Ever since I posted yesterday about loving my husband, God has been nudging my heart to encourage any of you who might have read that and had to deal with a bout of jealousy. I remember quite clearly a time in my life when I looked at some of my friends, and even others who I didn't really know, and started down the slippery slope of comparison. There was a time when I was quite UNhappy in my marriage, and we almost blew apart. (To read that story, go to the July archives...the post is titled 'crocuses in march'). At that time I would look at so-and-so and think "Her husband is so romantic," or "Her husband buys her nice gifts all the time!". The mind that is given free-reign to follow our fleshly desires nose-dives very quickly!! Allowing myself the guilty pleasure of coveting (that's right, that's exactly what it is when you allow yourself to focus on wanting what someone else has - check out Commandment #10) got me into hot water in no time.
But God saved and restored my marriage, and it is better today than ever! Not because Todd took a course in Romance 101 or because I lost 30 pounds and turned into Betty Crocker. No, it's because we stopped looking at each other, in our failings, and at others, in our perception of their perfection, and started looking to God. We started looking to Him to meet our needs, especially in the areas we were trying to get filled from each other (unsuccessfully), and found that when we looked more to God than each other, amazing things started happening. See, we were both trying to draw from an 'dried-up well' and getting very frustrated at coming up empty all the time. We had nothing for each other. But once we started letting God 'fill our tanks' we were both able to have something to offer the other.
We started asking God to give us a 'faith-vision' for the other one; I asked God to give me a picture of how HE saw Todd, and I began praying those things for Todd. As part of a marriage ministry course we took, we each wrote down one of these 'faith-visions' for each other and for a period of time really prayed them. Over time we gradually moved on, and forgot to be consistent with this; a few years later I came across what I had written and read over it. Amazingly, all the things I had written/prayed for Todd from that time were now realities in his life. God is always true to His word.
Today, I have a wonderful, thriving marriage, but it is certainly not because of what Todd and I initially brought to the table the day we got married. Instead, it's because we tried relying on those things in the beginning, and when they eventually failed, we finally gave them to God and let Him work wonders. And believe me, it's not like we don't have our 'bumps in the road' - sometimes we not only hit bumps, we hit craters!! But we've learned to rely on God's faithfulness and are much quicker now to run to Him when we create a mess and let Him fix things for, and in, us.
All this to say...if you are less than satisfied with your marriage, your spouse, or yourself - take heart!! I know from personal experience that God can take the most bottomed-out wreck and make it a masterpiece - if you let Him.