Love and Marriage

27

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?

27 thoughts on “Love and Marriage

  1. sarahsci says:

    Kelly,
    I could not agree with you more. I grew up wanting “the whole package”. The husband, family and “fairytale”. I wanted my knight in shining armor to rescue me from my abusive family.

    Oh my poor husband and my grand expectations. Because I have been so afraid of having a bad marriage, sometimes I have picked ours apart, causing damage along the way by making my husband feel like he’s not good enough, when the truth is that he is a great husband, and it’s truly my feelings that waver, not him. As soon as things get hard, Or the feelings I want to feel aren’t there, I feel like running for the hills.

    Ironically, I have these same expectations from God. When my feelings waver, or I don’t feel like Im getting what I should have, I get upset. I want God to rescue me from my problems, but he wants me to grow through them.

    I’m trying to learn contentment in wherever I am. How much it must hurt my husband to show discontentment with him when he loves me pretty patiently. No one person is ever going to fulfill me the way I’d like. So I’m learning that marriage is doing life together more than fixing each other. Hard to let go of what we think it should look like or feel like, But I truly believe its the key to contentment and even happiness.

  2. Greta says:

    Kelly,
    I am that girl! For as far as I can remember back, I have wanted to be the princess tht prince charming comes and sweeps up! I am almost 17, and pretty much already have my wedding planned….. Just not the guy. I have always wanted that ‘perfect’ man to complete me. I have been told I have unrelistic expectations about finding ‘that guy’, and I was sure I didn’t! After reading your article I realized I have unrelistic expectations about marriage! After looking to the world for answers, and then partially the bible, I have developed a somewhat skewed view of marriage. The beauty is though, with Christ, and in his context marriage is still wonderful, and great, just in a different way than I thought. I was thinking more ‘me’, but for it to work, and be truly great it has to be ‘we’.
    Thanks for opening up Kelly, it definitely far me a heart check.

  3. Happy in Nature says:

    Hard to believe, I was never really that girl. When I got with my girlfriends I shared my ideas of what I thought my wedding should be and what the ring should look like and such, but I never dwelt on it. Over the years I became afraid of marriage and only recently have I become all the more aware of it. I’m 28 and never dated and I have always been afraid of getting into a relationship (with anybody, not just guys). I so desperately want it and so desperately afraid of it. I plead to God to have his hand on this area of my life because I know all to well how I can mess things up. Living in God’s grace is the only way I can have a healthy, realistic relationship with anybody.

    Thank you for being honest, Kelly.

    Catherine

    • Valerie says:

      I said a word of prayer for you when iread this, Catherine – i know what it feels like to be afraid of getting into relationships with people – for me, i kinda boiled it down to the fear of change and or how to act or react – basically a loss of confidence in relating with people, comfortably – i’m not saying its how it is with you but what you said struck a nerve and i pray that God gives you all the healing and satisfaction he ordained for you as his amazing and wonderful daughter.

      • Happy in Nature says:

        Thank you so much. I have suffered from anxiety all my life, but I have seen God work through it and how He has taken care of me in so many ways. Needing to trust Him in this as well. Thanks for praying.

        Catherine

  4. Gabby says:

    First, I just want to say that these blogs are really great. It’s so nice to get practical advice like this and I look forward to reading them each week. So thank you both for always being so open & honest.
    As for my views on marriage.. I will admit to having somewhat unrealistic expectations. It’s so easy to compare guys to the perfect man that you see in movies and read about in books and what not. But that’s not really fair to them. We don’t want the pressure of feeling like we have to be perfect to be loved and I’m sure they feel much the same.
    I do agree that marriage is a beautiful thing. But as someone who is currently single, my question is.. How do you love someone unconditionally and yet avoid being in an unhealthy relationship with them? Because many girls are capable of loving without bounds but unfortunately this can also lead to abusive relationships, etc.
    sincerely,
    Gabby

    • Sheri says:

      Gabby,
      If the guy you are in a relationship with is a godly man, then it shouldn’t be an unhealthy relationship. You shouldn’t change who you are, or better yet, who God has called you to be. If he doesn’t follow what God holds to be true, then chances are, he isn’t the right guy for you. If he is the guy that God has for you, then it will be natural for you to love unconditionally. That doesn’t mean you won’t be human, and feel hurt and pain, but it means that you will always want to do right by him. After almost 20 years of marriage, I can attest that marriage sometimes takes work. It means sacrifice on both parts. But when you are both seeking Gods will, it’s a lot easier!

