Wednesday, February 4, 2015
What I Can Do Today to Make my Marriage Strong for Years to Come
As divorce becomes more common and couples that we know and love call it quits, Blue eyes and I have found ourselves wondering how they got to that place. While we can't judge the situations of others, we can, and we want to, judge our own marriage.
We want to examine our heart and habits in the light of God's word. I know that a seemingly small seed of bitterness or discontent left to grow, could very well in ten years, be so big that it could cloud my entire view. Making me in a sense blind, unable to see at all, except through the lens of bitterness.
The older I get the more I love my favorite quote, for truly, "The years tell us much that the days never knew." O years to come, what will you tell that I am not seeing today? Will the years tell an ugly story of broken bitterness or will they tell a sweet story of peace and redemption and the faithfulness of God?
And so, a few nights ago, as I lay in my bed trying to fall asleep pondering these things, I thought of the precious man sleeping beside me and in my heart was a passionate plea to our Father in heaven, that He would not let us grow apart. That He would make our hearts good and wise.
I thought of the seven children sleeping throughout the house, the incarnation of our love, and my heart cried out the more. I prayed that God would not allow anything to come between their daddy and me. Because really, these little ones are the crux of the matter. They are the ones who pay the ultimate price of divorce. "And did not He make one?... And wherefore one? That He might seek a godly seed.....For the Lord, the God of Israel, saith that He hateth divorce." Malachi 2:15,16
I know life can be so hard and throw at us some really crazy things. And with the rampant use of pornography and substance abuse, the heart and souls of many marriages are being ripped apart. My heart aches for those who truly give the very best they have to their marriages but have a spouse who refuses to walk in the will of the Lord. I know that a wife is only half of the marriage. But regardless of the actions of anyone else, we WILL be blessed when we step out in faith and obey the word of God. We will. Maybe not with a strong marriage but certainly with strong faith and a close relationship with our Lord. Certainly! Because obedience is always blessed and God is faithful unto His promises.
I have been a wife for almost seventeen years. At my bridal shower we sang the song He Makes All Things Beautiful in His Time. I have come to love this song! And whenever I sing it, in my heart it's me as a wife that I'm singing about.
"In His time, in His time,
He makes all things beautiful in His time.
Lord, please show me every day as you're teaching me your way,
That you'll do just as you say in your time.
In your time, in your time,
You make all things beautiful in your time.
Lord, my life to you I bring; may each song I have to sing,
Be to you a lovely thing in your time."
And you know what? After all this time He is still making all things beautiful. Sometimes when we are going through a really hard time Blue eyes will tell me, "It's going to be ok. We will be ok. This is called the crucible, it will make us stronger, it will refine us and make our marriage more pure." He's been right too. When I look back over our marriage, I see that during the hardest times, even those that have been caused by our sinfulness, when we have in desperation clung to Jesus and weathered through, He has made into something beautiful.
I want to still have a teachable heart. I want to have an eternal perspective and build up my marriage for the years to come. And how can I do that today?
I can pray. I can pray with and for Blue eyes. I am sure that prayer has been the saving grace of my marriage. I can't think of anything that has fostered intimacy, friendship, and openness in my marriage like praying aloud together has. I read in a book once that prayer is a mysterious thing, we can't really explain how it works, but one thing is sure, those who pray the most believe the most in it's power. I guess coming before the Creator together, the one who sees all things in our hearts anyway, makes it easy to be really, really real. And to be one, we need to be able to share our fears, hopes, and hurts with one another. Even if it feels uncomfortable sometimes, I can pray.
I can forgive. Forgiveness....without it a marriage couldn't get very far. After all, we are two fallen creatures, living day in and day out with one another. Hebrews 12:15 says that we should be very careful "lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled." Sometimes the soil of my heart seems so ripe for the snaky roots of bitterness to grow! But I don't want to be bitter! I want to walk in forgiveness because that is the way of peace and grace. The faults and failures that I see in Blue eyes I can faithfully leave at the throne of God. I can ask God to help me forgive the small things and the big things too.
I can (gulp) obey. I can learn to obey my husband. I can embrace submissiveness with grace and beauty. I know, I don't like this command very much sometimes either, but I trust that God is always good. And He wants what is best for me and my family. For some reason in our modern times a wife obeying her husband conjures up ideas of controlling, abusive, legalistic men. Unfortunately, I think some men are afraid to even have strong convictions, especially if they aren't in line with what their wives think, because of this. Too bad, because husbands and fathers have a lot to answer for.
I feel like I'm setting Blue eyes up to fail if I don't respect his place of leadership in our family.What's a guy to do? He either has to turn a blind eye to things he thinks are not right or look like a jerk trying to make his family obey. Both of those things are bad and unnatural. My dear love had a much more conservative mindset about things then I did, causing a lot of conflict in our early years of marriage. But through prayer and love and a lot of growing up on both our parts, God has showed me how nice it actually is to be a wife.
I have a lot of respect for a man who has faithfully stood by his convictions all these years. I'm glad he cares about our family and the way we're raising our kids. I'm glad that when I'm wondering about something serious, instead of googling it or asking every gal I know, I can ask Blue eyes his opinion and just freely go with his advice. I like the feeling of being protected from false doctrine and teachings, freeing up my emotional energy to focus on my role as a teacher and mom.
I can chose not to spend my time with women who are disrespectful of the men in their life. I can chose to embrace the word of God and not be ashamed of my place in the family. I can chose to bless my husband and together with him build a family that is strong and in order.
Let us diligently pray for one another and encourage one another to every good work.
"Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he." Proverbs 29:18