By Jingxin, Hong Kong
A lot of people say that “marriage is the death of romance.” After getting married, once a husband and wife have been together for a long time, all sorts of issues crop up. Before my husband and I were married our feelings for each other were strong, so I thought that once we were married we would be supporting and understanding of each other. But who knew—we became unhappy from frequent arguments over trivial little things and it nearly pushed our marriage to its breaking point. But luckily I later accepted God’s work of the last days, and it ended up being God who resolved our issues as a couple.
Trivial Things Leave Us Estranged
After we got married, my husband would work from early morning to late at night to take good care of the household, and on top of holding down a job I was doing everything I could to take care of the housework. After getting off work I did every day I very carefully prepared our dinner, but my husband was stubbornly picky about everything I had made and would often complain that I was careless in its preparation. Hearing him say this left me feeling really wronged. “I worked so hard to make this food but you don’t have a single nice thing to say, even complaining that this is no good, that’s no good.” So, I often didn’t say a single word at the dinner table in a passive protest. When doing the dishes sometimes I’d purposely bang them against each other to let him know I was displeased. Surprisingly, he seemed completely unaware and would ask me what was wrong. Hearing this made me even angrier, and I thought, “Do you actually not know or are you just feigning ignorance?” Seeing him like that made me even more unwilling to talk to him, and then he was also at a loss when he saw that I was ignoring him. Just like this, a cold war developed between us because of these little things, and we grew more and more distant from each other.
I later discovered that he had no clue how to say sweet things. We had been married all those years, but he hadn’t given me a single gift on my birthday or our anniversary. I didn’t absolutely need him to get me something; even a simple, “Honey, I appreciate your hard work” would have been fine. Once when my birthday was approaching I said this to remind him: “My birthday is next week. How about we go do something fun?” But he replied, “Birthdays come every year. What is there to celebrate?” Hearing him say this, I couldn’t help but feel disgruntled: “Why did I get married to such a blockhead? We’ve been married all these years but you don’t get me at all.” Over time my biases against him grew and grew. Sometimes when he noticed I didn’t like chatting with him he’d try to think of some topics to discuss with me, but I was reluctant to acknowledge him, so I’d turn around and leave the room. Gradually, he stopped talking too and would just sit there by himself smoking. We had fewer and fewer things to talk about.
We also had different interests. In my free time I liked to play mahjong with friends, but since his father once lost all the family’s money gambling, he really hated that game. Every time I came back from playing mahjong he’d give me a dirty look. I felt really misunderstood and thought, “I don’t like going shopping and buying a bunch of stuff, going to beauty salons, going to karaoke with my friends, or having extravagant meals. I just go play a little mahjong for fun when I have the time, so why do you give me a dirty look every time?” Once he heard my phone ring and knew that I was going out to play mahjong and said harshly, “Couldn’t you just not go play mahjong?” My response was, “No way!” He then said a bit angrily, “Would it kill you to miss one game?” Unwilling to give in, I said, “I’m going.” We went back and forth this way and it turned into an argument. As we went on and on I got really riled up. When I thought about how all those years my husband had never been understanding or forgiving of me—just once would have been enough. Thinking about all of this left me feeling incredibly depressed, and all those years of resentment pressing down on my heart all seemed to burst out at once. I lost all reason and ran straight for the balcony railing. Seeing me in such a state, he rushed to hold me back. In that moment the air seemed like it had turned solid and I started crying. Not knowing what to do, he just sat there smoking.
In the days that followed we argued a lot. The truth was that we still cared about each other in our hearts and neither of us wanted our marriage to fail, but both of us felt helpless. Over that period of time I kept thinking that both of us just want to have a good life, so why can’t we get along?
Understanding the Root of the Pain and Finding a Path of Practice
In my pain and helplessness, a friend shared God’s work of the last days with me. When this sister learned about the problems between me and my husband she read this passage ofs for me: “In the beginning, I created mankind, that is, I created mankind’s ancestor, Adam. He was endowed with form and image, brimming with vigor, brimming with vitality, and was, furthermore, in the company of My glory. That was the glorious day when I created man. After that, Eve was produced from the body of Adam, and she too was the ancestor of man, and so the people that I created were filled with My breath and brimming with My glory. … They were mankind’s ancestors, man’s pure and precious treasure, and, from the first, living beings endowed with spirit. However the evil one took the progeny of mankind’s ancestors and trampled on them and took them into captivity, plunging the human world into complete darkness, and making it so that the progeny no longer believe in My existence. Even more abominable is that, even as the evil one corrupts people and tramples them down, it is cruelly wresting away My glory, My , the vitality I bestowed on them, the breath and the life I blew into them, all My glory in the human world, and all the heart’s blood I have expended on mankind.”