  5. Amanda says:

    I know this is about marriage, but is this something you could also apply to a long term relationship that has been leaning towards marriage? My S/O and I have been together since we were 15. Here we are 20 and 21 and we are facing some hardships in our relationship. He is becoming unsure that we will have a happy marriage due to the hardships, but we both love each other tremendously. We are each others best friends. I know we aren’t married, and we shouldnt “play” married, but I’ve always felt that if you truly love someone in the way that you would make them a spouse, the same work and communication should be applied. I feel like you shouldnt look at the relationship like “We arent married, so theres nothing (no promise or anything) holding us down.” This comment probably makes no sense,
    I really enjoyed reading this post though. :)

  6. Angela says:

    You married Mike Donehey and thought you ruined your life? Oh boy! The rest of us are doomed! ;) In all seriousness, I really needed this post. I’ve actually been thinking a lot about marriage lately. Even the most perfect couple can still expect times when things aren’t fairy tales and butterflies. We need to remember the ultimate purpose of marriage is not to make us happy, but to glorify God. Only He can bring two sinners together and make it work!

  7. kyaira says:

    Honestly I am conflicted when I think about marriage. For one, I did not grow up in an environment that displayed good marriages. I never had a father figure and for the most part almost everyone my age was in the same situation. In my community, marriage was not the norm and most of us are products of sexual immorality and we all came from broken families. I can only remember one friend who actually knew their dad but even then her parents were never married like mine aren’t. Therefore, although I honor marriage the way God wants it to be, it’s hard for me to see that for myself, like that could ever be me b/c like I said I didn’t grow up with that. Another thing is, since I am no longer a virgin, even though I know I am forgiven, sometimes I feel shameful for it and I know if I were to get married, I have already forfeited the beautiful sexual purity, and I would only feel even more shame. So my thoughts are to avoid it altogether. Another thing is that I can’t see someone wanting to marry me with all of my baggage. I don’t know what God has in store in regards to that but of course in my finite mind I cannot see myself being a good candidate for marriage.

    • Monica Bahaa says:

      The one thing I’ve learned is that God doesn’t punish us for what we’ve done in the way we imagine He could. I don’t think just because you committed a sexual sin, He’ll simply prevent you from experiencing the beauty of a covenant. You might think lowly of yourself, but He’s holding something greater in store for you!
      And just because your family is not the example for an ideal marriage, this doesn’t mean you can’t be in one. The Lord will guide you through your life so you may find your purpose for His glory.
      Have heart and trust what God has in store for you. You are His precious daughter, and He’s your true Father.
      Prayers for you :)

    • Tony says:

      kyaira, i happened to come upon this blog because I know my girlfriend reads it every now and then, and started reading this one because I am considering marriage soon! And your comment struck me because of this line right here…”Another thing is that I can’t see someone wanting to marry me with all of my baggage. I don’t know what God has in store in regards to that but of course in my finite mind I cannot see myself being a good candidate for marriage.”…….Let me tell you that if you pray and you have others who are praying for you, God will not let you down. You will find a man who loves you for who you are on the inside, who God has made you, and hopefully be able to put your “baggage” in the past. I say this coming from the same situation. I myself am a virgin but my girlfriend has been with others in her past. When we met again (we knew each other at 12 but re-connected when we were 21), she explained how she had been brought up Catholic but no one ever explained about saving herself for her future husband. Her father was absent a lot, and she got stuck in an abusive relationship that she struggled to get out of, she was used, rejected and felt like she had no one to turn to. After we discussed our options since we were both interested in each other, we decided to give dating a try. She started going back to church with me, started praying, and God has transformed her heart so much in these past 2 years. He can truly do amazing things! She is teaching CCD, helping at our church with youth group, and she has fully embraced God’s salvation and redeeming grace. God has changed her situation. And I had to look past her baggage and say to myself, what would Jesus do? Will he deny me when I die, for things I have done in my past? Not if I ask for forgiveness and claim Him to be my savior. So I said that as long as this girl showed me that she could be fully committed to waiting until marriage, why should I not give her a chance to prove how God can work in her life? Rejecting her for making bad decisions in her past wouldn’t be very “Godly” of me, would it? She has opened up to me so much more after God helped break down her “walls” that she had built up because of how men had treated her in her life, and we have had such a faith-filled, beautiful relationship. And even though she sometimes expresses that she still feels shameful, and knows it can be hard for me sometimes (due to natural human emotions/feelings/concerns/fears), God has helped us through. So although it may seem like it, NEVER question that – because if a man who truly loves the Lord comes along and sees you for who God made you to be, then you will find that love that you are looking for, and hopefully you can both lead each other to holier lives. Never lose hope/faith!
      I love Monica’s quote from her response as well: “Have heart and trust what God has in store for you. You are His precious daughter, and He’s your true Father.”
      Wow, that is so true and speaks volumes!! He loves you and always remember that!
      God Bless!

