Married to Mental Illness

Married to Mental Illness

Being married to someone with mental illness can be quite challenging! This week’s guest on By His Grace shares the challenge of being married to a husband who suffers from bipolar disorder, and how God has used this in her life to make her more dependant on the Lord. With the help of the Lord, she has actually learned to count it all a blessing.

Listen in to podcast episode 18 Married to Mental Illness Please welcome my sweet friend Rachel Daniel of Brave Pursuit to the blog today!


Married to Mental Illness

By Rachel Daniel

This November my husband and I will be married for nine years. While I am more in love with my husband today than I ever thought possible, I have to be honest and say that our marriage wasn’t always so great. In fact, I don’t think we got to the “honeymoon” phase of our marriage until we were three or four years into the marriage. Those first few years were rough, and looking back on things, I know now it was only by God’s grace and mercy that we made it to where we are today. 

This has to be one of the hardest blog posts I’ve ever shared because I want the world to look at and love my husband in the same way I do, through the eyes of Christ. However, to love someone with the eyes of Christ, you have to see every part of them with honesty and transparency…which is why I’ve been so guarded up until this point to protect the image of my husband.

The honest and transparent truth is that I’m married to a man who battles with a mental health disability: Bipolar Disorder. 

Neither David or I knew that he was suffering from a mental disability until things began to rapidly unravel in our marriage. He battled his disability while I battled my inability to meet his needs due to my own selfish pride, stubbornness, and unrelenting desire to always be right (classic baby-of-the-family syndrome).

Praise God that in spite of our difficulties, we both desired to stay married and do whatever we could to save our marriage. We ended up seeking professional help in the form of a counselor where David was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Once diagnosed and medicated, we were left believing things would be “fixed.” We had no idea that our marriage would still require work because a single pill doesn’t “fix” everything. Actually, we had no idea that our marriage would require more work than most marriages. 

What was heartbreaking is that as a social person, who has always lived my life like an open book, was when I shared with other Christian friends what was going on in our lives, the response went from dismissive to fear. It was then I realized that our culture, particularly in the world of faith, wasn’t speaking and supporting the battle for mental health, and I felt like I had nowhere to turn. I shut down and did my best to hide the struggles in our marriage from everyone for fear or tarnishing my husband’s image. God’s Word reminds us, “For I hold you by your right hand – I, the Lord your God. And I say to you, ‘Don’t be afraid. I am here to help you,” (Isaiah 41:13)

As a Christian wife married to a man who lives with a bipolar disorder, God has taken me on a spiritual journey that I never could have anticipated. I grew up in church my entire life, but I never knew what it was to truly have an intimate relationship with God until I desperately needed His grace and mercy over and over, minute after minute, every day to learn to be the wife my husband needed. Being nice, keeping a clean house, and raising our kids wasn’t what my husband needed. With the help of God every single day, I get the chance to really know what it means to be a Godly, Proverbs 31 wife that my husband needs and desires. I rely daily on prayer and counsel from God to help me in my marriage (Romans 73:23-24).

So what does it look like being a Godly wife to a Godly man who battles for his mental health?

On paper, it looks like most marriages: put God first in my life and my marriage, pray constantly for my husband and myself, communicate with my husband regularly, always forgive, and love him as Christ loves me. Click To Tweet

The reality of walking those ideas and principals out though often looks different than most marriages. I am the thermostat for our house. I do my best to always gauge when the emotional well-being of our family is in normal ranges or when I can sense a shift in the climate. It’s my job, to understand and prepare to handle when the climate changes due to my husband and children’s emotional state.

For example, when my husband is in a manic cycle, it’s my job to interpret his needs: space, sleep, adjustment in medication, extra attention, sounding board, problem solver, etc. Sometimes, this involves me understanding and encouraging him to spend time in his “man-cave” for a few days without the pressures of being the world’s best dad and husband. Sometimes I take the kids out for most of the day, giving him peace and quiet.