This sister shared the following fellowship: “We can see from God’s words that the human beings God created in the beginning had not been corrupted by Satan. Adam and Eve lived together, carefree, without any arguments or hurt. But after mankind was tempted by Satan and ate the fruit of knowledge of good and evil, sin came among humanity. From then on lies, deception, fights, hatred, and murder have occurred between people. And it’s gotten to this point today—humans have been so deeply corrupted by Satan that we’ve lost proper humanity. We’ve all become incredibly selfish and despicable, considering ourselves in all things without giving any consideration to others’ feelings, plus we only think of ourselves. Even if it’s a family member—between parents and children, husband and wife, between friends—people aren’t able to get along harmoniously but instead often have conflict over the slightest things. This is the truth of how all humanity now has been corrupted by Satan. God works today to save mankind by expressing the truth to transform our corrupt dispositions, to save us from Satan’s harm.”
Hearing this fellowship from her really brightened my heart. I thought of all the arguments and cold wars I had gotten into with my husband over the years over small things—it was painful for both of us. I realized that it was all brought about by Satan’s corruption of us. To be honest, even though I had had complaints about my husband the entire time, in my heart I felt that I myself had problems too. After all, it takes two to tango. But I had never known where the problem was coming from. Now that I had read God’s words I felt much clearer and I really wanted to change myself through His words. So, I happily accepted God’s work of the last days.
I remember the first time I attended a gathering, I made sure to make food for my husband ahead of time. I saw a call from my husband on my way to the gathering, and at first I was really happy and thought about how rarely he called me; I thought maybe he was concerned about what I was out doing. But surprisingly, the moment I picked up the phone, he launched into a rant about how the food I had made was no good and that he had told me before not to cook for him anymore, and demanded why I was still making food. My temper really flared up as soon as I heard this and I thought about how I had made food out of kindness, thinking that he’d have something to eat when he got home from work—not only was he not appreciative, but even chewed me out. It was absurd. The whole time I was waiting for the bus I was fighting with him on the phone.
Once I got to the sister’s house I vented to all the sisters there about what had just happened. One sister said this in fellowship: “Before we believed in God, whenever anything happened we’d get stuck in the idea of right and wrong. But now that we’ve come before God we know that all the people, events, and things we encounter every day contain God’s benevolent will, and whether it’s good or bad, it’s all for the sake of us gaining the truth. It says in the‘All things work together for good to them that love God’ (Romans 8:28). This is true. Sister, let’s read a passage of fellowship.
“‘Presently, everybody’s interpersonal relationships are abnormal. The main reason for this is that people have been corrupted by Satan very deeply and their integrity is extremely flawed. … People live for themselves and for their flesh. They are absolutely not concerned at all about others and they do not even have the loving emotions that they should possess. Men fight and scheme against each other and they do so both openly and covertly. There is no way for mankind to get along with one another in a normal fashion. The conscience and rationality that man should possess has vanished from the face of the earth. There is no spirit of cooperation amongst mankind. Without a little bit of patience, people would be enemies with one another. Man’s heart is filled with evil, conflict, hostility and irreconcilable differences. It’s as if man does not have the image of human being at all. He is completely possessed by Satan and his inner heart is filled with Satan’s philosophy.’”
She fellowshiped: “This passage reveals our current state. Since being corrupted by Satan, we as humans have all lived by our satanic selfish and despicable corrupt dispositions. People have no idea how to be forgiving, understanding, loving, and helpful to each other, but we all demand that others always act in accordance with our own interests to satisfy our own requirements and preferences. As soon as someone does anything we don’t like we develop resentment, get into arguments, and become angry with the other person, sometimes even falling out and becoming enemies. Just like your interactions with your husband, because of the selfish and despicable corrupt disposition that we all possess, you’re always hoping that he’ll be caring and considerate in all things. When you make food you want him to praise you, and on your birthday or anniversary you want him to give you a nice surprise. You also want him to be understanding of this bad habit of playing mahjong, but when he doesn’t act according to your wishes you feel wronged and upset, thinking that he doesn’t know how to be understanding and caring toward you. Then you get an attitude with him and let your temper flare up to show that you’re dissatisfied and then he doesn’t know how to interact with you. Things get tenser and tenser between the two of you and you’re both living in pain. Wouldn’t you say that all of these problems are brought about by our corrupt dispositions?”
