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The List that Saved My Marriage

The List that Saved My Marriage

What an inventory of my husband's shortcomings taught me
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The day had come. I'd lasted as long as I could in my marriage. Once my husband, Bill, left for work, I packed a bag for myself and our 14-month-old son and left our home. It was the only year in our married life when we lived in the same town as my parents. Obviously the convenience of being able to run to Mom and Dad made my decision to leave Bill easier.

With a tear-stained, angry face, I walked into Mom's kitchen. She held the baby while I sobbed my declaration of independence. A washcloth and cup of coffee later, Mom told me she and Dad would help me. I was comforted to know they'd be there for me.

"But before you leave Bill," she said, "I have one task for you to complete."

Mom put down my sleeping son, took a sheet of paper and pen, and drew a vertical line down the middle of the page. She told me to list in the left column all the things Bill did that made him impossible to live with. As I looked at the dividing line, I thought she'd then tell me to list all his good qualities on the right hand side. I was determined to have a longer list of bad qualities on the left. This is going to be easy, I thought. My pen started immediately to scribble down the left column.

Bill never picked his clothes off the floor. He never told me when he was going outside. He slept in church. He had embarrassing, nasty habits such as blowing his nose or belching at the dinner table. He never bought me nice presents. He refused to match his clothes. He was tight with money. He wouldn't help with the housework. He didn't talk with me.

The list went on and on until I'd filled the page. I certainly had more than enough evidence to prove that no woman would be able to live with this man.

Smugly I said, "Now I guess you're going to ask me to list all Bill's good qualities on the right side."

"No," she said. "I already know Bill's good qualities. Instead, for each item on the left side, I want you to write how you respond. What do you do?"

This was even tougher than listing his good qualities. I'd been thinking about Bill's few, good qualities I could list. I hadn't considered thinking about myself. I knew Mom wasn't going to let me get by without completing her assignment. So I had to start writing.

I'd pout, cry, and get angry. I'd be embarrassed to be with him. I'd act like a "martyr." I'd wish I'd married someone else. I'd give him the silent treatment. I'd feel I was too good for him. The list seemed endless.

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April 16, 2014  10:16am

thanks for your willing and obedient to mom that now save some of your generation

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April 09, 2014  12:24pm

I'm going through the same thing as Dav. It has been very tough since my wife turned away from her vows and I am now in a limbo. I realize now that my life has always been guided by fate or God's will. I don't pray to Him for my wife to return. I pray that He gives her the strength to make the right decision for her life and not regret it. I love my wife with all my heart but if she has closed off her own heart, then I can only pray to God and ask Him to give her and me guidance through this tough time.

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April 08, 2014  11:51am

Dav- I am so sorry for what you're going through. Just remember that you can only control your own actions and if you approach the Lord with faith and a pure heart, the blessings he wants for you will come in His time. My brother is going through the same thing right now. His wife turned away from her faith and no longer sees the sacred covenant she made through marriage. My brother cannot turn her heart, but he can be a strong and humble servant and strive to be worthy of the Lord's blessings. I pray that He will ease your pain and that peace will come to you soon. "Faith in the Lord means having faith in His timing."

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