|I won't and can't claim to be an expert
at marriage. Almost three months just doesn't merit a whole lot of experience,
however, there are things about being married I'm starting to clue into.
Like, for instance, how much work it truly is. As a young(er) teenager
I perceived relationships to be a lot of work and what do you know, I was
right. I just didn't know how right. And I’ll admit, I didn't expect it
to be as hard as it has been at times. But I would do it again even if
I knew the whole truth because being married has taught me a lot about
my relationship with God and brought me back closer to Him.
Now it's been a short time since I said “I
do” but in that short span I happened to total my car. This first revealed
how fiercely independent I am (that's not a good thing come to find out)
and then humbled me as I relied on Craig to drive me to and from work and
everywhere else. Feeling helpless is not something I handle very gracefully.
Funny how God knows just what you desperately need to work on in your life
and helps you out when you're not addressing it yourself. I can say I am
extremely thankful for my hubby. I don't know what I would have done without
a car to drive me around. How does one even look for a car without having
one already? One way or another God will humble me.
Marriage is also teaching me what it truly
means to die to yourself. After Craig and I searched 15 used car lots for
a nice and affordable car I became very discouraged. However, the IT Director
at work had given me a brochure on the new Toyota Yaris. The more I read,
the more I liked. Who wouldn't like 40 miles per gallon with starting prices
around $13,000? Craig, however, did not agree. His father had found a 1997
Buick LeSabre LTD with only 98,000 miles on it in excellent condition.
The price tag on it was only $3,500. But I put the numbers to paper and
I was convinced the Yaris was the best way to go. So I decided to wait
it out and stopped looking for a car myself. I figured he'd come around
eventually. In his patient way, he did not and slowly I realized the tension
it was creating was not worth it. After all, he might be right about the
Buick. So in my first true submission to my husband, I now drive a wonderful
97 Buick LeSabre that I love. It has a cushy ride, a CD player and buttons
on the steering wheel! And hey, it's paid for. Who can complain? I'm a
Before these times though, I don't think
I’d ever really felt what it meant to die to myself. I have been in control
of where I go, when I go, how much I spend and on what I spend it for quite
some time. My parents gave me a lot of responsibilities early on. Learning
to lovingly consider another person's thoughts and opinions, and not just
consider but hold in higher regard than my own, has never been so crucial.
And not just the submission but the willingness to do it gladly. Truly,
there is nothing sweeter than laying down your life (not just your physical
breath but your feelings and opinions as well) for someone you love. Sadly,
it has often marred by negative feelings I have chosen to hold on to. I
can't help but ask, “Where would I be without grace?” All of this is wonderfully
illustrates my relationship with God.
I've read that romance to men often involves
adventure or “playing” with their wives. They love to be active and love
it even more when their wives are willing and excited to do so with them.
It seems to be true with my husband and I believe when God invites us to
the God-adventures in life, whether it be smuggling Bibles into China,
ministering in Africa or embracing those broken that come into your life,
He is completely thrilled by our joyful willingness. Verily, when we surrender
our hearts and allow ourselves to die our passion is unfettered.
And so, my lesson in humility and learning
to be dependent on someone else shines some light on my personal life.
I happen to like to do everything myself. This happens to not be good for
me or the state of my soul. The older I am, the more childlike I become
in my need for God. In my newly married life I have found a longing to
be close to my husband. Sometimes it is when we are fighting, but sometimes
it is when it wouldn't seem possible to get any closer. I see this longing
as a mirror. It reflects my deep desire for Christ and my Father. I can't
get enough of the close intimacy I find with God when I'm on my knees.
There is no joy greater to me than sweet one and one time with God.
I believe the analogy is most concisely illustrated
by this: a cherished friend of mine quoted her mother in an e-mail to me
a week or two ago saying her mother often told her that “no one fully grows
up until they marry.” I believe she's right. Although, sometimes I don't
feel all that mature, marrying has led me to challenges that God has faithfully
brought me through. Thankfully, I am blessed with a patient husband as
well as a patient Father because growth seems to be a never ending cycle
for a Christian struggling against Satan. And so, I perceive undoubtedly
that we are never fully spiritually grown until we are the bride of Christ.
May He find us willing.
1 Corinthians 13:10-12 “But when perfection
comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child,
I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I
put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror;
then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully,
even as I am fully known.”