Other times, this may mean that I set up a date night for us so that I can give him my exclusive attention without any interruptions. Other times, he just needs me to listen to him vent about his frustrations with life, kids, work, finances, and the other million things he’s carrying day to day for our family without judgment and without trying to “solve” his problems. I’ll admit, I struggle most with trying not to “solve” and just listening probably more than anything else in our relationship.

That’s where God has to remind me day after day to show my husband I can simply listen, and God has to grant me a lot of grace and mercy because I fail at this task regularly. 

I used to rely solely on my husband to meet my emotional needs, and when he failed because he was a human, I was crushed and left unsatisfied. It was only when I turned to God to meet my emotional needs that I found a joy that I never knew existed within the contexts of my marriage. Because I rely on God’s ability to fill me with joy, when my husband is human and makes mistakes, I can still love him, forgive him, have a passion for him, and find happiness in him.

It was only when I turned to God to meet my emotional needs that I found a joy that I never knew existed within the contexts of my marriage. Click To Tweet

In recent years, David and I have become best friends. We don’t have the perfect marriage. We still fight. We handle the difficulties of him being bipolar daily. I fail to be the kind of wife and mother God has called me to be at least once a day…okay, it’s probably more like ten times a day.

Even still, by the grace of God, our marriage is wholly satisfying and filled with a joy that neither of us thought we could experience.

I always hold onto Romans 8:16-17, “The Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs–heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.”

We learned (often times through trial and error) how to be each other’s spouse, best friend, partner, lover, and warrior. I wouldn’t wish for anyone to battle a mental disability. However, I know that because of my husband’s daily ability to be an amazing husband and father in spite of his mental health challenges, he has learned how to show compassion to me and our daughters in depths I don’t possess. He picks up the slack when I’m failing (especially in my third trimester of pregnancy with our third daughter), and he has an uncanny ability to get things done despite overwhelming obstacles. A bipolar diagnosis has taught us to rely on Christ in ways we could’ve never imagined, thus leading us to our best marriage ever. 


As Rachel so eloquently shares the struggles in life are really real, but SO IS OUR GOD, and He is always there to see us through! I am so excited to share The Struggle is Real: But So is God Bible Study is now available in paperback and Kindle on Amazon and launches May 7, 2019.

The Struggle Is Real, But So Is God is a 6-week journey through the Bible that will:

  • Equip you with empowering wisdom.
  • Help you grow spiritually by claiming God’s promises as your own.
  • Teach you how to declare scripture over yourself to strengthen your inner being.
  • Show you how to conquer challenges by activating God’s Word in your life. 

Pre-order your copy today The Struggle is Real: But So is God.

Much Love,

 

 

 

 

 

 

Misty Phillip

What To Do If Your Spouse Has A Problem With Pornography

What To Do If Your Spouse Has A Problem With Pornography

Pornography used to be a dirty little shameful secret, but with advances in technology and personal computing, pornography is just a click away and can be accessed in privacy anywhere on your computer or smartphone. Pornography is a growing problem that affects men, women, teens, and children. Christians are not immune to the problems associated with pornography. 

Many of the problems we have in our world today stem from the sin of sexual immorality. Pornography, Sex Trafficking, Abortion, Adultery, and Divorce are rampant today and all stem from sexual immorality. As Christians, we need to address these problems from a Biblical perspective and shed light into the darkness in this world.

Join me today at A Wife Like Me where I share what you should do if you find out your spouse is viewing porn. 

What To Do If Your Spouse Has a Problem With Pornography

 

If you find your husband viewing pornography you may feel any combination of feeling hurt, shame, betrayal, rejection, jealous, angry or humiliation.

 

Sister, the first thing I want to tell you is you are not alone. Pornography is a serious problem affecting over half of marriages today. With easy access to the internet and mobile phones, pornography can now be viewed with a few simple keystrokes.

 

I also want to tell you is that there is hope. Nothing is impossible for our God. If God can speak a word and create a universe, don’t you think that He can redeem and restore your marriage?

 

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” – 1 John 1:9 ESV

 

How do I know this to be true? My husband struggled with pornography early in our marriage and God delivered him from it. I forgave him and God restored our marriage and my trust. Our marriage is better today than it was twenty years ago.

