Everywhere I go we talk about marriage lately. I’m reading at least 3 “wife” books right now. The pastor is preaching Ephesians. I’m married. My husband’s married. Most of my friend’s are married… See? It’s an epidemic! ;-) I’ve been itching to sit down and write about it all! But feeling a little intimidated because February will only be my 4th wedding anniversary.
My hope would be in writing this, any other young women who read this can be encouraged and simultaneously challenged. Almost none of this have I come up with through my own experiences, but rather what I feel God has shown me and spoken to me through people I respect. Whether you’re already married, or no where near it, there’s stuff to be considered here.
First, a few quotes from my quote book. (Followed by a recap of how I’m working on this…)
“What shocks me most is the dehumanization of love by young and wholly legal wives who chop and nail down and reduce that powerful force to a technique no different from driving a car… I am appalled by their consumer approach, their concern with management, their ineffectuality as women– sexless, competitive, anxiety -ridden. What has become of joy, and sorrow? Have women no instincts anymore, no mystery or mettle? Must everything be subjected to instruction and manuals, as though love were kind of cooking school?”
“Being in battle together is what keeps us from being at war with each other.”
(Francis Chan. You and Me Forever.)
“A woman who habitually complains against a man is quibbling. Either live with him, and hold your tongue, or act, but don’t harp, unless you really mean to keep from being loved.”
“A woman of GOD does not hope solely in her husband but, (Proverbs 31:25) ‘She is clothed with strength and dignity and laughs without fear of the future.’ For she knows of and hopes in her Lords promise to be with her.”
“Regardless of how satisfying your marriage is or isn’t, the real issue is how satisfied you are with God. Whether your marriage is full of joy or pain, God’s glory is at stake. Do you need to shift your focus on Him?… There are many, many Christians caught up in their own personal satisfaction, giving no thought to the way in which their lives show a deep satisfaction in God. Where is the willingness to forego a feeling of happiness in our marriage’s for the sake of God’s glory? No, we are clawing for our rights, and forgetting there is something far more immense and cosmic going on.”
(Lisa Chan. You and Me Forever.)
My focus used to be on fully supporting my husband as much as humanly possible. Sacrificing my comfort or menial pleasures. All with hopes of some reward. Some marriage books teach this method…. “If I do this (seemingly selfless act) then he will be compelled to this (some sort of act I selfishly desired…).” How selfish of a mindset. Deceitful and manipulative really.
Is anyone REALLY surprised that I was often disappointed? Not because of any flaw of my husband, but because I did it all for the wrong reason. Why should he suspect that I was expecting to be owed some gift, or a sort of groveling gratitude, for a sacrifice that appeared to be (and should have been) purely out of love for him? Why did I deserve any reward? He often acts purely out of love for me, without expecting anything in return. Nor do I often think myself indebted to him for his loving me so well. Talk about a double standard!
Now, I am working to redirect my focus… Trying to focus on bettering our marriage in God’s eyes. Learning to be married as He designed it. Not as the world deems good. Trying not to compare our marriage to others, because none of them know how a perfect Holy marriage should look any better than God. I look to examples of wives I admire… But mostly I look to God. I pray that my acts as a wife are done for His sake, even more so than for my husbands sake. I try to focus on maturing as a daughter of God more than I do on becoming a better wife.
My relationship with Christ is the basis of everything.
If I fall deeper in love with Christ …. I will become better equipped to love my husband.
If I focus on loving him as Christ loves him …. my love to him will become a more pure love.
As I work at being more Christlike in sacrificing and becoming selfless …. that will hopefully naturally over flow into my relationship with my husband.
If I make everything in my life about the Lord and His glory …. I won’t be so earthly minded and little things won’t be big things anymore. (Hopefully!)
That’s all. I like it so much more than the “marriage formulas” I have tried before. Focusing our everything on God, helps all else fall into place. There is definitely good advice to be had from books and those further along than us, but I’m learning to remember my relationship with God takes precedence.
Ignore the old magic formula of
4. All else
Instead I’m learning that the happiest marriage will come from two people who focus on God ALONE. Separately, and together in their marriage, trying to be the best they can be as HE created them. Doing everything possible with every ounce of their life to bring glory to Him… And everything else should follow suit! Because that’s how HE designed it….
2. Anything else.