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Marriage Series: “It’s Not Personal!” by Jesse Birkey

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This is the fourth message in my marriage series “Two Are Better Than One.” Follow this link if you missed any messages in this series. Today, I have a guest marriage post by Jesse Birkey. Jesse and his wife Kara run Reflect Ministries. They experienced a wonderful transformation in their marriage. They shared their testimony on 700 club and wrote about it in their book, “Marriage: What’s the Point? One Couple Finds Meaning in a Crazy Mess.”

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Jesse and Kara made a special offer on their book for this marriage series. They are offering their book for only $9.99 with free shipping and only $5.99 for the ebook version. Follow this link to take advantage of this great offer! As a bonus, if you live in the U. S. and you purchase any format of their book, let me know in the comment section below and you will receive 3 entries into my gift card and book drawing. I also wanted to announce that I changed the gift card amounts to $50 since you can’t really go out to dinner for $25 anymore.

In case you missed the previous posts, my husband and I are giving away 2 – $50 dinner gift cards for Brinker restaurants (Can be used at Chili’s, On the Border, Macaroni Grill, or Maggiano’s) and a signed copy of my book “You Can Have a Happy Family – Steps to Enjoying Your Marriage and Children.” If you live in the U. S., every marriage post that you comment on through July 19th, you will automatically receive an entry into the drawing.  The first winner will be announced on our wedding anniversary (July 20th). And the second winner will be announced on our dating anniversary (July 21st).

Now for this encouraging message from Jesse about not taking the things our spouses do that annoy us as personal attacks. I think we all can relate to this one!

 

  It’s Not Personal!

by Jesse Birkey

 SL2056

 

I think there are many of us who believe our spouses wake up in the morning and say, “Hmm, today I’ll do all of the things he/she hates so that I can see him/her get really mad.  I’ll do them because I just don’t love him/her.”  Now we might not say that’s what we believe but subconsciously I think many of us do.

In our kitchen we have a special hook designed for car keys to keep them from getting lost.  When I get home I hang them there and when my wife gets home she hangs them there…sometimes.  I would get so mad when the keys weren’t on that hook.  I would tell her over and over and she would be better for a period of time but it never seemed to stick.

One day she took both sets of vehicle keys leaving me stranded at home.  I was furious and also felt totally justified in my key hook rule.  If she had followed the rule she wouldn’t have taken both keys.

Certainly annoyance was fueling my anger, but there was also something else.  Annoyance alone builds a tiny flame.  But my anger was burning intensely.  It took some time for me to see what it was and when God exposed it I was shocked.

Somewhere along the line I began taking things my wife was doing personally.  It wasn’t just the car keys but others things as well.  Every time she did something opposite than the way I asked her to I took it as a personal attack.  I heard things run through my mind like, she doesn’t care about you or if she loved you she would do it the way you like it done.  Perhaps the most destructive lie I heard was she’s doing it on purpose.  She wants to hurt you.

Sadly there are some cases in which this is true but for the most part it’s a complete lie.  Either way it’s very hurtful to believe that your spouse’s #1 goal for the day is to hurt you however they can.  It’s the stuff resentment and bitterness is born from.

I began to recognize the pattern of perceived personal attack, hurt, offense, and bitterness and decided to investigate.  I needed to know what was true and what wasn’t.  When I asked her about it she told me that it’s got nothing to do with how much she cares about me and that sometimes she just forgets.  It’s definitely not personal.  She also shared with me that it seemed like I only noticed the times that she didn’t do things the way I liked and not the times she did.

It’s the little things that build up and become volcano’s ready to explode at any time.  The “little things” vary and can look 100 different ways for 100 different couples but when they build up, peace doesn’t have a chance.  Many times personal hurt, legitimate or not, gives way to a spirit of offense making true forgiveness almost impossible.  Many times when we feel personally attacked we also feel justified in our negative reactions.  We can’t reflect the heart of God to our spouse with all of that junk standing in the way.

Though there are times in which the attack is, in fact, personal the majority of the time it really isn’t.  If we can begin to see this we can pour big buckets of water on smoldering embers before they get a chance to blaze.