Join me at A Wife Like Me to find out what to do if your spouse has a problem with pornography.

All this week at A Wife Like Me we are focusing on the issue of pornography in marriage. There will be daily content on the A Wife Like Me Website and we will be going Live on the A Wife Like Me Gathering Facebook Group A Wife Like Me Gathering Facebook Group

Join me tonight I will be going LIVE with Amanda Davison at 7PM CST A Wife Like Me Gathering Facebook Group.

Please share this post to help kick pornography to the curb and protect marriages and families from the effects of pornography. 

 

 

 

 

A Wife’s Secret to Happiness- #Wifestylin

The intense stress that comes from having a special needs child can put an incredible strain on even the healthiest of marriages. The difficulty in the day in and day out can be overwhelming. Some special needs people have a difficult time performing even the simplest of tasks such as dressing, toileting, and general self-care. Exhaustion sets in from lack of sleep and that can wreak havoc on any sane person, and a lot of times special kids barely sleep at all. The financial stress that comes from therapy not being covered, the endless doctor appointments, or because anything with a special needs price tag comes at an astronomical cost. The grief that comes from unmet expectations, the heartache that comes from comparing your child and their abilities, or sometimes the guilt alone from blaming yourself or your spouse is enough to tear a marriage apart.

Spiritual Confetti

 

My husband and I have experienced all of this and more, but things really came to a head in our marriage when our son was a baby. I was a weary young mom doing my best to make it from day to day. Our precious little man screamed at the top of his lungs all hours of the day and night and didn’t sleep at all for the first three years of his life. We were constantly in the doctor’s office and in and out of the hospital.

I don’t know about your husband, but my husband is a fixer. He can not stand it if there is something wrong with me or one of our children. Since he is a problem solver, he wants to fix things. However, there are some problems that man can not fix, no matter how hard he tries. This took a toll on my husband and thus took a toll on our marriage.

Things got really ugly between us. This wreaked all kinds of havoc in our personal lives and with each other. I will spare you all of the gory details, just know it was bad enough that I ended up in Lawyer’s office seeking counsel to get divorced. But God—God divinely entered into the midst of our pain and difficulty, and we took the “D” word off the table and choose to commit to each that no matter how bad things got that we would stick it out with God’s help.

 

 

Reduce Stress

We forgave one another and choose to love, not in our strength and might, but by the power of the Holy Spirit. In those moments, everything changed. Our circumstances with our son didn’t change, but our perspective on our situation changed. We faced our problems together with the strength of our mighty God to carry us through. Life didn’t become easy—there was no instant healing. In fact, the years that followed were much more stressful than the previous years. The difference was our relationship to each other and our reliance on the Lord.

Our marriage has been tried and tested and forged in the fire for nearly 25 years. My husband is my best friend and He loves me like Christ loves the church. Through the years, we chose to love one another and submit to Christ, and his plan for our marriage. We now have an incredible relationship. My husband is the biblical leader of our home, and I have embraced my calling of biblical womanhood.

Jen Weaver

These same principles that have guided our marriage are discussed in Jen Weaver’s book, A Wife’s Secret to Happiness. I love this book! From the sparkly cover to Jen’s modern interpretation of the Bible to practical wisdom this book offers to women, Jen has such a great conversational style that you feel like you are sitting across the table from one another sharing your hearts over a cup of coffee.

There are eleven chapters in the book, and each chapter highlights a particular blessing God wants to provide to in your marriage and a conflicting “wifestyle.” A wifestyle is a habit or way in which our routines as wives either attract or reject God’s divine provision. Each chapter contains a wifestyle or a real life story used for practical application.The first blessing is the blessing of three strands, which is taken from Ecclesiastes 4:12:

A cord of three strands is not quickly broken -Ecclesiastes 4:12 NIV

 

Cord of Three Strands

This principle takes the heart of two people and binds them together with God to make a marriage that is not easily broken. It is the supernatural strength that comes from the Holy Spirit being alive and active in our marriage that I spoke of earlier.

