it, but the words leapt from the Bible into my heart.

I learned what steadfast love and faithfulness meant through seeking God’s righteousness, and peace began to reign in our household.

I never thought I would celebrate being beautifully taken for granted, yet on our 9th anniversary, the words, “I love you” were more poignant than ever, hearing him say, “I know” meant even more.

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Fairy Tale Proposal and Happily Ever After

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Eleven years ago today, I got pulled over by the sheriff. I couldn’t imagine then how one “traffic stop” would change my life.

In 2016, I was so excited to sit in the very spot of this momentous encounter with our sheriff with my daughter and watch this video of her daddy’s surprise return from Iraq which had a bigger twist than I realized.

I was stunned. I had no idea what was happening. Until I watched the reply, I wasn’t even sure what I said – on NBC, MSNBC and now YouTube!

Now I can say, even with all the challenges we have behind us and all the challenges we have before us, I would say YES again.

April 6, 2006 felt like an ordinary Thursday, not a Fairy Tale Proposal.

Today, reflecting on where we’ve been, I can see how much God has grown our marriage since that day. And we’re so blessed to have had it filmed to share forever, and have such a wonderful start to our lives together.

When the sheriff pulled me over, I couldn't imagine how this would become a fairy tale proposal. Click To Tweet

Struggling with a terrible surgery, disability, and recovery, I’ve had a really rough year. And my husband stepped up. Despite working early mornings, long shifts, and short weekends, he has selflessly given to me when he has been home to do so.

He has cooked and cleaned. Even shooing me away from doing chores a couple of times, he said, “I’m trying to take care of you! Would you just let me?!” Sometimes, in order to be a blessing, we have to let others be our blessing. And what a blessing it is to have someone offer to care for you not out of obligation, but out of love.

Sometimes in order to be a blessing, we have to let others bless us. Click To Tweet

I have felt my husband’s ‘thank you’ for all the times I’ve served him quietly, and I felt God’s love through my husband. Even in the worst moments of the past few months, I’ve had reasons to be grateful instead of complain.

Even in the worst times, I’ve had reasons to be grateful.

I live in a country which has wealth more abundant than 90% of the world can imagine. I have the luxury of being sidelined and sick because we have a stocked freezer and pantry. And internet to allow me to visit friends all over the world from my couch.

And my husband has sacrificed his time, his energy, and his hobbies to be home to care for me. He spent all day Sunday (during Turkey season!) making a gourmet feast because my being stuck on the couch for months we haven’t been able to go to our local Mediterranean restaurant for my favorite dish. So he made fresh from scratch fettuccine Alfredo with wood-fire grilled steak in a balsamic reduction sauce with fresh homemade bread. I know, I’m spoiled!



Why did I originally share this post on Veterans Day?

My husband is a soldier. He has served overseas many times in various capacities during his time in the Marine Corps and US Army. He spent four years of his life in Iraq, trying to defend our values and nation from those who spread hatred. While not untouched by war, he has come home alive and unhurt. Not everyone can hug their veteran today.

Also, Veteran’s Day is our wedding anniversary. We are celebrating 11 years of marriage this November. Six months prior to getting married, he came home from Iraq and surprised me with this outlandish proposal.

I thought I was getting arrested, but instead I was getting a fairytale proposal.

Military life isn’t easy. We can spend time complaining or be grateful. We live in a country so free people can scream from the top of their lungs ideas that are completely opposite of what our nation stands for, and a soldier will say, “but I fought for his right to say it.”

Eleven years ago today, I got pulled over by the sheriff. I couldn't imagine how one "traffic stop" would change my life with a soldier's fairytale proposal.

My marriage isn’t perfect, but it is growing stronger. We have enough. We have each other, a lovely home, and amazing kids. I get to choose my perspective. When I choose to focus on God, the complaints die away unsaid, my heart turns from bitter to blessed.

Every low moment in our lives is a chance for God to whisper His perspective into our hearts. Each small joy is a gift to us. Every challenge a chance to grow and overcome. Even in moments that destroy and devastate, God shows up. He is present, giving us rest, using people to love us.

I am supremely grateful for a husband who has given me so much, I honestly couldn’t think of anything I really want except to grow closer.

The fairytale isn't having perfection, it's having perspective, God's perspective. Click To Tweet

James 1:2-4 ESV  “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.”

I’m counting it ALL JOY, learning to be complete, realizing in Christ, I am truly lacking in nothing. And that is how our fairytale proposal turns in our Happily Ever After.

 

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