March 12, 2013 by A Girl Like Me
I was the little girl who grew up wanting to get married. From the moment I laid eyes on Cinderella i wanted to be her. I wanted to be this special secret that no one really new about. This flower that was still a bud but growing into something amazing and every boy would desire me! I wanted to be a diamond in the rough… a prize to be fought over and of course be swept off my feet and live happily ever after. In all my years of searching and dating I was looking for Mr. Right. The right person who would complement me in every way. The right person who would enjoy all the same things I did. He would love me and make me happy. He would “complete me” and make me feel like Cinderella. Some of you can relate and are currently dreaming of the guy you will one day marry. However, There may be some of you who don’t desire to marry at all because of negative experiences you may have witnessed. Your parent’s terrible divorce or other couples you know who are miserable in their marriage but just stay in it because they “have” to. You’ve only seen people who get married and then live the rest of their lives in regret and with feelings of suffocation. To you marriage is terrifying and only blocking you from your dreams. Which ever way you look at it, I hope to shed some light on the truth about marriage and maybe bring you to a place that not only is hopeful and encouraging, but also prepared and realistic.
The day I married Mike, I was at peace. I was calm, certain, and excited. We were surrounded by so many people who loved us and celebrated us! It felt like the best thing that could have ever happened to me. And then the next morning came, our loved ones went home, and we were left to each other with high expectations and the smack of reality. In all honesty, doubt began to creep into the back of my mind. What if I made a mistake? What if this wasn’t the right guy? What if there was something better for me and I just ruined the rest of my life? Our honeymoon was somewhat awkward, our walls were partially up, and we were standing there just the two of us wondering what on earth we had just done. Not so blissful right? I look back at that time in our marriage and we had no clue!! We really didn’t know what marriage was like. We didn’t know what to expect. All we knew is that we both felt led by the Lord to do it and we had some sort of love developing and attracting us together. So I come to you as a wife after 5 years of marriage- ( I know, not that long) but with some better idea of what this union I had desired for so long was really all about. The fact is- It wasn’t about me at all.
I feel as though dating can lead you to believe that marriage is a lot like it. We have this view of our relationship that we’ll just go on dating as long as we still have feelings of love towards that person and as long as we’re happy. The minute that we become unhappy or unattracted to each other we can just split and go find the right person who will be a better compliment of yourself. The problem with this is that marriage is not at all like dating and yet very much the same in regards to feelings. There will be times that you don’t feel loved by him. There will be times that you don’t have mushy feelings for one another. There will be times that you are unhappy and disappointed. There will be times that you run out of things to talk about and just sit there awkwardly staring into your food, and there will be times you wonder if there is something better. But the difference is that there now lies a covenant. A covenant that is to protect and keep the relationship regardless of feelings and incompatibility. And when that covenant is kept and the both of you work towards loving one another regardless of feelings, you come to find that you will experience a love so much deeper and so much more exciting than any love you can experience in a dating relationship. I am more in love with my husband today than I ever was. And it’s because we have had to face our struggles and our lack of feelings at times and bring it to the light. It’s been an adventure and I highly recommend it!
Legal scholar John Witte Jr. says something along the lines of this- “What once was a marriage of permanent union designed for the sake of mutual love, procreation, and protection is slowly giving way to a new reality of marriage as a terminal sexual contract designed for the gratification of the individual parties.”
Marriage used to be about ‘us.’ Now it’s about ‘me’. Our culture today says that you need to find the person that will meet all your needs and bring you happiness. Heres the deal, if your view resembles this than I have news for you- you will always marry the wrong person. No two people are perfect for each other. What?! “We never know whom we marry; we just think we do. Or even if we first marry the right person, just give it a while and they will change.”- Stanley Hauerwas The minute you marry someone – that person begins to change and you can’t know ahead of time what those changes will be. The key is to change with that person. If the reasons I married Mike were because he was funny, good looking, made me happy, loved people…. than the minute those things begin to falter and fade my feelings for him would change and become conditional. Marriage is about embracing the differences and putting our own desires aside to serve the other whom we love. “We do not see marriage as two flawed people coming together to create a space of stability, love, and consolation-a haven in a heartless world” – Christopher Lasch.
“We were made for marriage. However if our views of marriage are too romantic and idealistic, we underestimate the influence of sin on human life. If they are too pessimistic and cynical, we misunderstand marriage’s divine origin.”- Keller Marriage is a great mystery. One that we can only understand with the Spirit’s help. Ephesians 5: 25- ” Husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her…” The secret of marriage is the message of what Jesus did for us in order to bring us into union with himself. And what was that? Jesus gave himself up for us! Though equal with the Father He gave up his glory and took on human nature. He went to the cross and paid of your sins removing our guilt and condemnation so that we could be united with him. He gave up his glory and power to become a servant. He died to his own interests and looked to our needs and interests instead. He is in union with us and we with him. And that is not only the key to understanding marriage but to LOVING it. One of God’s greatest purposes of marriage was to show the relationship between Christ and His redeemed people forever!”- Keller
Wherever you stand in your views of marriage today, I pray that you would come to find the beauty of the covenant. It not only protects and invites you to experience love in ways you never thought possible, but it also brings you into a better light of the Love God has for us. It is most definitely a union that will bring out those messy places within yourself that need to be refined, and although difficult at moments, beautiful as a whole. Thoughts?