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Marriage has been for me a journey quite unlike anything I expected it to be. I’m sure most people would agree. When we say “yes” to spending the rest of our lives and giving all of ourselves to another person, rarely – if ever – do we understand the reality of such a commitment. Marriage has a way of exposing our often underestimated but deep commitment to ourselves – our own safety and freedom and indulgences. And marriage asks, with each new day, that we trade our commitment to our own selves for the much higher commitment to another person – the one we have chosen to love for the rest of our lives.
This is an exchange that proves to be more than most people can – or are willing to – follow through with. Thus, the current divorce rate of our day. There is, however, a way to remain surrendered to such an exchange, and to see marriage deepen and become what it was ultimately meant to be. For while there is bliss to be known in marriage, its created purpose is not only for the temporal happiness of our searching hearts. Ephesians 5 tells us that marriage was made to showcase the eternal and perfect love of God, that love which He has for us, and that love which we are invited to both receive and give back to Him. It is mutual, sacrificial, self-giving love. And truly, it is only possible to the degree that God is in the center of our lives and our marriage.
Marriage has proven that I am far from perfect. It has proven the same of my husband. We have seen each other’s worst. And it has left scars we wish we could erase. Sometimes the pain of those scars seems too great to bear, and I have faced the temptation of wondering if I married the right man. I’m not proud of that, but I am happy to share that, in those moments of temptation, God has always reminded me that it’s more important to be the right kind of wife than to worry about whether he is the right husband.
The fact is, I married him. I pledged my heart and my self and my life to this man. He is now the right man, because I covenanted with him, before God. For better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and health, until death do us part. No matter what it looks like or how it feels from day to day, my responsibility – my privilege – is to be the kind of wife God has called and is empowering me to be.
I decided to create this page, and to write this post about marriage, because I have a marriage that has known God’s great, deep mercy. Discovering that mercy, and choosing to live in it, has not been easy. But it has come with deep rewards, blessings I cannot count. I know there are many struggling marriages out there, many wives who don’t know what to do, or if they want to do what they should. I’ve been there. Sometimes I am still there. And I wanted to open up the life God has chosen to give me, and the marriage He has blessed me with, in the hopes that my story – our story – will give you hope.
Hope that God can and does work even in the most devastating and painful circumstances. Hope that love can survive the hardest hits. Hope that marriage can endure through seasons of shaking and breaking and remaking. Hope that, when all you see are broken pieces, God sees the complete picture, and knows how to finish putting it all back together again. Hope that God can take two imperfect, broken, selfish people and teach them how to give themselves to each other in a way that brings a surprising kind of glory and satisfaction.
In the posts to come, I will share pieces of my story with you. My story as a wife, and how God is still, daily, shaping me into the image He created me to be through that role. My story of how I’ve learned to surrender, and am learning to trust, and will continue to learn to love, despite that it is sometimes easier not to.
God is doing a great thing in me, in my husband, and in our marriage, one day at a time. He is bringing beauty out of our ashes. And I am eager to see how this will all turn out. Because, as I said in the beginning, marriage has been a journey quite unlike I expected it to be. But then, why wouldn’t it be, seeing that the God Who created marriage is the One Whose ways and thoughts are so much higher than our own (Isaiah 55:8-9)? I can only imagine what He might have in store for us!
And that’s the good news about marriage when it disappoints our expectations…God always has something greater in mind. A dear friend and wise teacher once told me to put this Scripture above my bed, to remind me that God has good plans for my marriage:
“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘Plans for good and not for evil, plans to give you a hope and future.'” Jeremiah 29:11
The awesome thing about that promise is that God spoke it during one of the worst times in Israel’s life. It didn’t seem like God’s plans could possibly be good. Yet, God promised they were. And the rest of Scripture proves that He made good on His promise, as He always does.
Whatever the state of your marriage, or your heart as a wife, may God encourage you to hope and believe in His good plans for you, and for your marriage. And may our journey as wives be blessed with courage, strength, and humility as we seek to be holy women, wholly submitted to God and to our marriages as He forms us into the image He created us to be. May we be empowered, through the Holy Spirit, to love and respect our husbands, and to become excellent wives and true blessings in our homes. May the love of God so penetrate our hearts that it becomes a fountain of living water, refreshing our marriages and reflecting the grace of God between our hearts.
I look forward to sharing this journey with you!