When Bad Things Happen to Good Marriages or Stupid Beth Moore


An honest-to-goodness journal entry. Clearly, I missed my calling as a doctor.

I want my husband to love me unconditionally, even in the midst of my dumb choices.

But I’m human.
He’s human.
And we both really stink at playing God. After 17 years of marriage, we started attending an ongoing Bible study group to guard our hearts because we knew how fleshly they can be.
We were only a few sessions in to a new couples’ workbook when my husband and I hit a big pothole. After arriving home from class with clenched teeth, I quickly tucked our kids in and then shut our bedroom door behind us for our heated disagreement. I say disagreement because we don’t really raise our voices anymore. Living with four intuitive kids who sense disharmony by any tone alteration nipped that. We have also learned voice-raising exacerbates whatever issue we are disagreeing over. But here we were, acting human.
I began my recap of exactly what he’d done wrong that evening. How in our marriage class he spent 20 minutes explaining a fake argument we never had because he felt like someone needed to break the ice since everyone was a little too quiet—a charade that embarrassed me.
“I told everyone it was a hypothetical situation,” Jason said.
“Yeah, but when you start a statement by saying, ‘Hypothetically, when your wife decides not to … ,’ people assume you’re bringing up a sensitive topic, albeit generically.”
Not feeling loved, I chose—in a very mature way—to sleep on the couch that night. When I woke at 4:30 the next morning, I knew God wanted to speak to me.
Still unsettled about the whole thing, I needed a source of reason, a tidbit of truth to know I was in the right. I flipped through a section of Beth Moore’s Praying God’s Word and read, “Searching for perfect, unfailing love in anyone else is not only fruitless, it is miserably disappointing and destructive. I am convinced our hearts are not healthy until they have been satisfied by the only completely healthy love that exists: the love of God, Himself.”
I forcefully wrote out this powerful quote on the inside cover of my journal while I mumbled under my breath, “Stupid Beth Moore.” We’re not allowed to say that “s” word in our house. Had the kids heard, Mom most certainly would have taken drops of vinegar on the tongue. But I knew what was happening. Beth’s God-given wisdom pierced my heart so much I read further through her precious book.
I needed more of this type of wisdom at 4:45 a.m.
But God wasn’t done with me. As soon as I attempted to shut my journal, the well-worn binding flopped open to the back page on which I had written one of my favorite sayings: “I have discovered that if I can change the way I think about something, I can change the way I react to it,” Lysa Terkeurst.
Geez, I was getting a real beating—a long overdue heart check and a mini personalized Bible study the Lord tailored just for me.
The message was clear: I needed to change.

1002391_600153523338220_709678177_nIt took a whole day of discussions with Jason for me to swallow my pride and fully surrender my hurt feelings. Finally, in my most monotone voice I said, “Will you please forgive me for my sarcastic remark in class about, ‘If I knew what argument you were talking about, I’d be able to contribute.’ I didn’t mean to disrespect you. I’m working on this.” This phrasing I’d recently adapted from the verse in Ephesians 5:33 about how “each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”

That’s an awful lot of “musts” in one sentence, I remember thinking. God probably wants me to pay attention.
Jason’s face changed. “Apology accepted.” He explained his logic behind the comment (it had something to do with making everyone feel comfortable), but he promised never again to repeat this action and followed up with his own apology for my embarrassment.
Huh, I thought. All I had to do was surrender and respect his opinion? Well, isn’t that what I want? To be listened to and understood?
Abiding by God’s mandate to change my heart and respect my man, although challenging at times, has benefits I have eagerly embraced. Like letting our dumb actions fall away with the erasing of our recorded wrongdoing. Because I really am human, he really is human, and we’re so grateful we serve an all-knowing God.
This article was previously published in the June edition of Charismamag.com

  1. Anonymous

    July 25th, 2013 at 11:47 am

    Thanks for being so real! Was blessed by your words!

  2. dabneyhedegard

    July 25th, 2013 at 11:49 am

    Being real is a blessing and a curse. My poor husband. This incident happened less than 6 months ago. We still go through bumps, but it’s the reconciliation that counts. 🙂

  3. Anonymous

    September 23rd, 2014 at 6:05 pm

    If he’d done that to me, I’d have whomped him upside the head with a cast iron skillet!

  4. Rachel

    July 25th, 2013 at 12:25 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing! I have a lot of trouble swallowing my own pride, especially when it comes to issues with my husband. This was a good reminder!

  5. dabneyhedegard

    July 25th, 2013 at 7:01 pm

    I think we all need this reminder–ever single day.

  6. Anonymous

    July 25th, 2013 at 12:55 pm

    Thanks. I know how you feel. I think I do this more often than I want to admit.

  7. dabneyhedegard

    July 25th, 2013 at 7:02 pm

    Marriage is hard work, but so worth it when we jump in and sort life out with the help of God. Admitting there’s an issue is always the first step with me. Thanks for commenting.

  8. mommyville4

    July 25th, 2013 at 12:58 pm

    I’m reading that “stupid” Beth Moore book right now! Lots of great insight! This is a topic that I needed to read about. Something that I continue to struggle with.

