Marriage, Blindfolds and Old Friends

Marriage, Blindfolds and Old Friends via www.raisingupstones.com

Old Friends

Growing up, I had the privilege of being raised in a church that taught me well! I am eternally grateful for the lessons learned, Bible scriptures memorized and the life long friends I was given. One of those friends was our pastor’s son, Jonathan Hoover. I’ve known Jonathan since I was four years old. I’ve watched Him grow through many stages in life including musical talents, friends coming and going, school age crushes and oh, those embarrassing summer camp stories! There was always one thing I, without a doubt, knew about Jonathan. I knew God had something big for him!

I had the privilege of watching him walk down the isle with one of our childhood friends and saying I DO to forever with Wendy. I’ve watched through social media as his two daughters were born and as they grew into the beautiful little ladies they are now and I have watched with joy as God has used Jonathan to minister to so many at Newspring Church, the church where we first became friends and he tortured me with stories of his beloved stradivarius! Now, it is an honor to have read the book he wrote concerning the challenges we face as couples in marriage. I was right, God did have something big for him!

Blindfolds in Marriage

When I purchased His book , I knew it would be good but I mainly wanted to read it to give him my support. Little did I know that God would use this book in my life and shine light on the issues I too face in marriage. Right away I started highlighting paragraphs and sentences as I shook my head in agreement. My first Highlight was this :

“It’s possible that during your marriage you’ve struggled to really understand where your spouse is coming from and maybe they’ve struggled to ‘see’ you, too.”

I’m sure if we were all honest, we could agree to this! Almost every day I find myself misunderstanding a motive or a comment from my husband or vise versa.  Jonathan then brought out Proverbs 29:18 Where there is no revelation, people cast off restraint; but blessed is the one who heeds wisdom’s instruction.  Basically,  when something hinders our vision things can get wild and that is where THE BLINFOLDED MARRIAGE comes in!

The Blindfolded Marriage 2

Moving through the first chapter you will read about how we need to get rid of the old understandings of our spouse and stop labeling them. I love the fact that there are real life stories that the author writes about from couples he has personally counseled and also including his own moments in marriage that he and his wife have worked through together. These events helped me think back to occasions my husband and I have faced that were similar.

What Do They Need

Turning the pages of  the next chapters, you will read about details into the needs of your spouse. First off, your spouse needs trust. This is probably one of the biggest needs of mine personally and Jonathan hit the points head on.

 Your words have power. If they are true, your spouse is learning to trust you. If they are false, your spouse is learning not to trust you. It’s as simple as that.

Your spouse also needs you to be there for them. You can’t just say it, you need to really prove it. Genesis 2:18 (NLT) says Then the Lord God said, ” It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.” Jonathan explains this verse and how the word “helper” means support system.  We were created to be so much more than just the one who brings home the money or makes sure the laundry is done and food is on the table when they get home. A support system! How powerful!

As you dig deeper you’ll read of how Your spouse needs your comfort, your support and your acceptance. Some statements I highlighted and grew from in these chapters are:

“Many times your spouses pain will involve you but will not be about you.”

“If you ignore the pain your spouse experiences, you leave them to face it alone. And loneliness defeats the purpose of marriage.”

“If you take ‘perfect’ off the table, and realize that part of being human is not doing everything right, you have the potential to see the good in yourself and in your spouse.”

Comfort, support, and acceptance. Such simple needs yet we lose site of why and how these are important for our marriage to be successful and fulfilling. Jonathan asked the question, Are you your spouses fan?  I have asked myself this many times since reading this book. Does my husband feel like I am his biggest fan? Does he know that I am cheering him on? He should! It can’t be forgotten that he doesn’t know what I am thinking. He only knows what I am saying! (more great insight from the author!)

As we make our way through chapters seven and eight, the topics of respect and desire are brought to light. Your spouse needs your respect and desire. Respect their uniqueness (remember that quirk that you thought was so adorable when you were dating and now it just annoys you?!?), respect their intentions, respect their limits. I have to stop for a moment on this last one. Respect their limits. This made me think about something I had never thought of. I have to learn where the “line” is for him and become the guardian of that line. In other wards, I need to be the one who guards his boundaries….not the one who tries to cross them. What a thought!

Desire. Isn’t it nice to be desired and to know that you are priceless to someone? Many key points were made on why this is and how we make our spouse feel desired but this statement hit me hard.

Distractions have the abilitly to rob you of life's greatest blessings

Am I letting distractions affect how desired my spouse feels…(ahheemm, my cell phone?)

 

Minefields and Greenhouses

Reading through the last two chapters, the author writes about  minefields in our marriage, otherwise known as triggers. He lays out how we can map them and how they got there in the first place. Oh, how many times have I kept stepping on the “minefield” only to watch the argument explode into so much more. Truth is, as Jonathan stated, “behavior always follows belief.”

Scientific theory states that once we come to a certain belief (like “my spouse doesn’t really care how I fee”) we will pay attention to evidence that proves our belief correct, and ignore evidence that may prove us wrong.

Have you been there before?

The last chapter may have been my favorite of all! There was a metaphor he used in this last chapter that just tied it all together for me and inspired me to take what I read and apply it to my life. Not to worry about if my husband would do the same or be the spouse I needed him to be but to become who God was calling me to be.

“This book strongly encourages you to invest your energy in becoming the spouse God wants you to be. In doing so ,you create a marital greenhouse- an optimum environment for you spouse to grow and respond.”

“The best way to look at your personal growth process in your marriage goes something like this: ‘I want to grow to become the kind of spouse God designed me to be, so that I can create the optimum environment for my spouse to grow with me if they so choose.’ The key is this; Stop trying to grow the plant and start building the environment.”

This book was packed full of clear yet effective truths for my marriage and for what God has planned for the relationship between my husband and I. At the end of each chapter there is a prayer from the author which led me to pray my own prayers to God for my spouse and for hope and strength in our union together. Not only is there prayer but Jonathan references many scriptures where you can find his writing and counsel are very Biblically based.

Basically…

To sum it all up…I LOVED THIS BOOK. I have just recently started enjoying reading. It was never something I embraced at all but as I am doing my best to grow as a wife, mother and child of God, I find that reading brings encouragement and inspiration. This book was not overwhelming at all for me. It is 10 chapters of reasonable length yet I found myself wishing there was more!

The good news, Jonathan Hoover is looking to release a new book next year! You can be sure I will be back with a review as soon as I read it!  In the mean time, Go purchase The Blindfolded Marriage. You can find it here. and you can follow Jonathan through his writings on his Facebook page along with his website, www.blindfoldedmarriage.com When you read the book, let me know what you think! I’d love to hear your thoughts!

 

 

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