I encourage you to take some time to think about the little things your spouse does that really gets too you.  Have you been taking them personally?  Are they really personal?

Jesse and Kara Birkey

JESSE BIRKEY

www.reflectministry.com

jbirkey@reflectministry.com

twitter.com/JesseBirkey

http://www.facebook.com/reflectministry

Watch the testimony of our marriage appearing on “The 700 Club” here and purchase our book Marriage What’s the Point? One couple finds meaning in a crazy mess, on here or on Amazon.

Read Jesse and Kara’s bio here.

 

 

4989528In Marriage What’s the Point? One couple finds meaning in a crazy mess, Jesse and Kara  Birkey will bring you into the tragedy that threatened to destroy them. The Birkey’s share  their journey of tragic infidelity to the joy of miraculous restoration with passion and total  transparency. Marriage What’s the Point is a journey of pain, reconciliation and discovery as God showed Jesse and Kara how the wounds and scars from their past were affecting how they treated each other. They found it impossible to reflect the heart of God to each other  while being held captive by things like self-hate, fear and bitterness. Knowing they aren’t  the only ones to have been imprisoned by those chains, they desire to show others the path  of freedom God revealed to them. Marriage What’s the Point? will challenge and encourage  you, inviting you on a path to restoration that is different than you might expect. There is  hope! Find it with Jesse and Kara in Marriage What’s the Point?

 

*Don’t forget to leave a comment below for Jesse and you’ll receive an entry in my gift card and book drawing. Remember to let me know in your comment if you purchased Jesse and Kara’s book and you’ll receive 3 entries. Here’s the link again to their special offer.

 

 

 

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6 comments on “Marriage Series: “It’s Not Personal!” by Jesse Birkey

  1. Livivua Chandler on said:

    The synopsis really speaks to what i have going on currently in my life!

  2. Amanda Beth on said:

    I’m so sorry, Livivua! I will be praying for God’s healing and transformation in your marriage. God is faithful!
    Your sister in Christ,
    Amanda

  3. Mark Hunter on said:

    Hi Amanda,

    Another great post (I always feel like i am on repeat – but its genuine!!!) and one that speaks to many (surely all) of us in relationships and marriages. Often during conversations about such little supposed attacks it becomes clear they are nothing of the sort and, if anything, have originated from the one supposedly aggrieved.

    I have been learning much about this very thing lately. Learning not to take things so personally and being less sensitive to such things. Often, before we know it, we perceive our spouses in a dangerously negative light and a sad downward spiral. We have to learn to be chain breakers and lovers of our partners – unconditionally – no matter what they do or so. After all – isn’t this the love that Jesus Christ gives us? Unconditional love – when we don’t deserve it.

    Blessings,

    Mark

  4. Mark Hunter on said:

    Livivua – I can tell you’ve held back on probably what you wanted to really say. You know, we have to learn to swallow our pride, even when others don’t deserve it – even when its their fault – even if it is completely their fault. I took a courageous step in reconciling with someone last this Saturday just past. They didn’t deserve it – they had wronged me greatly – and yet i sought out their forgiveness and apologized to them. The net result – a fresh start to the relationship with that person. My recommendation to you is to love your partner, no matter what, even when all is crashing around you. Peace be with you!

  5. Amanda Beth on said:

    Thanks for the encouraging message to Livivua, Mark! And great comment about learning to be chain breakers and loving our spouses unconditionally. Thanks so much for sharing! Blessings to you and your wife:)

  6. Warren Baldwin on said:

    Jesse – excellent point about the danger of us taking things personally. Most of the “offenses” we feel are committed against us by our spouse are not really personal attacks at all, they are simply minor mistakes or oversights. But, I have certainly misinterpreted such mistakes and oversights as well. When that happens, we become defensive and hurt back. Big mistake! Only when we strike back, we do intend it personally.

    Part of being successfully married is growing enough emotionally to process the little mistakes and disappointments in a nonthreatening manner. That is an important lesson to learn, and will help our marriages tremendously!

    Good article.
    Warren
    http://www.warrenbaldiwn.blogspot.com

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