I Know A Man Who Changed #2

Picking up from the last post, when the spiral hits bottom and crises is upon us, we often do the wrong thing. Mark did some of that, but then he did a lot of things right. It went something like this.

It took years to get to the place they were in. All of those years had been keenly felt by Mark’s wife. He was clueless. Until now. She had finally summoned the courage to tell him exactly how she felt and how done she was. And he was finally in a place he could hear her.

Something Had To Change

Before, when she fought for his attention and understanding, he passed it off of her being sensitive or demanding. He didn’t see her pain. Now, when she had come to the place no Christian woman should ever come to, ready to leave him, he got the point. Something had to change.

When couples get to this point things don’t normally go well.

When a man’s eyes are opened, he can often start feeling the pain and make relatively quick changes, real changes. But women are slow to trust those changes, rightfully slow. He thinks she should believe he’s changed, she is not ready to accept that he could change so quickly. He gets frustrated, she sees his frustration as evidence that nothing’s changed. And so the spiral down continues.

In Mark’s case, he made all the classic mistakes before he called me. We talked about all of them and he was truly broken. God let him feel his wife’s pain. He was humbled and cried a lot, broke down in tears about every two or three sentences the first few times we talked. He didn’t want it to be too late, and he didn’t want to lose her.

Navigating The Pain

Piled on top of this crises was the drama of his wife’s third pregnancy. They had two little girls under the age of six and one on the way (a boy this time). What should have been a joyous time for Mark and his wife seemed to be an added burden. She was struggling with bringing a new baby into their marriage mess and he was trying to navigate all the newfound pain, regret, and despair he was feeling.

What can you tell a man in this situation? A lot, it seems. It sometimes takes me off guard how bad we are at relationships. The Bible is all about relationships, with God and man. And yet somehow in our churches and Bible studies we miss the basics. I know I did. I learned much too late in life how to successfully resolve conflict and love sacrificially.

Mark was much like I was. Learning late how to really love. So I was able to help him focus on the right things. 

focus on the things that are necessary for change.

The Key To Moving Forward

He was already broken so that took care of one of the items. But there were a few more that he needed to start working on if he wanted to successfully navigate what God was doing in his heart.

The first key for Mark, and I suspect for most men and women is to stop looking at the other party. Jesus said it best,

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” Matthew 7: 1-5

What Jesus was getting at is this – take care of your own sins and misconceptions – they are huge. Stop looking at the faults of others. Examine yourself deeply and ask God to point out your faults. Mark had fallen into the trap of noticing the things about his wife that irritate him and stopped looking at the massive sin problem he had to deal with.

Further Reading…

Once he read Chapter 4 in ‘The Disconnected Man’ titled, ‘Getting Sucked Into The Vacuum’ which describes the pain a woman feels with a disconnected man, he started seeing his sin and the agony he caused his wife. It crushed him. It made him feel like a monster. He never intended to hurt his wife this way. But there it was – the log in his eye.

What we talked about next was how to change and get rid of that log.