Building the Right Walls in Your Marriage
It happens slowly. One small stone at a time. Oftentimes it’s not a brick that starts a wall, it’s a tiny stone.
One day we are newlyweds, madly in love with one another, and then the next thing we know we’ve got walls built around us and we hardly know who our spouse is any longer.
I never thought I would understand the struggle of wanting to leave, until one day I felt it. I can remember the moment, the place, and the emotion. Sitting in my bedroom, listening to the baby monitor of my tiny human asleep in his crib, I thought, “Would I be better off doing this alone? Can I really live like this forever? What if things don’t get better?”
The thoughts shocked me. How did I get here? What had happened to the years of romance and love? Who were we now?
Have you been there? Have you thought those thoughts too? Please, for the love of all things, don’t tell me I’m the only one.
Truly, I didn’t want to do this life alone. I didn’t really want to leave my husband. I just didn’t know how to get out of the mess we were in.
Now that we’re out of those self-imposed walls, these memories of how I once felt don’t bother me anymore—they challenge me. They force me to remember the walls we built up around our hearts, and the work it took to tear them down. And it keeps me on guard to not pick up stones.
That’s where I went wrong. I was prepared for my marriage to be attacked by big bricks—you know, those massive struggles you guard against. So I wasn’t watching for the little stones—those little offenses, short words or unmet expectations. Slowly, one little stone would get picked up and placed on top of another. One little hurt piled on top of another. Before I knew it, my heart was barricaded by a wall my husband couldn’t get through.
I was so afraid of being hurt again I stopped all love from getting through.
So if you’re reading this and find your heart has a wall built all around it, take heart, the stones can come down. God wants so much more for you than a barricaded heart.
And if you’re reading this and you’re not here …oh, girl, be on guard for the little stones.
I believe these little offenses, these stones, are the same thing spoken about in Song of Solomon chapter 2, “Catch the foxes for us, the little foxes that spoil the vineyards, for our vineyards are in blossom.”
The little things, when compounded over time and through stress can oftentimes take us down harder than the big things.
So how do we tear down these walls?
- Stop trying. This is the struggle that kept me from living beyond the walls for so long. I kept trying to take down the wall myself. I kept attempting to move beyond the pain. Ignore the hurt, bury the struggle. I tried to do it in my own power and found myself lacking each and every time. And on top of that, every time I would take one stone down I would end up putting two back up. And the wall inevitably kept growing.
The truth is, if we want to live beyond the wall, we have to stop doing all the things in our own power. Only God can heal our hearts. Only God can break down the wall.
God’s love is perfect. His love is powerful. His love is healing. When we fully accept, submit and are healed by His love first do we become capable of loving and living free of the stones. Jesus never picks up a stone. When we learn from Him we learn to live beyond the stones.
- Release the rubble. Once walls begin to crumble, the instinct we have with pain is to pick it back up. It’s the sick and twisted part of sin. We become free from it’s grip and then are enticed to return to it.
It can be easy to see those stones on the ground once the walls begin to crumble and edge our way back to those little stones of offense and pick them back up again.
Leave the sin on the ground. Let the rubble rest. Leave it alone. Walk away from the stones. Let God be God. Let God deal with the offense. God sees all the sin done to us and all the sin we do to our spouse. As much as we have been hurt, we have also hurt. And if we don’t want God to throw stones at us, we have to stop throwing stones at others.
When walls fall down it makes a mess. And the mess can scare us. But it is here, in the mess, that God begins to make things new. He has to be the one to sweep things away and start fresh. Release the rubble of the walls into His care and trust His good and perfect love for us.
- Build the right walls. Walls aren’t actually a bad thing. We need walls. They are our defense mechanism for survival. The problem is we often build the wrong walls. Satan wants our walls to be built with stones labeled by the offenses and pain. He wants our struggles, sin and shame to be ever in front of us, so that every step we take, every wall we see is marked by the struggle.
Scripture has a very different take on how we are to use stones. In Deuteronomy 27:1-8, as Moses is preparing the people for entering the Promised Land, he tells them to cross the Jordan and build an altar of stone and write God’s laws on the stones. The altar of stones was to be a reminder of all God had done for them.
Stones are powerful, and when we build walls with stones of God’s goodness and our thankfulness we build walls that become a barrier from the enemy.
Instead of picking up stones of offense we need to pick up stones of Truth. We must build walls of prayer instead of pain. We must barricade our homes with the spirit of peace instead of the spirit of offense.
When we learn to live in the power of God’s love, transformed by His presence, and build the right walls around our marriage, we begin to live in the sweet spot of love that God intended for us to enjoy. It’s not without a lot of work, a lot of forgiveness, and a lot of prayer, but it is absolutely possible. If God can do it for me and my mess, then sweet one, I am absolutely confident He can do it for you.
Wife step: Consider the walls you have built around your heart and marriage.Are they walls built by the stones of offense? If so, take some time today to lay down those stones at the foot of the Cross. Ask God to penetrate your heart with His love and begin to teach you how to live and walk in His truth and love today.
Father God, Your love is perfect and casts out all fear. Help me to stop picking up stones of offense and help me to rebuild my life with walls built by stones of truth.
Natalia Drumm is a writer, speaker and teacher with a passion for building community and engaging women in the Word of God. She is married to her high school sweetheart, and they are raising three little boys in their home town of North Port, FL. Natalia and her husband serve in their local church as marriage small group leaders and life group coaches. They have a passion for healthy marriages as they have seen the restorative power of God in their own marriage and family.
Natalia is an assignment writer for Lifeway Women and serves as the Bible Study Content Editor at Living by Design Ministries. She also volunteers at Proverbs 31 Ministries on their proofreading team and leads a COMPEL Discovery Group. Natalia writes over at www.nataliadrumm.com where she creates devotional study books on issues relevant to womanhood and living in the fullness of God’s design for womanhood.
When not writing, or serving at church, Natalia spends her time running, reading and enjoying a good Netflix binge. She’s also not be one to turn down a cold Coke and hot chocolate chip cookie.