What a week! As most of you know, I recently married my best friend. This week Caleb and I not only got to celebrate two months of being married (praise Jesus!!!) but we also got to spend the week learning from speakers and other married couples here at the Institute. Can you imagine a more perfect setting to begin your marriage? Surrounded by over 50 people who are diligently pursuing the Lord, yearning to live more like Him, encouraging you to love one another in a way pleasing to the Lord and putting others first. Biggest. Blessing. Ever!!! Words cannot convey how thankful I am to consistently have others pour wisdom into my heart and life. I am such a work in progress.
As an engaged couple we kept hearing that married life is hard. Being the naïve, optimistic person that I am I would hear these words, smile and nod yet continue thinking that married life would be full of bliss, laughter and smiles- not hard at all.
Yes, married life has been extremely blissful and the most precious gift; but I would be lying if I did not admit how much I have learned. I knew I was selfish, but goodness… Living life alongside Caleb he has gotten to see me in my highs, lows, good times and bad. But during these times he has always encouraged me to turn towards Christ. The Lord uses Caleb and our experiences together to make me more like Him (and I hope I help him grow as well). Marriage is a wonderful example of Proverbs 27:17- iron sharpening iron.
Prior to last week I had some head knowledge about marriage. But this past week I feel as though that head knowledge has started to become heart knowledge. Here is a little bit of what I learned:
1.) The purpose of a Christian marriage is sanctification. Once an individual chooses to live for Christ, everything in their life is supposed to draw them closer to God. Marriage is one of those things. As I mentioned before, Caleb encourages me (even in my worst moments) to turn to Christ. He blesses me by directing me to Him when I need it most. And because of this and because he loves me as Christ loves the church, I want to willingly submit to his authority.
2.) Marriage is teaching me what true love is. As Christians we are called to love unconditionally. We are called to love one another as Jesus does. Well now I am learning. What better way is there to encourage your spouse to cleave to Christ than to love them like Jesus, despite their flaws? But you can’t love this way without first wholly surrendering to Him and drawing nearer to Him daily.
3.) Marriage is also not about me. I am incredibly selfish (sorry Caleb). But that is not why I got married. Yes, being married does selfishly feel so good. But it also allows me to serve. I am learning to not put myself first, but rather to think of Caleb before myself. By no means am I saying this is easy or that I am good at doing this. Marriage is teaching me to think about others before I think of myself.
4.) Communication is key. If there is a problem, not talking about it will not help. I’m one of those people who withdraws when there is a problem, so this has been an interesting topic. The most challenging questions are often the most rewarding. Furthermore, if your and your spouse are not asking one another the tough questions if life, who will? Again, this goes back to the iron sharpening iron.
5.) Prayer is essential. Prayer goes hand in hand with communication but is so important that it deserves its own number. Through prayer one truly gets to learn anothers heart. You get to see their most intimate thoughts, dreams, desires and so much more. Praying draws you closer to one another and to the Lord. I am a huge advocate of prayer and could literally go on and on about how important this is. You will be overwhelmed by the fruit prayer can bring!
I am so blessed that not only did I get to spend the week learning about marriage, but my husband did too. Each day after class we sat down and discussed what we learned and what we liked about each lesson. After this week we decided that we want to be more intentional about the way we react to things. Through the Fear Dance (which I will share with you guys later), we realized what types of things push our buttons and how we respond when our buttons are pushed. We want to be more intentional about how we react when our buttons are pushed and be more intentional about not pushing one anothers buttons. Another thing that we want to increase in our marriage is our communication. Caleb and I sit down every Sunday and ask each other a set of 7 questions (again, I will share these soon) and go over our budget. But we decided that we want to be even more intentional with every conversation. We are learning to encourage one another to focus on the quality of time spent in the Word rather than just the quantity. This leads to much more intentional conversations. A third thing I desire for us to continue doing is not keep secrets. Since we have only been married for 2 months there has not been much time for secrets to develop. I want to continue talking and being honest. Another thing that I kept hearing this week was the need for a date night. Life can get crazy and schedule can be hectic. But I want for Caleb and I to always set a weekly date night. This can be anything from a planned night at home to a date out on the town. My last desire is for us to continually have fun. I pray that we are always as full of joy and thankful for one another. Words cannot convey how blessed I feel to have married my best friend and I pray that we daily strive to bring joy to one another.
Marriage has been the biggest blessing and I cannot wait to continue learning what it looks like to be a God fearing wife.
“That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.” Genesis 2:24
“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17