“What marriage has taught me about us”

Marriage is the place where we should be able to flourish.  Marriage is the place where one can build up or tear down. 
Marriage is the place where you can know sin or grace. 

One of my friends recently called me and told me that a couple that got married around the same time my husband and I did, is now struggling in their marriage. The struggle for them is so real that the newly married woman decided to go stay with her mom and has been questioning her husband’s walk with God. This led me to reflect on my own marriage. My husband and I get along really well and recently we have heard rude comments that we are in this place because it’s fresh and there are no kids. When people say comments like this, I think to myself, “what makes you think that my marriage is meant to look like a failure?” Statistically speaking more than 50% of marriages fail and they say the first year is the hardest. I have had reasons to dislike my husband but I didn’t get married to be always happy. I got married with the intention to serve my husband, grow together, and honor God through our covenant. We have been married for about 7 months and I absolutely love him even though I struggle with him taking the lead. You see before getting married I was the definition of Miss Independent and often called a free bird. Being single the whole mindset of independence can be helpful. But once you get married I learned that this is not helpful because it’s no longer “I got this” but it’s now “we got this.” Marriage is teaching me about respect, why Jesus was right, and how to become less selfish.

Without Jesus, I would dislike my husband and try to run away as fast as I can. Not because my husband isn’t great but because change and discomfort can make one run fast. My childhood was not easy and when things got tough, I ran away mentally.From a young age, I had the desire to meet someone who would love me and call me his wife. Finally, the day came and I met the man that would become my husband. I knew going into marriage, that it wouldn’t just be “I” any longer but “us.” Going into this meant that I was going to have to be less selfish because now I had to look out for someone else other than myself. That is tough!For most of my youth I have been doing life on my own because my parents weren’t really around. By learning to make my own decisions I learned to rely on myself. When we got married the first few weeks where really hard on me. I would cry and get frustrated because I was uncomfortable with change. Change such as a new place and not living the independent way I was used to. So many things changed for me before getting married. I had just moved from South Africa, I was there as a missionary on my own. And before that I lived in sunny San Diego. In San Diego and South Africa, I lived a pretty bold and free life. If I wanted something I made sure, I found a way to get what I wanted.

But then marriage happened and everything changed. I went from doing whatever I wanted to do, to now having to ask my husband for permission to do things. I asked for permission for simple things such as can I purchase this or can I go to a certain place. I didn’t ask for permission because my husband asked me to do so, I did it because when I read the bible I am called to honor and respect my husband. A way in which I do this is by giving my husband a place and a voice in our marriage. My husband has said, “no” to many requests I have had. Hearing him say,” NO!” has made me cry. I think I cry because of not being used to hearing the word “no” this word makes me feel as if something is wrong. Now as an adult when I hear “no” I want to throw a fit like a little girl. But I am learning even through the discomfort that my husband is the leader and that I can trust his judgment. My husband’s role in this marriage is to be the leader and I have learned that we work best as a team when he is the one leading and I submit. God entrusted us both with one another and we believe in the biblical teaching in how a wife is called to respect her husband, to honor him, and submit to his direction from God.

I have seen that marriage is about allowing our relationship to reflect Jesus, to die to self, to love one another, to serve one another, to speak truth, to honor, to respect, and point one another to Jesus. With ultimately getting to that place of understanding that marriage is not meant to fulfill you because only Jesus can fulfill you. 

The way we look in our continued grow together as a couple is by submitting ourselves to Jesus. To see him be the foundation on which our marriage and everything we do will stand. There have been times when my husband and I misunderstand each other and during these times I am constantly reminded to ask the holy spirit to intervene. When God is invited into the midst of an argument or misunderstanding he has shown me his “Will” provides a presence of peace and clarity.

I am in this marriage to win! My husband is not my enemy, he is my friend, my lover, and my adventure partner in this thing called life. We realize that marriage will have some good seasons and some not good seasons that come along but we look to embrace Jesus as our savior. Marriage is about discovering each other, not assuming, and asking questions instead. Marriage is about honoring one another and cheering each other on. Marriage is about being okay with change and growing together through the change. Marriage is about speaking truth and encouraging one another. Marriage is about laughing more rather than taking everything so serious. Marriage is about coming together and becoming one rather than arguing and pulling apart. Marriage is a covenant, a place where vows were once said, and a place to reflect to the world what a Godly marriage should shine like. 

Ephesians 5:22-33 New International Version (NIV)

22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing[a] her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”[b] 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

Fighting the “I am not good enough thoughts”

Fighting the “I am not good enough thoughts” is a battle between your mind and heart. When your heart and mind have been wounded by the lies people have spoken over you, you remain stuck. I will share with you how to break free from these lies…

There was a study done for two plants at a school to prove a point: The plant that was positively affirmed flourished, and the one that was spoken negatively to died.

I wonder if a part of our heart and mind shuts down when we have been beaten up with horrible words. I am not sure, but I do know that these words affect how we view ourselves and how we live our life. Words have power and I know this too well. I have seen how my words have brought people low, and also how they have brought them up. I used to have a friend in high school who struggled with depression, and when I took the time to call out all the good in her, she began to flourish and make positive choices. But I have also seen how my hurtful words have affected people, and how they keep bringing up in conversations what I said in the past.

When I think about the power words have, I think about the bible verse on Proverbs 18:21 “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”

As a child, I lived through rejection of not feeling wanted because my dad wanted me to be aborted when he found out about me. Also, I went through sexual abuse at the age of 7 and after that, I was scared of the world. People had a hard time understanding me, and for that I always felt judged by them. As I got older, specially in high school, people began to speak horrible things to me such as “You are not enough”, and I began to believe this lie. I was living my life from a place of not feeling enough, and for that I would make poor choices, such as who I dated, and how insecurely I conducted myself.

Why did I let people determine my worth? Because I saw them as worthy, and I believed them. I wish I would not had given them power over me, but I did because I did not know any better.

When I came to have a relationship with God, I thought He also thought I wasn’t worthy because of my past mistakes (sins), but God isn’t like these people. He picked me up and called out the good in me. He began to reaffirm me in my identity and reminded me that I am enough, because he is my creator. That I am worthy because He died for me, and that I am loved because He is with me wherever I go.

I encourage you to let your battle be in prayer and in surrender. Allow God to be the authority in your life. Give Him the power to affirm you and begin to believe what He says about you….

Jeremiah 29:11  For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.