On our drive home from a pretty fun evening out with the kiddos, Ryan and I got into it. After sifting through my feelings of him being a jerk to me in front of our friends while he was thinking he was “helping” me he asked me, “Over the past few years, it seems like your default response to things, (situations, relationships, etc.) that you don’t like or feel uncomfortable with, is anger. You know there are other ways you can respond?”
Ugh, He Was Right…
Although I couldn’t have been angrier at the time he said it, deep down I knew he was right. My mind was logically thinking, yep, spot on Ryan, spot on. My heart was steaming with anger for his behavior toward me earlier that day and my body was physically exhausted. Having two kids under three is no joke!
In those moments of anger and frustration, my green monster (or as Ryan so lovingly puts it, “the Hulk”) comes out on a warpath, destroying everyone in sight.
Needless to say frustration and anger are not good defaults in a marriage (or as a parent). For whatever reason, the Hulk inside me grows and I get angry when I feel like I can’t handle things; when they are out of my control and/or when I have to face heated situations; or am simply defied or denied what I want.
Why can’t I laugh at a situation and make light of it? Why can’t I do what Daniel Tiger does when he feels so mad that he wants to roar (“take a deep breath…and count to four”) — where does this deep anger come from? Simply put: somewhere in my heart where I’m failing to fully believe the Gospel.
The Gospel v. The Hulk
Wait, what? How does the gospel connect to the Hulk in my marriage? Good question (I ask myself this daily) and here’s what I’ve found to be true thus far:
When the message of the gospel is filling my soul, it is a wrecking ball (in a good way!). It’s a type of “demo-day” (yes, I’m a Chip and Joanna fan) in my heart that destroys the walls of belief that lead me to think I am in control, I can do this on my own, I am unloved and unaccepted if I can’t do this (i.e. when I fail). Therefore, failure is not an option.
If you’ve ever felt this way: like it all relies totally on you… and no one, especially your spouse, can pick out the bad in you, because then it’s all going to fall to pieces.
My friends, let’s let those beliefs and feelings fall to pieces at the feet of Jesus. Understand that you will fall short in this life (Romans 3:23). And the only way to combat the Hulk in us and marriage is to remember his great love for us (Romans 5:8). Jesus knew this about us and still–STILL out of His great love he died so that we could live!
Let’s be wrecked by His great love and His mercies that are new every single morning (Lamentations 3:22-23)! Let’s trust that His wrecking ball of love combats and destroys the green monster not to create pain in our lives, but to redeem, restore and produce His fruit (Galatians 5:22-23) of love, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control in our lives.
How do I let His love wreck the Hulk in my heart?
Jesus explains it best in John 15:4-5,
“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”
Abiding in Christ –> Transformation
Abide; live, exist and simply be in Jesus. Understand and know that when you fail, He accepts and loves you. When the Hulk begins to take form, Jesus is greater!
As I type these words, please know that I am writing this to myself. I am learning how to relinquish control to the Creator of the universe and live, or abide, in the knowledge that I am completely accepted and fully loved.
How am I loved? Through what Jesus so lovingly did on the cross, in spite of the good, bad, and ugly that I have done (and will do in the future). That’s grace.
Friends, He died so that we could live – so that we could abide in Him and produce holy fruit on the ground where He slayed your green monster.
It’s only by faith in Christ that we can live and abide. He really is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6).
Wives, if you deal with anger like I do, run to Jesus in the middle of it. When you feel the Hulk taking shape, run to him and ask for help in believing and understanding how much he loves you IN THAT MOMENT.
Secondly, trust. Trust His grace and His Word more than your feelings at the moment. Emotions and feelings will fade, but His love for us…my friends, will never fade and it’s transformational to our very cores
Have you heard of the The 31-Day Pursuit Challenge?
Every marriage begins with passion, purpose, and pursuit, but few stay that way. That’s why we wrote Husband in Pursuit and Wife in Pursuit Together, they make what we’re calling the 31-Day Pursuit Challenge. Couples are encouraged take the challenge together. We’re already starting to hear stories of transformed marriages! Are you up for the challenge?