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Wakeup call
by H Sykes
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"Honey...How could you possibly have forgotten? It was the only thing I asked you to do today. Remember when you used to be so humble and quick to apologize. It was what attracted me to you in the first place," my husband, Nick said, in what he perceived to be a understanding tone of voice.

"I can't even remember you asking me! You are always so condescending! Why do I always have to be the one who is wrong and the first one to apologize?," I retorted angrily.

My husband, Nick looked at me and walked away. The result... one week of silence in the house. After three months of marriage, this had become the normal way in which our arguments ended. Horrid hurtful looks and silence. I deluded myself in thinking that the silence was better than a shouting match.

After the seventh day of giving each other the silent treatment, I was home alone and doing some tidying up. Our wedding video fell on the floor, and on impulse, I picked it up and popped it in the DVD player. Images of joy and happiness filled the screen...we were so right for each other. Were are both strong committed Christians, so certain that our marriage would be different. What went wrong?

I immediately went on my knees and started to cry out to God. The answer hit me suddenly. We had, like so many couples before us, begun to take each other for granted.

My mind immediately went back to the past two months of our marriage. I was not working at the time, and after a while my frustrations were beginning to show. I would make the effort to clean, wash and iron, mend torn garments, sort errant socks and cook, and my husband would return home seemingly oblivious of what I did for the day or the frustrations I faced. A simple question from him, like, "How was your day?," would sometimes spiral me into snippy snide remarks. He could not understand that the sheer tediousness of my daily tasks rendered the same answer to that question day in and day out. True he would often thank me for getting the meals and ironing his shirts, but after a while I felt these platitudes were not heart felt. This was definitely not how I imagined married life would be. Housework was was the thing I hated most, and it had become a way of life for me.

My frustrations caused me to under appreciate my husband, and try to make him feel as miserable as I felt. I did not care that he was working long hours to keep us clothed and fed. Instead, I cared about the clothes that missed the clothes hamper. I could not appreciate that fact that ever so often my husband surprised me with flowers or cards, but instead the wet towel on the bed consumed me. At times, as soon as he came home from work, he was bombarded with accusations from me of some minor thing he forgot to do. Often, I could very well have done that thing myself.
I had become a nagging ungrateful wife.

God had revealed to me that it was not my husband that was the problem, it was me. I needed to change. I called my husband immediately at work, and appologised for forgetting the pay the credit card bill as I had promised, and for the charges that had been incurred as a result.. I also apologized for my behavior and told him we needed to talk as soon as he got home.

When the doorbell rang later that evening, I opened the door and flew into my husband's arms. He led me to the living room, turned off the television and took my hands in his. I told him what God had revealed to me, and told him about my frustrations about not finding a job. I also asked him to be patient with me. I broke down and cried. Nick held me in his arms until the tears subsided. He gently dried my eyes and explained that during that week of silence, he had been doing a lot of praying and self searching, deciding that the change on our relationship coincided with the decline in our nightly devotions.

When we were newly wed, we had devotions at the same time every night, followed by a discussion about how we offended each other that day and what we could do to make things better. As I had a hard time finding a job, Nick had to work extra hours, and most times was too tired at night to have devotions. We therefore decided to change our devotional time till the mornings, while maintaining our discussion forum at night. We also made a heartfelt promise before God never to let things deteriorate to such an extent again.

Occasionally, we still slip up and let mundane matters get in the way of our happiness, but our recovery period is much faster now...minutes as opposed to days. I have learned that devotions strengthen marriages, and even the strongest husband needs a loving, supportive and encouraging wife. Treat your husband the way you want to be treated. After all, none of us is perfect.

May God bless and strengthen the marriage of all who read this article.

Read more articles by H Sykes or search for other articles by topic below.

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