  8. PhoebeHope says:

    Hi there,

    Firstly thank you very much for your blogs.
    Many of them help me with battles I face weekly. Please keep doing them.
    Also, just to say this particular one is spot on and just what I needed to hear.
    I married my husband when I was just 21, our 9 year anniversary is in 2 weeks and we have just made it by the skin of our teeth.
    I need to be totally honest and say that when I first met my husband, I wasn’t attracted to his looks…it was more his heart and how kind and loving he was. I sort of found him attractive but I liked his character much more.
    He was the first man I slept with after we married (I came close to others a few times during school life) and only now is our sex life becoming what I thought it would be like.
    He is an amazing man, he loves me so much and would do anything for me. He only wants to see me happy. But I find it hard to love him like he loves me.
    This might sound big headed but I notice other guys looking at me etc and I get excited at the thought of going off with a handsome guy. I really don’t want to but the thoughts come every couple of months.
    I need to remember what you have talked about…about the covenant before God that I have made. I want to live and love in that covenant. I will read what you have written over and over again.
    Thank you and thank God for his perfect timing x

  9. Andrea says:

    What a refreshing perspective! Thank you for being vulnerable and honest.
    Sometimes I get too hopeful and have too high of expectations of my future marriage and future husband.

    What book are you referencing Keller to? I would love to read this book. :)

    -Andrea

  10. I’m sure God is definiely speaking throuh you girls. I used to think that marriage was about being happily with no problem at all, at least emotional problems, but as I’ve been reading your posts lately, God has been speaking a lot to me about marriage, and in spite of never dated anyone in my 21 years I’m sure God is molding us, seeing the beauty and reality of marriage! thanks girls, keep up the good work!

  11. Monica Bahaa says:

    I was just talking about this very same thing with my mom yesterday. I used to have the fantasy, princess-y ideal of marriage, but it lasted for no-more than my early childhood. Then I grew up to think I was born to be independent of anyone, that I should just live for myself, by myself. It seemed to me that marriage was like carrying the burdens of another person added to your own. My mom is a very strong person, she’s held on through some rough times with dad. He’s been sick and hospitalized several times in the past 6 years. These were my teenage years when I expected a strong, ripped man to sweep me off my feet and carry me away. And when reality failed to give me a good example, I just hoped that I would never “need” anybody. To me, sharing your life was a sign of weakness. And because I struggled with pride and being “perfect,” no man was ever “perfect enough” to me.
    It’s when I realized how faulty my perspective was that I started giving this idea a second thought. But because I live in the Middle East, where the culture is very “masculinized” I figured out where the real problem lay. I am a very self-confident person, I don’t show any fragile side to anyone I do not fully trust. This leaves people I can count on the fingers of one hand knowing my reality. And because of the aforementioned reason, guys are repulsed by the way I know my way for now.
    So I pray to God to just chip away the excess pride I take in myself. To show me the real reason He created Man and Woman. Though I still highly doubt someone would bear being with me in a relationship, I trust God to satisfy me even if I never get married :)
    Phew! That was long :D
    It’s my first time commenting on here, though I’m addicted to AGLM!
    God bless y’all, girls!

  12. Allyssa says:

    This is me, twelve years into my marriage and I’m still second guessing. Breaks my heart and makes me frustrated. I love my husband dearly and I continue to fight for my marriage each day. Only by the grace of God have we made it this far.

    Your blog brings me such peace…thank you.

