By Kristin Delaney
The dictionary describes transformation as “change in form, appearance, nature or character.” The visual that always comes to mind for me is of a butterfly. I marvel at how something like a caterpillar can hide itself away one day and then some time later re-appear as something so beautiful and so very different. The big miracle to me is that it started out crawling and now can fly. WOW, the wonder of nature. And this is how I see the word transformation in my life.
From my introduction you got a few snippets of my life: I told you I would discuss what the word transformation means to me. My personal transformation and the transformation of my marriage are intertwined.
Our marriage is a vital component in our lives. But for many years we were not interested in working at it. I don’t even think the word work ever entered our minds as something connected to marriage. You get married, you live life, and the marriage just works itself out. Those were my exact thoughts but, as I found out later, my husband was having some thoughts of his own.
Growing up, my sisters were all much older and most were out of the house by the time I could toddle. I was the spoiled child and I brought that into my marriage. I didn’t cook, didn’t do laundry, didn’t iron, and anything else that falls into that category. I believe, but do not know this for a fact, that many households share these responsibilities. That wasn’t the case in ours. He did it. And not out of the desire to do it but out of necessity, since I refused. Our biggest struggle was over the dishes. We agreed to the rule: You get it dirty you clean it. Simple enough, but this is me we are talking about. I kept thinking I would get to it later. And when later came, the sink was full and he washed them.
I was on a long road to maturity in all areas of my life, but I was focusing on my spiritual life. I was reading an amazing book (I can say that now) that had great effect on my floundering marriage: “A Wife After God’s Own Heart” by Elizabeth George. She gave great advice and easy-to-follow steps toward transforming my heart to where it should be. Off self.
Elizabeth George’s book helped me to see just how selfish I was being. She mentioned doing one act that was not my norm and to continue doing it until it became habit. I chose the unthinkable, the dishes. The first night my husband came home he thought I hadn’t eaten all day because there were no dishes in the sink. The next night and then the next, his thoughts changed to “I wonder what she wants.” After a few weeks of doing the dishes the book had me add one more thing, so I added laundry. I kept going at this rate for about three months before my husband finally asked, “Who are you and what have you done with my wife?”
Here is when our marriages true transformation began, because he reciprocated. When he realized I was not out to get something and I was committed to helping out, he wanted to do more himself.
Years later in our home group, we were sharing our story and he said that he had been considering divorce. I leaned over and whispered in his ear, “Honey, you have never mentioned that to me before.” His face turned a bit red and he said, “Really? I was sure I had.”
You see we’ve made communication the vital piece in our marriage. We had discussed our past, the rocky points of our marriage, to the point of exhaustion. We wanted to be sure that no hurt stone was left unturned. But somehow this little piece was missed. I wasn’t hurt by his admission or that it had not been mentioned before to me. I was proud that he was speaking freely to others about our marriage. We believe in the possibility of marriages coming back from the brink since we have lived through it. We also know from living in this world that not all marriages turn out like ours did. But if we can give one glimmer of hope for transformation in another’s marriage, then it is worth sharing.
Our marriage, like my life thus far, is that caterpillar’s transformation into the butterfly. Though that butterfly may make no other significant changes throughout the rest of its life, ours will. We are far from perfect but at least now we are both working on it together.