What can a man do to repair his marriage
By: The John Ankerberg Show
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|Though the sexual needs for women are far different from men’s, they may be more dangerous. When does an affair begin? How can you guard your mind, heart, and body against sexual and emotional compromise? How do the media, novels, music, fashions, Internet chat rooms, and body and beauty obsessions influence young women?
Copyright: 2007, Number of Programs: 4, Cat. No. CFW
Keywords: Counseling, Mutual submission
- Ankerberg: What are the steps that you took when you analyzed your marriage? What did you have to correct?
- Stoeker: Well, the first thing I did was I recognize, you know, there is more to this than what I thought. I had thought we had been having some philosophical differences, but what I realize when she came to me and said, “My feelings for you are dead,” that there was a lot more here than what I understood. And so the first thing I recognize is that I am probably not seeing very well. And so I gave her a blank check. And I said, “Brenda, you and I are at a crossroads. I don’t understand what you think; you don’t understand where I am coming from. Let’s go to the pastor, in fact, let’s pick Ron because Pastor Ron is one that he knows us a little but he doesn’t know us that well.” And I just said to her, “Look, whatever he said, I will do.”
- And she was shocked to get a blank check like that, but she was very overjoyed because she knew what he was going to say to me and that he was going to tell me the truth. Even though she didn’t know him that well, she knew that any pastor would have to tell me the truth. And so she was very happy to go.
- And the thing that really started to change our marriage was when I went in there, he made some statements to me about something called mutual submission, where there is a role for men to play where I need to make room for her and who she is in the marriage, not just my thoughts and my ways. And I had never considered that thought before. So as that began to percolate in my mind, then something else happened when we got home. And that is that I got right on the phone, because Ron had told us that what I needed to do was get right on the phone and call each of my two sisters and my mom and tell each one of them, “Look, I am getting down on Brenda’s side of the fence. I am not going to sit on the fence in the middle anymore. She is mine, this is it.” And I remember I had said I would do anything. And so I went home, I didn’t do anything. Took my shoes off probably, and then picked up the phone and I called all three of them and I told them just exactly that.
- And she said that as I made those phone calls that began to change everything about who she thought I was. Because she could see that I did love her more than I loved anything else, and that I was willing to make that stand for her, and that I would make a promise like that and actually keep it for her. And so from that moment on our whole marriage shifted and we began a climb into a very positive place.
- Ankerberg: Yeah, but you also said that your feelings were dead too, and yet you still did it. You took a new look at the word cherish and you realized you weren’t cherishing her. How did you get the motivation to say, “Even though I don’t feel this, I am going to do this?” And then when did the feelings come back?
- Stoeker: Well, the feelings, the motivation, came through scripture and also from my dreams that I believe God placed in my heart for marriage. And the one thing was that I wanted to have a marriage that was successful and would last on and on. And so that gave me motivation to look at new things.
- But in terms of the cherishing, I saw a passage of scripture back in 2 Samuel where there was a warrior called Uriah and his wife was Bathsheba. Now, while Uriah was off at battle fighting the King David’s battles, she was taking a bath on the roof. David saw her and they had a sexual affair. And then what David was trying to do was to get him to come home, have some way to, you know basically get him with his wife so it would look like the baby was his and then he could send him back to battle, and then when the baby came, nobody would know that it was David’s.
- Well, the thing that was amazing about Uriah was when he came home he got drunk. David got him drunk so that he would go do that. But his commitment to the King was so strong that even when he was drunk he was still doing the right thing by his king and by his wife. So in the end David couldn’t pull this thing off and he ended up having to kill Uriah.
- The thing that was amazing then in the follow up is that when the prophet came then to talk to David about this, he talked about the fact that Uriah’s only great possession was his ewe lamb that David had stolen. And it was that phrase, that Bathsheba was his precious ewe lamb, that changed my life. Because I began to understand that, look, I am not looking at Brenda like this. She doesn’t fall asleep in my arms while I am thinking oh what a wonderful person. I was starting to look at her as a witch, as a nag, as someone that wouldn’t give in to help make things work with my family. And I saw that there was a complete difference between the way Uriah saw Bathsheba and the way I saw Brenda. And I knew again that I needed to begin to say, “Look, she is who she is. I need to love her for who she is today, not for who I wish she was or who she will be tomorrow.”
- And it was in that attitude where I was then able to love her through some of the things that really even to this day I would say she wasn’t living up to what I would have expected. But I loved her through that and I loved her anyway. And in that process her feelings for me began to grow again because she saw that I was willing to sacrifice and rebuild and to love her in spite of those things. And that made it easy for her to love me in spite of the things that I had been. We were able to forgive and move forward.