I am a history buff. Specifically, the story of family. Right now, I’m in Finland. This lovely land is the country where my paternal grandparents were born and grew up.
Living in the United States, my grandmother spoke often of growing up in “the old country.” I can still hear her lilting Swedish accent in my mind. My grandparents, known as Swede-Finns, instilled a love of marriage, family, and heritage in me from an early age.
One recent discovery made me laugh out loud. I’ve always known my grandma as talented, smart, and strong. In my travels I learned more about my grandfather’s sisters. Guess what? They were talented, smart, and strong too! A common thread woven into my life—strong women. Guess I shouldn’t be surprised.
Why does discovering that matter to my marriage? And why does that matter to you?
This common thread is good and not so good.
It‘s good because, like those ladies, I’ve learned how to face challenges head on—for most part. My grandmother taught me that. She faced challenges with a deep faith in God and I watched her live out her faith every day. I live mine out too. That’s the good!
But there is a downside to this common thread—to being a strong woman, especially when it applies to marriage. My strength can overpower my husband. It can trample him without a backwards glance leaving wounds that may take years to heal.
Know thyself. They say that phrase was chiseled into the forecourt of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi in Ancient Egypt. Talk about history!
But let’s walk through this idea of knowing yourself and where you came from a bit further. (The walk may be bumpy like the cobblestone streets of our Swede-Finn journey. But like those narrow passageways, it leads to a wonderful place.)
2 Ways To Improve Your Marriage by Knowing Yourself:
1. Understand your blind spots.
When you take time to see the common thread’s potential downsides you are more likely to love your husband well.
As a strong woman, I tend to run over someone who gets in my way. When that happens, I cause destruction and exhibit disrespectful behavior. When I behave in this manner with words or actions, it drives a wedge between my husband and me. However, a strong woman who tempers that strength with grace and love uses that strength to build others up. That’s true strength.
What is one blind spot you see that you inherited? How does it have the potential to harm your marriage? How will exploring this together improve your marriage?
2. Acknowledge your woundedness.
A wounded woman is tempted to control. Anything and everything. Because she was unable to stop the wounding she attempts to control and stop EVERYTHING now. Don’t be a control freak. A strong woman who’s been wounded often resorts to control to deal with her pain. Your spouse doesn’t want it and it will eventually wear you out. If you want to control everything when do you let go and lean into God and His plan for your life?
It’s time to talk about that wound. If possible, talk it through with your husband to heal your relationship. This isn’t one and done. You may need to share bits and pieces of your heart so he can digest it as you open yourself up. The work will be worth it. It will improve your marriage. If you need to talk it over with a coach, counselor, or spiritual wise be friend first, do so.
It takes true strength to admit you are wounded. It’s not an act of the timid, but the strong!
Whatever you find your legacy to be, honor the good and be alert for the bad.
I actively seek ways to use my strong personality to create health in my marriage. But it wasn’t always that way.
Discovering your roots brings richness to your life. It can help you improve your marriage.
A challenge to improve your marriage:
Set aside some time to learn about your roots, your heritage. Look for clues to why you are the way you are. We all have something in our lineage to be proud of. We all have hand-me-downs that also have the potential to cause pain. Need some help finding out more? Reach out to relatives. Google it! Then discuss your new “self knowledge” with your husband.
What you discover could reveal some issues impacting your marriage. That’s okay. Use this as a way to grow stronger together–to improve your marriage. It’s a good thing.
Me? I’m off to learn more about me and my family by connecting with my past.
If you know there is pain and challenge in your past that you don’t want to plague your future, please reach out. I promise to listen without judgment and help you take the next step. I’ve gone through a lot with my depression and my husband’s addiction, so God’s given me the blessing of not judging others because of it. I’d love to hear your story. You can trust me with your pain. Let’s create a new legacy for you and your marriage. You could change the course of history!