Rekindling the Flame
By Maike Stepanek
Not long after our picture-perfect wedding, my husband and I found ourselves becoming more unhappy in our marriage. For years I felt rejected by Brian’s lack of interest in me, while he felt disrespected and at times shunned. This left us feeling helpless, ready to give up and move on. But as we discovered, God always provides a lifeline for even the most hopeless situations.
The Healing Begins
Sally Lam-Phoon, family ministries director for theNorthern Asia-Pacific Division, and her husband, Chek Yat, came to the Ilsan English church in Goyang City, South Korea, and held marriage enrichment programs. They introduced us to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), a questionnaire designed to help people understand how we perceive the world and those around us. Through six sessions of marriage counseling, my husband and I began to understand each other on a deeper level and how to communicate and accept each other’s differences.
I learned that Brian is an introvert, while I am an extrovert. We both learned that extroverts and introverts exist on different social planes. While I know no stranger, Brian is more hesitant about whom he socializes with. He tends to keep his thoughts to himself, while I verbalize almost every new thought that pops into my head. Understanding these differences, and that they both have their positives and negatives, helped us rediscover each other. We learned how to better work together in our marriage. The flame was rekindled.
Working Through the Changes
Everything changed again when we had children. More stress was added to our relationship when we moved to another country so that Brian could become a full-time student. In a haze of sleep deprivation and financial troubles, we were back where we started—our marriage hanging in the balance. We had no energy or time for devotions, which had us facing the same problems as before but with greater ferocity. We pretended to be happy, focusing all our energies on the kids, but we neglected our marriage.
Despite our carelessness, God proved to be always one step ahead. He helped us to see that we had to be honest with Him, with our family, and with those around us. We are so grateful for the tools we have been given to help rebuild our marriage. The flame is burning once again.