My wife and I fought a lot early in our marriage. 
My wife would get emotionally tense and attempted to fix the problem. I will then grow cold, pouty, and distant as I tried to avoid the issue. “You said that, you said this, yada, yada, yada… etc” went on-and-on. What I did was I will emotionally be off and be distant. I would wait for my wife to make irrational comments and I will nit-pick her statement and start doing fact check on the argument that was made. I would come up with theories to justify my own self-juxtaposition. In the midst of the coldness and distance, I would explode over the silliest things that didn’t even really matter.
The relationship was bad. Something needed to be fixed and I had no idea what to do. Went to counseling thinking, I didn’t say this verbally but I thought in my mind, “Baby, you got to start fasting and praying. Repent girl! Whatever the counselors tell you to do, do it! He will tell you the thing I’ve been telling you this whole time.” She needed to be fixed as I was obviously the right one who was a hard worker, did everything for the kingdom sake as I was a “good guy.” As we begin to meet with the counselors, I realized half way that, it was I that needed help and I was the problem. We talked about real heart problems. Six times in the counseling sessions it was the turning point and was a game changer.

Here are three things how God saved my marriage.

  1. Over-Romanticized Marriage
    The way I viewed marriage, the way I viewed my spouse; certain ways that I have created this unrealistic expectation for her that was never intended to be by God. Marriage wasn’t created to complete each other’s need, but God created marriage to complement each other to point both of us not at each other, but to Jesus himself. As John Piper from his book, The Momentary Marriage puts it, “Marriage Lived for the glory of God.” It wasn’t about us. It is all for the glory of His name and displaying the glory to the nation through our marriage. (Ephesians. 5:22-33). I looked to my wife to give me something that was never intended in the first place that she couldn’t give to me. As John Newton who penned the words most famous hymn in history, “Amazing Grace How Sweet the Sound” said it well, my wife and marriage had become an idol of security. I begin to look to her as my spouse for what has only already been given in Christ.
  2. Insecurity of Personal Manhood
    “Why don’t you respect me? Why don’t you support me?” as I said those words, there I would make arguments based on my theories of arguments that seemed to make sense in my mind. My wife then thought she was the cause of the problem. She would try even work harder to please me to get her act together which was downward spiral like a rabbit hole of misery and shame that was never ending. I realized it was my insecurity of my own identity that I tried to get from her that was only found in Christ. There was no confidence that I was abiding nor rooted in the Christ (John 15:4; Ephesians 3:17; Colossians 2:7), which I needed to repent and turn to Christ for forgiveness and assurance (1 John 1:9).
  3. Christ as my Sufficient Provider
    I remember one time we were just talking, and I got hurt from a statement she made while we were driving in our vehicle. I began the same thing as I usually did, made an accusation against for X, Y, and Z; which were really all silly things that made no sense. My wife being gracious and full of compassion from the Lord extended her hands and lovingly reminded me, “I don’t know what’s going on hon. But, I’m not your enemy, I am here for you.” It hit me like an avalanche crushing my soul; God revealed unto me of my own wrongdoing as she clearly demonstrated Christ-like love and resembled to me what I was doing was absolute contrary to how Jesus loved sinners. I was then able to connect the dots of what Paul mentioned in Ephesians 5:25 of, “Husband, love your wife as Christ loved the church.” Jesus obedience on the cross and his substitutionary atonement begin a redeeming work upon my heart as a follower of Christ in true biblical manhood as a husband.

The Beauty of the Covenant Marriage It wasn’t her who needed counseling, it was I, Jonathan Hayashi who needed counseling. I was the one who need fixing of open heart surgery of my sinful pride. I was the one who was prayerless, God-less, church less, Scripture-devoid and wanting something that my wife couldn’t give. It was in Christ that was given all that I have ever needed.

To say that I am grateful for my wife is a gross understatement. She continues to show me grace, patience, kindness, and love. Words are not enough to even begin to describe how grateful I am for my wonderful wife, mother of our children, my dearest friend, and my closest companion. She has shown and supported me with her steadfast love and causes me daily to want to walk and grow more in Christ-likeness.

God has placed her in my life to realize I didn’t have it all together. It is an ongoing growing transforming relationship by the grace of God. Simply by the grace of God, Christ has used my wife to strengthen me, grow me, equip me more than any person has on this planet earth to be a better husband.

God saved my marriage not by fixing my wife’s problems, but by helping me see how wicked and sinful my heart was in need of conforming more in the likeness of Jesus.

Jonathan Hayashi, Ph.D.

Biblical Counselor

Dr. Jonathan Hayashi has a B.A. of Pastoral Ministry, M.A. of Congregational Leadership, and a Doctor of Educational Ministry. He presently serves on the Executive Committee at Southwest Baptist University (Bolivar, MO) and on the Board of Trustees at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Jonathan is a contributor for the bi-weekly journal, Pathway (Missouri Baptist Convention), and is the author of Ordinary Radicals: A Return to Christ-Centered Discipleship, as well as Making Lemonade: Turning Past Failures into Gospel Opportunities. Jonathan is a level II-certified biblical counselor with the ACBC.He and his wife, Kennedi, have four children: Kaede, Seiji, Anna, and Ren.
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