Jen does a great job of handling some difficult subjects that come up within a context of marriage from leaving and cleaving and becoming one, to submission, to the beautiful gift of sex. In the chapter on the blessing of unity, Jen uses a great analogy of dancing to talk about submission in marriage.

A tango cannot have two leads, and our Marriage instructor, our third strand, calls us to submit to our husbands that we may have unity in our relationships and live in concert with his spirit. -Jen Weaver

 

More Than Enough

There is bonus material to delve deeper into each subject that is available online. This book is a must read for young women preparing for marriage, as well as married women. I wish I would have read something like this before I got married, it would have made the first few years of marriage a lot easier. Jen Weaver nails the secret to happiness in marriage through receiving, honoring and celebrating God’s role for you in your marriage.

A special thank you to The Blog About Network, The Blythe Daniel Agency and publishers for providing a copy of this book for review and one to giveaway.

Leave a comment below with your best piece of marriage advice below, to be entered to win a copy of A Wife’s Secret to Happiness. 

Jen

Jen is married to her best friend Jared and mom to their adorable toddler, Dillon. Jen is an author, marketing professional, Bible study teacher, conference speaker, and a host for The Declare Conference – a blogging conference in Dallas, Texas. She is passionate about sharing strengths with others through her stories of humor and hope.

A Wife’s Secret to Happiness(Leafwood, March 2017) is already receiving rave reviews from Jim Daily, President of Focus on the Family, Associate Senior Pastor Pastor of Gateway Church, Allan Kelsey, Author of Breaking Busy, Ali Worthington, Author of A Mary Like Me, Andy Lee, and many more! www.TheJenWeaver.com

 


She said “Yes!”

How was your 2016?  We had a year of ups and downs, but what a difference a day makes! For our family, Christmas came early. A life-changing event occurred three days before Christmas, when on December 22, 2016 our eldest son Jacob Phillip proposed to his beautiful now-fiancé  Jane Reynolds.

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After much dreaming and planning, Jacob surprised Jane by taking her out to a romantic dinner to their favorite Houston Sushi hotspot, Uchi for their 14 month anniversary. When they finished dinner they meandered over to a place that it is near and dear to both their hearts—the Museum of Fine Arts Houston.

Waiting anxiously in the wings for the happy couple to arrive were family members and a few friends. We had a wonderful photographer and longtime family friend Madeleine Frost there to capture our special moment.

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As Jacob dropped down on one knee, and asked Jane to marry him we were all there to witness and share in this special occasion.

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Jacob Phillip & Jane Reynolds are pictured with her parents Hope & John Mark Reynolds

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Misty Phillip with Jacob Phillip, our future Daughter-in-love Jane Reynolds, and Peter Phillip 

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An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels.- Proverbs 31:10 

We look forward to Jane becoming a part of our family next year. She is absolutely precious. I often tell Jacob he has chosen well. Jane exemplifies the woman who fears the Lord found in Proverbs 31:10 ESV.

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I don’t know what 2017 has in store for us, but I am sure that there will be quite a lot of wedding talk.

Finding Fulfillment this Holiday Season

After years of living in a testosterone-filled home and raising boys, it is a joy to spend time with my son’s girlfriend Jane, doing “girlie stuff.” My husband and my son both work at the same consulting firm. For the past two years, we have enjoyed getting dressed up and attending the annual corporate holiday party together.

Jane and I spent the day talking and laughing and prepping together for the party. We enjoyed a day of pampering. Our first stop was Blush and Brush where we enjoyed a blowout and style. Then we went to Saks Fifth Avenue, where Michelle at the Dolce and Gabanna counter made us look beautiful!

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Jane and I talked a lot about family, the upcoming holidays, kids, and friends. My son Jacob and Jane are planning to be engaged soon, so we talked a lot about graduation, her career, and having children. Jacob and Jane were both homeschooled, and have very similar ideas about family. Our conversation turned to fulfillment, and thoughts that girls her age have today about being fulfilled.

