Dr. Kim's new book 14 Keys to Lasting Love: How to Have the Marriage You've Always Wanted comes out on January 8, 2019. This book will change your marriage, and it will most certainly change you. Over the next few weeks, Dr. Kim will highlight some of the principles from the book in his weekly "Insights."
When we have stress and pressure in our lives, we have a choice. Do we tell our spouse or not? Why do we hesitate? Maybe we are not sure what they will say or how they will take it. As guys, if can be our male ego or thinking we will just figure it out on our own, Yet, if we don't include them, we will never know for sure.
I remember one time in particular that changed all of that for me. For the first 12 years of our marriage, I was running from God and never telling Nancy what was going on deep inside of me. Running from Him was not a new thing for me. I felt called to ministry when I was 12 years old. It was so clear to me; then life got in the way of my calling. Through high school and college, I bargained with God. I graduated with a business degree, married Nancy, and continued my bargaining.
For 12 years, I pushed back God's leading. I ran and ran and ran, yet God was everywhere. Nancy knew something was up, and finally I let it all out. I was scared. I did not want to tell her. I knew what going into ministry would mean for us. There would be big changes. Our income dropping about 75 percent while I went to seminary was at the top of my "How will she take it?" list. This is the sequence of the next three months of our lives:
She suggested that I talk to a good friend of ours who was a Christian counselor to get his input and wisdom.
I had lunch with that friend the next week. I laid out everything in front of him, and then he looked at me and said, "Have you ever thought about being a Christian counselor?"
My answer was no, but an incredible peace came over me. This is what God was trying to get me to do. This is what I had been running from.
My friend helped me decide on the education I would need and asked me to apply for an internship where he worked.
Nancy and I went to dinner alone the next evening. I'll never forget that Tuesday night. We went to a little family-owned Mexican restaurant where we knew we could have some privacy. I told her everything I thought God wanted me to do: go to grad school, apply for the internship, and gradually back out of my current work responsibilities. I told her we would have to live on a lot less money and that I thought many of our friends and family were going to think I had gone off the deep end.
Then she looked at me lovingly with those blue eyes I fell in love with years before and said, "I am all in with you. Let's do this!"
By that fall I was in grad school and beginning an internship to learn about Christian counseling.
Would I have taken the step sooner if I had let Nancy in on what was going on earlier? I'm not sure because, looking back, the timing was perfect. Yet I do know the years leading up to the decision would have been so much easier if I had included my soul mate in the journey.
Now it's your turn. How would you rate the two of you on your openness with each other about the stresses and pressures you face each day? How good are you at knowing when your spouse is feeling stress and pressure? What needs to change to bring oneness into this area of your marriage? What is a first step that you can take now?