I write today from an abundantly blessed heart overflowing with love for a man who is so extraordinary to me, my husband and hero. I write in a place of incredible beauty, from a balcony overlooking the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. This is one of our favorite places. The mountain scenery and surrounding air is so pure and refreshing; much like an anniversary trip to celebrate a love that has proven itself just as pure and invigorating as a mountain stream. I married Shawn on his birthday at sunset on a beach overlooking the Gulf of Mexico seven years ago this week. Our journey together since that day has been one of overwhelming happiness and peace. He offers stability that eases my often uncertain mind; comfort when my dreams fail and my tears fall, and safety so that I never fear the unknown. He adopted and raised my children; is steady and solid as a rock and I may never know why the Lord brought us together because I did absolutely nothing to deserve him; I am only grateful that He did. Unfortunately, Shawn is married to many different women. Luckily, they all live in the same little body!
In the last year, I have become increasingly and sometimes overwhelmingly fatigued. I have suffered brutal headaches daily, discovered I have hypertension and have had to adjust to a life of medication every eight hours. I have become utterly exhausted. I am tired physically but also weary from the unhealthy behaviors that have become routine in my life. I am drained from the little things like sleeping an extra fifteen minutes resulting in an unpredictable morning commute that often makes me late to work. I am tired of putting my prayer and quiet time off until evening and then falling asleep midway. I am weary of purchasing work out videos and programs that I never even begin much less finish; I just cannot lose that last ten pounds in ten days when I put forth no effort. I begin projects that I never finish and I feel like a failure. I am tired of long lines at Starbucks, cold McDonald’s french fries and it is beginning to hurt my feelings that everyone working on fast food row actually knows my first name. But most of all, I am tired of trying to emulate the behavior and copy the lives of every role model I have, instead of just trying to be the very best me that I can possibly be. And that starts with simply being Mrs. Shawn Ritch.
Thankfully, I discovered and polished my spiritual gifts. Regrettably, I channeled my extraordinary gift of love for my brothers and sisters in Christ but failed to include those most important to me. While faithfully serving others, my children and beloved husband were forgotten. My deepest regret is being needed at home, yet providing for others elsewhere. All I ever wanted was to serve the Lord who so graciously sacrificed everything for me. It has taken me far too long to realize I can most sensationally honor my God by honoring my marriage. God sent me a wonderful, pure hearted man who selflessly sacrifices daily for our family; he works diligently and faithfully to provide for us; he is kind to us; everything he stands for epitomizes safety, stability and security. He is honorable. He is fabulously handsome! He is the Lord’s gift to me and our marriage has been blessed by His mighty hand indeed.
With this extraordinary gift of love, I have great responsibility. Marriages are not 100% perfect, but I am here to give you hope my friends…it can be blissfully close. If you are not quite where I am today, I want you to promise me you will take a few very important steps. Right now; do not hesitate.
We must first understand God’s divine plan for marriage. It is based on a woman’s role as the helpmate, respecting our husbands. Study RESPECT and how you can perfect your role here. A man’s deepest need is having respect. The Bible does not tell us he has to earn it; it is an unconditional command. Don’t question it or second guess it; do it. Never speak ill of your husband in public or private. Speak words of life and love over him, building him up and focusing on his strongest qualities ignoring his weaknesses. Read the first few chapters of Genesis; purchase a copy of Stormie Omartian’s “The Power of a Praying Wife”. Another fantastic read is “Love and Respect” by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs. Both will change your entire perspective, I promise.
Second, pray for your own heart to be changed and softened toward your husband; pray for him to have a “new” wife in you. Commit to pray for him daily, without ceasing and without fail. Beware that you do not begin to pray for him to become the man you would like for him to be; rather the man God designed him to be. You are a Daughter of the Most High King and that makes you a Princess. Guess what? You are also married to a Son of the King, a Prince. Do not be afraid or too proud to treat him like one. Learn his Love Language and then simply begin to speak it. If this is truly difficult for you, I suggest you simply trust the Creator of the Universe.
Go ahead and surrender, He knows far more than you.
Third, you must be consistent. When things do not progress along in your own timing, simply honor God’s timing. Channel your frustration into praying with more passion. Serve your husband even more diligently. Surprise him with new declarations of love and honor. Remember that God’s timing is perfect. Perhaps the Lord is trying to prepare something special in your heart as well as your husband’s. Nurture and protect your dream of a blissful marriage. Never give up on it.
And finally, prepare your heart for what is about to happen. Pray fervently, passionately and persistently believing that your prayers will be answered. If you pray halfheartedly, then you are clearly defeating yourself. Pray with excitement and that emotion will convey to your husband, your family, and our God. Anticipate a breakthrough every day; celebrate even the smallest of victories. Begin treating your husband as though the changes in your marriage have already occurred. Treat him in such a spectacular way every single day that he is never surprised when you complement or serve him. In return you will receive from him a love so extraordinary that your heart overflows with the blessings that I know today.
It has been a battle, but all my husband’s wives are gone and only one remains. Me. Just the “me” God created me to be.
I am the one and only Mrs. Shawn Ritch.
What an honor that is.
I Love you Boo.
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