Later that evening, we attended the Christmas party at the St. Regis Hotel in Houston. We had a wonderful time in visiting, eating, drinking, and dancing. A couple of hours into the party, Jane and I snuck off to the ladies room where we found a couple of comfy chairs in the dressing area. We kicked off our heels and began laughing and talking. Then, a beautiful young woman who was also at the party walked in. We made small talk for a few minutes when our conversation turned to Jane. We talked about her upcoming engagement, and this young woman proceeded to tell to Jane the importance of pursuing her career and being fulfilled before she had children.  There was that word again, FULFILLMENT. This young lady in bathroom thought the way to be fulfilled was through a career. This got me thinking. What is fulfillment, and how are we satisfied?

What is fulfillment?

According to the New Oxford American Dictionary, fulfillment is the achievement of something desired, promised, or predicted: winning the championship was the fulfillment of a childhood dream.• Satisfaction or happiness as a result of fully developing one’s abilities or character: she did not believe that marriage was the key to happiness and fulfillment.

I am concerned that young women today are being misled about how to achieve fulfillment. True fulfillment doesn’t come from things, people, or a career.

When I was young, I dreamed of becoming a wife and a mom. I had a career, but I couldn’t wait to quit as soon as I could to stay home with my children.  I made the decision to quit work and devote my life to raising and homeschooling my boys. I would not have wanted it any other way. I didn’t struggle with being fulfilled. Like the second definition in the Oxford American Dictionary says, my satisfaction and happiness were a result of fully developing my abilities as a wife and mom, and further developing my character. There is nothing like being a young mother to develop and try your character! From sleepless nights to diapers, and from vomit to screaming toddlers, Motherhood is not for the faint of heart!

How are we fulfilled?

First of all, fulfillment does not come from being married, having children, or having a career. True fulfillment comes from knowing Jesus Christ and living for him. But here is the rub: we will never be truly fulfilled here on earth, because this is not our home. We have a God-shaped hole in our heart that only He can fill.

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.” – Ecclesiastes 3:11

He has placed eternity in our hearts, and He is making us beautiful in His time. As we get to know Jesus Christ and spend time with Him reading His word, and praying we are transformed. Regardless of your age, don’t look to the world or to the things of this world to make you happy or to fulfill you. Fulfillment does not come from things, a house, a job, a car; it doesn’t come from people, a boyfriend, husband or children. You won’t find fulfillment wrapped in a box under your Christmas tree. True fulfillment comes from knowing and walking with the Lord.

May you know His love and feel His Presence afresh this Christmas Season!

 

5 Things Gigi Taught Me

“Gigi”—the name we affectionately gave my husband’s mother. She taught me a lot about being a wife, a mother, and a Godly woman. It was not just in the things she said, but even more so in her actions. The way she lived her life had the greatest impact on me. She had her priorities straight: she loved God first, loved and served her husband second, and her children/grandchildren third, and finally loved others. I learned five key lessons from her:

1. The importance of hospitality and the family table: Gigi taught me that the conversations the family has around the table—be it for breakfast, lunch or dinner, and anytime in between—are the moments that we tie our heartstrings with our loved ones. Every time we would come to visit, she would have us sit at the kitchen table. She would offer me a piping hot fresh cup of coffee, and we would sit and talk for hours. When my husband and his brother were growing up, each day when they came home from school, she would sit them at the table, give them a snack, and talk to them about their day before they went out to play. As growing young men, they spent hours around that table with their parents. Many lively conversations were had around that table about life, morality, religion, politics, books, culture, and memories of family members. I was honored to marry into the family and join in this special time around the table. The times spent around the table with them kept our family grounded, our heartstrings tied to together, and created a lifetime of memories for us that we still hold dear.

