I don't know whether it's because I celebrated my wedding anniversary yesterday, or because of recent conversations and situations with family and friends...but I've been thinking about marriage a lot recently. And a few thoughts just keep coming back to me so I thought I'd share them.
1. Marriage is Worth the Wait
For some reason, whenever I see this vest of Ethan's I think about marriage. I think about the time before I was married and the desire I had (and that so many single women have) to be married. Marriage is great and wonderful and amazing (it is all of those things and more), but it is also very hard.
In Matthew 19:4-6, Jesus responds to questions from the Pharisees regarding divorce by quoting Genesis 2:24.
He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”
When two individuals join their lives together to become 'one flesh' they are also bringing together two sets of opinions, values, ways of communicating, backgrounds, insecurities, baggage, families...etc etc. Obviously, it is assumed that some of these are likely to be more aligned and in some areas you will be 'on the same wavelength' or have the same values in order to have got you to the decision of marriage in the first place. However, there will always be occasions when you don't agree, when you don't understand each other, when you speak or act without thinking, when you don't respond out of grace...or when you simply wind each other up and drive each other crazy.
I think we've become so enamored with the abundance of chick flicks and period dramas that subconsciously teach us that, although the journey to finding ‘Mr. Right’ may involve heartbreak and hurts, once we’ve found ‘The One’ life will be sweet and wonderful and full of romance. Whereas what we actually step into is a process of molding two whole people (not two halves) into one flesh, a single unit. And that is not easy.
So we struggle when we disagree because that’s not what happens in the movies. We get upset when we feel misunderstood, because aren’t we just supposed to ‘get each other’?! We worry if we’ve made a mistake because surely it can’t be right to fall out once your married?! That’s not what people in good marriages do!
I once heard a speaker say that if there are never any disagreements in a marriage then there is something wrong with the marriage. It means that one or both of the individuals are not entirely open and honest and expressing their opinion, because no two people can ever completely agree on everything. A good marriage is not about never disagreeing…it’s about how you deal and work through the disagreements. It’s about compromise, constructive conversations, grace, resolution, sacrifice, humility, love and so many other things.
One of the greatest, but also the hardest parts of marriage for me is the fact that there is someone who is part of my life and sees and knows every part of who I am. It’s a huge blessing to have someone with whom you can be so open and vulnerable and who will challenge and encourage you. But it’s a challenge too. It says in Proverbs 27:17, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another”. In a marriage we have a unique opportunity to sharpen each other. To help and encourage someone to become all that they were created to be. But, boy does it hurt sometimes.
One of the biggest challenges I have faced since becoming a wife, is the realization that I can be a very selfish person. I can sulk and throw impromptu pity-parties-for-one like you wouldn’t believe (probably because I don’t invite anyone else to the pity-party incase they spoil the foul mood)! I am ashamed of how many times I’ve felt that life just isn’t fair purely because I wasn’t getting what I wanted (not the same as what I needed!). Having someone else constantly challenge your attitude and response to things is tough, especially when you know that ultimately they’re right.
Another challenge has been learning to wait before I respond. To not just react to a situation, but to wait on God and respond in the right way. Not only is marriage worth the wait, but it’s also worth waiting within a marriage. Time, and prayer, can be a great eye opener/life saver/foot out of mouth remover!!!
All this to say, I don’t want people to think that I’m all “hey, don’t get married, it’s horrible. You’ll fall out, and you’ll cry, and you’ll say things you wish you hadn’t, and you’ll miss your freedom and independence and your life will never be the same again!”
I love marriage. I believe God loves marriage. He designed it! I think marriage is completely worth waiting for because it’s amazing. It is totally worth the wait.But I do think that we should go into marriage and live day-by-day in our marriages with the right attitude.
Part of the reason I love Ethan’s vest in the photo above is because we bought it before he was even born. He wanders around now wearing something that we bought, not knowing what or who he would be, but with lots of hopes and dreams and excited anticipation.
Seasons in life are so important. They give us the time and ability to prepare. To get ourselves ready. To do whatever we need to do and work through stuff that is in our lives before we enter the next season. And even in the middle of a season God can teach us, direct us, mould us and stretch us. It seems that whatever stage in life we’re at, there is always something that we are waiting for. Something, that if it’s right, will be worth the wait.
Whether you are single and waiting/hoping/dreaming about being married one day, or you’re newly married, or have been married for a long time…there is always something that God is wanting to do in and through you to improve you and your relationships.
Maybe take the time to read Ephesians 5:22-33 or 1 Corinthians 13. Is there something in those verses that God is speaking to you about? Is there something that he wants to do in or through you in your marriage or in your singleness? Is there an area in your life that you need his help with as you prepare for your next season?
What is it that you are waiting for? Make sure you make the wait worthwhile!
Part two of my thoughts on marriage tomorrow!