From this fellowship I saw that the real reason that the relationship between my husband and I had deteriorated more and more was actually because of my own selfish disposition. But I had never understood myself, always thinking it was my husband who had the problem. I thought that since I had made food with the best of intentions, not only should my husband praise me, but it was wrong for him to be so picky; that not being caring or considerate of me on our anniversary was wrong; that not supporting me playing mahjong was wrong. I often got sulky or got into an argument with him, but I had never reflected on myself or tried to stand in his shoes to be forgiving of him. I would also intentionally provoke him. I could see that I really was very selfish and stubborn.
I also read a passage from Sermons and Fellowship on Entry Into Life: “In order for people to interact normally with one another, they must possess a few principles of practice. These principles should not only include not taking advantage of others, not harming others, but having some love. They further include having a conscience and rationality, helping one another, showing tolerance to one another, caring for others, letting others benefit in all situations, considering others, not just caring about yourself, showing compassion for others’ weaknesses, and forgiving the transgressions of others. If we have these few principles, we will be able to build a normal relationship with others and we will be able to live in harmony with each other.”
By reading this fellowship I found some paths of practice and recognized that if I wanted to establish proper interpersonal relationships and achieve harmonious interactions, I had to let go of myself, learn to consider issues from the other person’s perspective, take others into consideration more, forgive others’ faults, and learn to treat people properly. When I gave it some thought, I saw that my husband also cares about our home, and he works so hard every day for our family. It’s just that he’s fairly straightforward and doesn’t say a lot of sweet things, but he’s really dependable for me and our child. On top of that, he really hates mahjong because his father lost everything gambling. But I would always stubbornly butt heads with him without ever considering his feelings. I had really been lacking understanding and tolerance for him. When I realized all of this I decided that I would act in accordance with God’s words and no longer just think of myself; I would learn to be more forgiving of my husband. In the days that followed, I consciously wanted to dispel the tension between us, so when he suggested that we go out for a walk or to go window shopping I agreed. As we walked along we chatted about our family life, and the distance between us narrowed a bit.
Another Cold War After a Difference of Opinion
After gainingI stopped going out to play mahjong with friends like I had before, but when I had free time I went hiking with the other sisters. I would pick whatever particularly pretty flowers I saw, plus buy some plants to take back home. To my surprise, my husband then started getting in the way of me taking care of plants.
Once I picked some plants when I was out hiking and took them back home. When he came home and saw the pot, he said it was ugly and that our house wasn’t that big in the first place, so it was taking up space. He wanted me to throw it out, but I refused to. In the following days whenever he saw those plants he would go on and on about it, and I was seething. I thought, “I used to play mahjong and he said he didn’t like that, but now I’ve changed and I want to take care of a couple of plants. He’s still not happy. No matter what I do he takes issue with it. How is it that he has no idea how to be respectful of my preferences?” But then I shifted my thinking—God requires us to live out proper humanity, so now that I’m a believer, I can’t be like I was before, always demanding that my husband take me so seriously and arguing with him when I didn’t like something. I had to learn to let go of myself and exercise more patience and tolerance with him. After thinking through this, I said to him, “Don’t these plants look like they’re growing really well? Having them gives the house a bit of vitality, too. They’re good for the eyes.” He thought about it and figured there was something to what I had said, so he didn’t say another word.
I thought everything had passed peacefully, but unexpectedly, one day when I got home from a gathering he started up again about the plants. I really couldn’t stand it anymore, so in anger I threw all the potted plants and the one I had spent several hundred yuan on into the trash can, then said to him angrily, “You’ve had a problem with it from the very first day I got a plant. Are they keeping you from walking around or sleeping? Now there’s more empty space in the house, right?” Then I sat on the sofa and sulked.
