I always thought that having an accountability partner was for someone who had “a problem.” And I did not have a “problem”, well not really. I mean there are always things that I could do better of course, but I will get to them. Soon, I promise.
It took a while to realize, but when I was finally honest with myself I admitted I actually did have a problem. I was allowing my husband to slip to the bottom of my priority list and I was having a hard time getting him bumped back up. I had my reasons which I thought were pretty good, but these excuses didn’t help get things back into order.
I had allowed the business of life and the demands of kids get in the way. I let tiredness and laziness rule my mind and my flesh. Luckily I was married to a very patient, servant-minded man who did not demand my attention. But the lack of attention was starting to wear on our marriage. I finally realized I needed help.
One day I was discussing my dilemma with my friend. I shared that my heart’s desire was to serve him and love on him and give him what he wants without strings attached. But my flesh was becoming so selfish, and I was losing the battle. I explained to her that I began to resent him for wanting me to do things intimately for him. Didn’t he know how much I had already done that day? Didn’t he understand how much I had already given of myself to others, to HIS kids? I started playing the “I don’t want to give you what you want until you give me what I want” game. And let me tell you, this game never ends well!
When I opened up to her, we discovered that she had some of the same dilemmas. We were both allowing the stress and demands of our busy lives to distract us from placing our husbands second in line behind our relationship with God. We realized we needed to take the bold, scary, and very vulnerable step of becoming accountability partners. Our goal was simple: We wanted to be intentional and excited to bless our husbands. We committed to holding each other accountable to this goal. We were going to encourage each other to do better, call each other on the carpet when excuses started coming up and rejoice together when successes were made.
Once we made the commitment, we needed to figure out how to make it work. Our solution was a weekly email accountability report. We came up with 8 questions we would answer about the previous week. In our own report we would write the answers, ask for specific prayers, and share what God has shown us that week.
Eight months later, it is amazing to look back and see how God has changed us and helped us become the wives that we desired to be. Now we are not perfect, and we have a long ways to go, but I can say with confidence that both of our marriages are much stronger today because we took this step to be accountable to someone.
Now you may be saying, “that is great for you but I could never do that.” Let me give you some things to think about. In James 5:16 it says, “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” (NLT) In Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 It says. “Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.” (NLT)
Life is hard, and it is even harder if you do it alone. We are not designed to do it alone! Our husbands are a good support system and should be our main source of accountability, support and encouragement. But he cannot be the one who helps you with this part of your life. And, there are just times when you need a girlfriend that can really understand your struggles and can closely relate to what you are going through.
An accountability partner needs to be a trusted friend. One who can keep secrets. One who knows your husband well and will not allow you to bash his integrity. One that will let you vent but not let you wallow in your sorrows. A friend who will know when to challenge you with the Word and when to let you cry and encourage you to keep going. This is a friend that you have invested your time in getting to know them. It is a relationship that has equal give and take. You need a friend who will offer advice from the Word and not just give her opinions about the subject. Remember, God’s wisdom is what changes hearts.
Hopefully you have one of these friends in your life. If so, pray about it and see if God is leading you to take your relationship to the next level. If you don’t have a friend that you feel like you can share your intimate thoughts with, get on your knees and ask God to show you who He has for you. God knows what you need in this season of life, and I know He is faithful to provide. If the person is not already in your life, you might need to spend time getting to know them and building a relationship with them before you can launch into a full accountability relationship. It will take time…maybe a year or so before you can do weekly emails. But start small now! Ask God to give you insight into your relationship. Ask Him to use you to speak truth and wisdom as you hang out and discuss life together. Allow God to be a part of your conversation, and you will be amazed at how He can use another friend to speak into your life.