  9. dabneyhedegard

    July 25th, 2013 at 7:03 pm

    I love that *stupid* book! She is such a gifted writer and cuts right to the core of what I need to learn. And for the record, I think most wives struggle with this.
    Thanks for sharing, mommyville4.

  10. Unshakable Hope

    July 25th, 2013 at 4:36 pm

    Great advice, Dabney! I’ll have to get Mary to read this:-)

  11. dabneyhedegard

    July 25th, 2013 at 7:07 pm

    Oh, no…I’d hate for Mary to think any less of me. She seems like such a wonderful woman, surely she’s never done one of my silly mistakes. If she does read this, please also let her know that I would never call another Christian that *S* word. It was just one of those moments when I so wanted to be right, but I was so very wrong, and sweet Beth Moore cut right to my heart with her precious words.

  12. Lyette

    July 25th, 2013 at 10:20 pm

    Fantastic post. Marriage is a constant refiner.

  13. dabneyhedegard

    August 7th, 2013 at 9:52 pm

    Constant. Thank goodness for do-overs. 🙂

  14. Paula Mantrozos

    July 26th, 2013 at 12:36 am

    If marriage was designed by God to be a picture to the world of Christ and His Bride, the Church…and He did…then we’d all better learn to act like the Bride of Christ first and foremost…no matter the humans in our lives! God intends this for our good and His Glory…His Plan works…our pride?…not so much–ever! I am so glad He is patient and keeps working on our hearts to polish the up enough to clearly reflect Christ to our world…family first, then the rest. Thanks again for a “right on the money” honest post! Bless you. -P

  15. Anonymous

    July 26th, 2013 at 9:47 am

    Amen, Sister! Thanks for being so real and willing to share your personal stories – they touch so many of us!

  16. laurabennet

    July 27th, 2013 at 9:38 pm

    Thank you for your honesty. I’ve been in that place too many times. Fortunately, they are getting less, but I found it encouraging to know that it’s not just me or us, it’s every human relationship.

  17. dabneyhedegard

    July 27th, 2013 at 9:56 pm

    It’s not just you. It’s every married couple. To be honest, even last night my hubs and I had to talk through some things. We are always working on our marriage. Just when I think we’ve conquered those pesky disagreements, they rear their head. Ugh. Guess if we were perfect we wouldn’t need God.

  18. laurabennet

    July 27th, 2013 at 11:02 pm

    Okay, so can I ask you a question? Do you ever find that you misunderstand or hear things the other one didn’t mean or didn’t even say (or do)? Sometimes we just look at each other and cry because we feel so stuck with this ridiculous wall between us. We absolutely adore each other and work hard at our relationship, but both feel so attacked ALL THE TIME. It seems so spiritual to us. We both have a lot of baggage from our pasts which God is healing through our marriage. It’s amazingly great and difficult at the same time. I can’t imagine how you both have managed with all you’ve been through. Any other thoughts? Thanks again…maybe crazy to go there, but truth and testimony encourages and sets us free 🙂

  19. dabneyhedegard

    July 28th, 2013 at 12:52 am

    All. The. Time. Just last night, in fact. I was feeling a little down and shared some of my heart. I kinda wanted him to listen and sympathize. That didn’t happen. He wanted to fix my problem and went into analyze mode by asking me questions. This didn’t help. I took his words wrong. We ended the night agreeing to disagree. Of course, we reconciled today…but it stinks that we still hit bumps. I think you’re right, though. Much of what we endure is spiritual. Have you ever taken the class Love and Respect? This video series helped us understand the different ways girls/guys think. Actually, on August 1 I have an article that will run in the Good News (south Florida edition) titled “Can My Marriage Be Saved?” I list steps we took to keep us sane when we felt like we were going insane (as you can tell…we still need to review some things!). Just know you’re normal. Also know that men and women think differently. I often interpret what he is saying differently than what he meant to say. Another good set of videos is Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage. There are 4 videos and they have you laughing until your crying, because everything he is saying is true, but information we rarely talk about openly. I hope this helped in some way.

  20. Terry Foss

    August 8th, 2013 at 1:27 pm

    …well said Dabney. I’m sure by asking his forgiveness, you actually showed him grace! ……I know you showed him grace

  21. Kimberly Webb Lague

    August 26th, 2013 at 7:22 pm

    Wonderful post!

  22. Maria

    September 24th, 2016 at 3:07 pm

    I really needed this – i am not married but in a relationship where the end purpose is marriage. I’ve realized that since I have my boyfriend, I kind of put all my eggs in one basket. I expect him to make me happy, whole, and secure…and he can’t do that. Thank you for the gentle reminder!

  23. dabneyhedegard

    November 23rd, 2016 at 10:30 pm

    Girl, I so get this. And I think we’ve all done this at one time or another. I used to drive my husband nuts when we first got married because I expected him to keep me happy…all the time. I feel like I’m always learning something, which I guess is a good thing. 🙂
    So good to hear from you. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

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