My husband and I just celebrated seven years of marriage together on October 29. And through the course of seven years I have learned the pain of refusing to acknowledge problems, along with the redemptive healing that comes when we stepped back and allowed God to be God. I realize that to most seven years just seems like child’s play, but as more and more marriages around me start to die off like flies, the fact that we have been together for seven years is nothing short of God’s grace.
Bobby and I were at a wedding this past weekend, and one of the greatest compliments came in the form of a simple question: “Are y’all newlyweds?” We smiled at the sweet young lady who asked and then looked at one another. “No, we have been married for years with two kids.” And her look of amazement said it all: How? How do we as a married couple with full-time careers that consume 40 hours a week, two children who deserve the rest of our time, a home to manage, the different ministries we are involved with manage to keep the “spark” ablaze? We have definitely seen rocky times. We have hurt one another with our words and our actions. We have had fights started over stupid things turn into battles. To be honest, the fights normally start because I am still learning how to control my tongue. But a couple of years ago, after go through one of the hardest things in our lives, we invited God into our marriage.
I mean, why not? He created it. He created marriage to be a safe haven for each of the spouses. He created it so that we could know the deepest sense of intimacy possible on this earth. Two are suppose to become one. Pastor Craig from LifeChurch.tv had a great analogy for this. He said that marriage is like gluing two pieces of paper together. You can’t separate the two pages after they have been glued without ripping them apart. The papers don’t loose the information that was written upon them, just like spouses don’t loose their identities. And when paper is glued together, ideally it is suppose to be stronger than on it’s own. By inviting God into our marriage, we changed our view of it. Instead of viewing myself as having to submit myself to my husband, I looked it as a way for me to love him and respect him at a deeper level.
When the Bible tells women to submit to their husbands, many get offended and start bashing the Bible as being anti-feminist. But if one was to really read what God says, He didn’t leave out the husbands. He told them to love their wives as Christ loved the church: sacrificially. Now I have read enough love stories to know that if a woman came across a man who loved her as she is, where she is and would do anything for her, she would return that love with doing whatever he needed. When Bobby is meeting my needs, I want to meet his thus both sets of needs are being met. It’s when we become selfish that we start to falter.
And believe me it is easy to be selfish. He messes up one time, like not putting something up, the wife very easily jumps into cutting him down. It makes her feel better to set him straight. When in reality those words have cut down to something deeper than what was necessary. I have done this numerous times to Bobby, and I am ashamed to admit it. But I believe there is healing in admission and turning away from those actions. There is more power in my over-looking his error than in my harsh words. And because I chose to rely on the Holy Spirit’s power to watch my tongue, I have saved my husband another wound to bear.
I would like to spend the next couple of weeks encouraging couples to seek God’s best in their marriages. There are several devotionals available to help such as The Love Dare or listening to LifeChurch.tv’s series on marriage. I encourage you to pick those up and learn from others’ mistakes and God’s word on how to have a healthy, godly marriage.
For today, though, no matter what your feelings are I encourage you to tell your spouse one thing that you really appreciate about them. No explanation needed.
I pray over the marriages represented by those reading this post. I pray that your Holy Spirit will guide them through this walk of life and through loving and respecting one another the way you have called us to.
In Jesus name,