For the next few days I didn’t say a single word to him. Sometimes he’d ask me about something but I acted as if I hadn’t heard him, refusing to acknowledge him. I didn’t make any food, either. Seeing that I was treating him like he was invisible, he looked totally dejected. Sometimes he would try to act chummy and find something to talk to me about to relieve the tension at home, but I wouldn’t even deign to look at him. I kept sulking this way. However, I felt uncomfortable and every time I came home I saw how cold it was and saw my downcast husband, so I wanted to speak to him a few times. But I couldn’t let go of my own ego and swallowed the words that had been on the tip of my tongue. I didn’t feel like working, either.
We Open Up Our Hearts and Live in Harmony
When a sister learned about what was happening between me and my husband, she read a passage of God’s words for me. “For example, after living together for several years, a husband and wife will have gotten used to each other, and locked horns sometimes. But if you are both of normal humanity, you will always commune the words within your heart to him, and he to you. Whatever difficulties you have in life, the problems in your work, what you’re thinking in your heart, how you plan to sort things out, what ideas and plans you have for your children—you’ll tell him everything. In that case, aren’t the two of you especially close to each other, and especially intimate with each other? If he never tells you the words in his heart, and does nothing but bring home a paycheck, and if you never speak to him of the words in your own heart and never confide in him, then is there not a distance between the two of you in your hearts? There surely is, because you do not understand each other’s thoughts or intentions. Ultimately, you cannot tell what kind of person he is, nor can he tell what kind of person you are; you don’t understand his needs, nor does he understand your requirements. If people have no verbal or spiritual communication, there is no possibility of intimacy between them, and they can’t provide for each other or help one another. You have experienced this before, have you not?”
God’s words were just like a ray of light shining on my heart and pointing out a path of practice for me. If a couple hope to live in harmony, they have to learn to be particularly caring and understanding of the other person. When internal barriers appear they must learn to open up to each other, to talk about everything that’s on their minds so that they can achieve mutual understanding and intimacy. This is the only way to break down barriers and achieve true intimacy. But on the other hand, if they don’t open up in a timely way to resolve issues, conflicts will grow deeper and deeper. I thought back on how over all these years whenever my husband did something I didn’t like I would just stuff my feelings, but very rarely opened up to him about what I was thinking. When he would talk to me I would disregard him, and sometimes even though I knew I shouldn’t do that, that I should open up and communicate with him, I couldn’t let go of my own ego. And then once that had gone on for a while it would turn into a cold war, and our relationship became tenser and tenser. God’s words helped me understand that in order to improve my relationship with my husband, I had to let go of myself and take the initiative to have a heart-to-heart with him. That’s the only way we would be able to live in harmony.
After understanding, I immediately sent my husband a message: “Before I wanted to have plants and I didn’t discuss it with you. I was in the wrong. In the future let’s talk about whatever issues we have and be more tolerant and understanding of each other. Then we’ll have less and less conflict and we’ll be closer to each other.” After sending the message I came before God in : “Oh God, I’ve been claiming to believe in You, but as soon as I encounter an issue I can’t help but lose my temper. I’m completely lacking proper humanity and I really don’t seem like a person of God. God, I want to repent to You and from now on wish to interact with my husband in accordance with Your words.” After that, it felt like the weight that had been pressing down on my heart was lifted in an instant. My heart felt so open and bright; I felt a peace and joy I can’t put words to. The next day at work my coworker saw that I had suddenly become so carefree and asked how I had reconciled with my husband. I smiled. I knew that everything had been because of God’s guidance, and that it was God’s words that had untied the years-old knots in my heart. Thanks be to God!
From then on I continued to practice letting go of myself and initiating heartfelt conversations with my husband. Every evening after coming home we would chat with each other about what had happened at work that day, and while watching the news started discussing our thoughts with each other. Even if my husband said something that I didn’t like I wouldn’t immediately pull a long face, but would later open up to him about my thoughts. I learned how to communicate with him. Seeing the change in me, smiles appeared on his face more than before and he became carefree as well. I gradually started trying to understand my husband’s way of thinking and learned that in his free time he likes to go hiking or see movies. Now when he’s off work I do my best to make the time to go along with him. He’s also started to learn to be caring toward me. Sometimes when I’m under the weather, now he knows to ask about how I’m feeling. The distance between us has gradually grown smaller and smaller and there’s more and more harmony at home.
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