2. Love your husband: Titus 2:4, says “and so train the young women to love their husbands and children.” Gigi loved her husband with her whole heart and put his needs before her own or that of her children or grandchildren. Gigi was a stay-at-home wife and spent her days anticipating her husband’s needs and doing things that would delight him. She would pick out her husband’s clothes, and make sure they were neat and pressed for him, and made sure he looked sharp as he headed out the door each morning. She prepared special meals for him, and always placed his desires above her own. He was a professional man working in the oil and gas industry, and he was a very successful man because his wife loved him, she exemplified Proverbs 31:1 which says, “The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain.” This was especially true when my Father-in-law had a brain tumor and spent the last few years of his life in and out of the hospital and Gigi never left his side.

3. Love your children: Gigi loved her children with all her heart! Gigi was sweet and kind and gentle. She showed me how to love my children by the way she loved her children and her grandchildren. Gigi loved her children and spent time pouring into their lives, and the lives of their children. Hours were spent at the family table playing with Legos building towers and playing with play dough or coloring. She was always quick to give a hug and kiss, and tell you how much you were loved. She would write my children notes telling them how much they were valued and how special they were. She spent her time building them up and making them feel special and loved.

4. The importance of prayer: Gigi spent time with God in his Word, and she faithfully prayed for her family and those in need. She prayed for her family daily. She made sure her boys were in church, and she spent time teaching them to love the Lord. Gigi loved to journal and spent hours writing out prayers for her family.

5. Caring for those in need: Gigi loved people. She had her priorities straight—she loved God first and foremost, then her husband and that love extended out to her family, and finally then to others. Gigi faithfully lived out a 1 Corinthians 13 life: “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it his not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” That was Gigi. Gigi had a very generous and giving spirit, and much like Matthew 25:36 “I was naked, and you clothed me, I was sick, and you visited me,” she was quick to help a friend in need. She would visit those in the hospital and care for those less fortunate.

Gigi taught me many things about being a lady. She loved extravagantly while she lived on this earth. Now that she has passed on, we miss her incredibly, but our lives have been forever impacted by her actions. She left us with a remarkable legacy of love, and she lives on in our memory. The lessons she taught me along the way have challenged me to love God more, put my husband first, love my kids with all my heart, to be a good friend and to care for those in need.

It is not Good that Man Should be Alone!

 

Last week I wrote the blog post, “Called to be His Helper” about my number one priority of being my husbands helper, and that comes from the scripture in Genesis 2:18 that says, Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” Well little did I know that I would have an experience that clearly illustrates the first part of that scripture which says that it is not good that man should be alone.

Connor, Ian and I went to Oklahoma for a debate tournament for several days and left Peter and Jacob home as bachelors. Before I left, I made the guys some chicken salad, and a big pot of chili. I asked Peter if he wanted me to prepare anything else for him before I left, and he said,”No it will be fine, we’ll figure it out.” After eating the chicken salad and chill, they decided to order Pizza one night. The next day, Peter woke up not feeling well and so he worked from home that day. Jacob was gone the entire day, and Peter was left to fend for himself. Now he did not feel good enough to go out to eat, and he had pretty much exhausted all of his options at the house. My guys can open up a full refrigerator or pantry and say, “there is nothing here to eat”!

With a day packed full of phone calls and meetings Peter didn’t really have a chance to go get food. Now my husband is the innovative tech-savvy guy that he is, decided that he would use Amazon Prime now to have some grub sent to the house.  Amazon Prime now is a service that allows you to order from Amazon, and they will deliver anything to your house in two hours or less. My dear sweet husband ordered gluten free dairy free grass feed beef organic hotdogs. I guess I have rubbed off on him more than I thought. If you are going to eat junk food, it should be organic junk food. Where things started to devolve is when he ordered Pringles sour cream and onion potato chips, but since he needed to add something else to his order to hit his twenty dollar minimum, he orders a box of Slim Jims, so much for no nitrates or nitrates organic and gluten-free.

My guys probably enjoyed the break from my healthy home cooked meals, but for obvious health reasons, man can not live on junk food alone.  And for this reason, it is not good that man is left alone! This is why God created woman to be the helper for the man. Each man is unique and has different strengths and weaknesses. It is our job as a wife to know what our own individual husband needs and help him in the area that blesses him so that he can fulfill his calling. We are to here to help, so ladies what is one thing that can you do today that will bless your husband?

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