Interviews With Wives: Sara Renney

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Today we sit down and hear from Sara Renney! She happens to be one of my most favorite people in this world.

 

What difficulties have you faced as a wife?

I’ve battled perfectionism and am a people pleaser so I second guess everything for fear it is not the perfect decision, action, outcome, or choice. I have been insecure with everything from big life choices to the small day-to-day choices. It’s exhausting. It’s like a war that constantly wages in my head. It wasn’t until I really began to rely on God’s Word that I was able to rely less on myself and let go of a lot of that “need to please”.

 

It was there that I found confidence in myself, my role as wife, my role as parent, my role as friend, everything. My identity has become wrapped up in Christ so that now in alI do I turn toward Him for direction. And if it doesn’t sit well with someone else, well, that’s okay.

 

And my husband sees it. In fact, when our marriage was in a really bad place a few years ago, one of the things he said was that he desired from me an increase in confidence. When he told me this I remember being completely shocked by it but, at the same time, relieved that I wasn’t the only one that was bothered by it. And the insecurities still pop up from time to time and wage that war in my head. It’s nasty. But I know now where to turn to find my peace. Just writing this is a good reminder to me because I have been battling this again recently!

 

And control. Oof. It’s a big one for me. Being in control helps me feel safe. Secure. CONFIDENT. For me, it’s basically a false sense of security. When I can control everything I feel like I can control the outcome of things. And that feels good. Whether it was my husband’s choice of clothes, food, jobs, hobbies, friends, whatever…none of it was off limits for me to try and control because it felt safe. But what it was really proving was my lack in faith for all God had created my husband to be! It was a lack a lack in faith that God would lead my husband. It was a lack of faith in God to take care of my family. It was a lack of faith. And for that, I have repented. There is great freedom in letting go. There is great freedom in allowing my husband’s Maker to lead him and our family. I no longer feel the need! [Insert big sigh of relief.]

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Were there any unhealthy expectations you had going into marriage that you later learned were not helpful?

I struggled the most with thinking everything had to be equal. If I did the dishes one night then it was because he was folding the laundry. And if it wasn’t equal, I’d get frustrated because he wasn’t doing enough. I would look to him for praise for EVERYTHING. I’d get frustrated with him for not doing things my way or…eh hem…the RIGHT way. As it turns out, my motivation was all wrong.

 

I realized that I was to do all things for the joy of the Lord (1 Corinthians 10:31), not for the joy of my husband. Once my motivation changed, then my attitude changed. It became less about my husband and all about God. I washed the dishes,folded the laundry, etc. because I wanted to care well for this beautiful family God had given me.

 

And this beautiful family is made up of His people! So by washing their dishes, I was glorifying God! It might sound silly, but for me it changed everything. I no longer needed praise from my husband for doing what i was called to do. Just as he does not need praise from me for taking care of his family. Does he appreciate when I tell him how much his hard work means to me? OF COURSE! As do I. But it’s a bonus, not the requirement. Oh, and the work does not have to be equal. Sometimes I pick up my husband’s load and sometimes he picks up mine. That’s just how life goes.

 

How do you or did you struggle with intimacy?

Sexual intimacy was a very big struggle for me for many years. For me, the biggest struggle came from my lack of understanding about God’s design for the married sexual relationship. I grew up with a skewed idea of what sex was. I looked at it from a worldly perspective and I feel the world very much paints a picture of it being wrong, dirty, and even un-Christian. The last point was the most challenging for me because growing up in a Christian environment I was continuously given the message that sex was not okay until marriage. And while I certainly agree with this, it’s very difficult to switch our brains overnight once we’re married to that of a forbidden act to one we’re supposed to wholeheartedly enjoy and embrace without any reservation. It was a long process for me to embrace this and feel comfortable in that area of my life.

 

What really helped for me to embrace this fact was to understand that God created me to be a sexual being. It was no mistake. In fact, I began to realize that it was a mistake in not embracing that piece of myself for so long. I learned to see myself for who God says I am. And this just happened to be one area. Once I began to grow in my confidence in myself through God’s eyes, I began to feel more confident in all areas of my life. My identity was less about who the world says I am and more about who God says I am. God says I am a child of God and that I am Travis’ wife and that our bodies have become one flesh (Genesis 2:24).

 

This realization quickly cleared up my confusion and inhibitions and brought me such peace. God is very clear about the beauty of an intimate relationship between a husband and wife. 

 

How has communication been a struggle in your marriage?

Communication with my husband has often been challenging for us because we communicate very differently. I tend to spew things off in a short amount of time. Whatever is on my mind (usually multiple things at once). Travis is a thinker and needs time to process information before fully committing himself to big conversations. This is how many of our conversations go…

Me: “I would like to talk about Topic A.

Travis: [Inserts sounds of crickets and what feels like an eternity to me even though it’s probably one been 10 seconds.]

Me: [Getting bored waiting for a response to Topic A I quickly forget I’m waiting on him for a response so my mind has already jumped to another topic.] “I would like to talk about Topic B.

Travis: [More crickets.]

Me: [Realizing he now has not responded to Topic A or B growing frustrated.] “Are you ignoring me? Why don’t you want to talk about this?”

Travis: “No. I’m just thinking through Topic A.”

Me: URGH!

This is how different our communication styles are. We’ve learned that Travis needs time to thoroughly think things through. So we have come to learn the right times to bring up heavy conversations. We’ve also learned that it’s okay for Travis to take time to process as long as he returns to the table with a response in a reasonable amount of time. And most importantly, we’ve learned the best times to NOT communicate. Specifically, when high emotions are involved. These are the times we verbally agree to step away and come back to the table at a designated time to continue discussing when emotions have settled down (mostly mine!).

 

If you were to look back at yourself on your wedding day, what do you wish you would’ve known?

Our girls are 11, 8, and 3 and I wish we would have realized from Day #1 that our relationship with one another comes before our relationship with our kids. It’s so easy to mix up our priorities! When our kids see that they come after our marriage relationship, they actually feel more secure, confident, and loved. It took us the first several years of parenting before we understood this truth. Those years were difficult and once we realigned our priorities our entire family felt the positive benefits. Mostly, our marriage has dramatically strengthened. Second, our our relationship with our children has grown. We also noticed a very positive change in our children’s behaviors. Just to name a few.

 

What wisdom can you share with other wives?

Enjoy the journey, worry less, trust God more, learn how to budget prior to the wedding, embrace the mistakes, care less about what others think, be a GREAT forgiver, be your husband’s biggest cheerleader (even when you don’t feel like it!), assume the best in him, make dates a priority (especially after becoming parents), laugh and be silly together, and stop trying to fix your husband and allow God to mold him into His perfect design.

 

How did Sara’s story speak to you? 
Sara Renney has been married to Travis for 13 years. She currently works from home with their small business and as a full-time mama to three girls. She loves baking and cooking, learning about anything natural health related, and meeting new friends. She is a creative at heart, and loves seeing beauty in all things.

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One thought on “Interviews With Wives: Sara Renney

  1. Thank you for sharing your story. I certainly can relate to many of these situations you have mentioned but God is good — give HIM your best and forget the rest 😊.

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