  13. Annie says:

    I’m only sixteen but I know the marriage that I want. Just like you, the whole package. I just pray that God sends the right man. This really helps me think about life. :)

  14. Nicole says:

    Thanks Kelly. This helped a lot with the way I’m feeling about my relationship. I’ve always wanted the perfect guy and perfect marriage and family, and I never dated until I starting dating my boyfriend about a year and a half ago. Things have moved really fast and most of the time I feel like he’s everything I’ve ever wanted. He truly loves me and plans on proposing in a couple of years or so when I graduate from college. Sometimes I have doubts and compare him to an image of a perfect guy that I have in my head, but I think that’s only hurting me and our relationship. I find that when I stop doing that, I’m able to love him for who he is, including the good and the bad, and I realize reasons why we’re great together that I never would have even pictured with my perfect guy. It’s hard to not have doubts and want to fight for our relationship sometimes, especially finding out he flirts with other girls and having major trust issues, but he does love me and sometimes I feel like all our imperfections as a couple are just trials to teach us how to love each other through anything, as we hopefully will someday as a married couple. Even still, it’s hard for me to not ask the question “is there something better out there?” Because I am still young, and there is a lot I would change, even though the thought of losing him feels like losing my other half.

  15. Esther says:

    I’m a high school senior, and my fellowship group was just talking about love today. The world distorts our view of love and tells us what love should look like and feel like. In this, we can so easily be caught up in how the world defines love, and we forget that God’s love is something radically different. God’s love is unlimited and unconditional–except for the one condition that we accept it. His love is what we model our relationships after because it is the only love that is full and fulfills. While we’re on this earth we’ll never fully understand God’s love, but we can aspire to it in our love for others. A love that is patient, kind, protecting, trusting, hoping, and persevering, not self-serving, proud, jealous, or easily angered. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7) God calls us to commune in this love.

    Esther

  16. Denise LeBrun says:

    I’ve been married for 39 years. What you say is absolutely true

  17. Rachel says:

    oh i’m so confused…yet i know so much more than I did a year ago. i’m writing this in hopes that no one will ever read it, by the way.

    A couple weeks ago, I’m at work, i work at a grocery store as a bagger. A lady needed help out to her car cause she had a little boy and said she needed all the help she could get! As we’re walking out, I asked her if this was her first child, and she said he was. She said she had gotten married a little later in life at about 35, and even though it may seem odd, she knew it was what God had in store for her. As we’re unloading her groceries from her car, she asked me if i ever wanted to have kids.

    Something inside me just broke, i began to cry. No- weep, uncontrollably. You see, i’ve always wanted to have a little boy. i see him in my mind, i see him everytime i see another little boy. But i’m 19, and it seems like the right man will never come along. I told her all of this, explaining that I didn’t really know why i was crying, but i just really want a little boy.

    She was so patient! She talked with me for a while, and then prayed for me. I don’t remember much of what she said, except this. She said “You just wait! The right man will come at the right time!”

    I cried even more, cause this is what i always tell myself. Word for word, actually! I’ve never dated. and even though i’m told i’m pretty, sometimes i just don’t believe it.

    The next day, i’m at work again. I run into a rather attractive young man, he ones of the vendors who comes each week to bring the supply. We briefly met when he broke a bottle on accident and i helped him clean it up. We barely spoke, but still. As i walked away, i heard her words again “You just wait. The right man will come at the right time!”

    Little run-ins like this keep happening, and I know it’ll keep getting harder and harder to just wait for the right man. But i will know when its the right one. Or will i? I always thought i would.

    Last summer, i met a guy who i thought was the cutest and the best. He was. He was right to tell me what he did, too. “We need to be cautious” and eventually “i don’t feel a peace about getting into a relationship right now”. He was right to not continue talking to me, but it made me feel so rejected. the first time i ever even gave a guy the time of day, and he totally shuts me down. it was a hard lesson to learn. Still is.

    so what am i doing now? what am i looking for? what does waiting mean? I keep feeling He wants me to wait till i’m older. oh Lord, give me strength! Do you want me to wait? You know i’d do anything for You, after all You’ve done for me. Just tell me what You want me to do in the meantime. I don’t feel ready for anything now, i’m just so lost.

    So i’ll take it one day at a time, like You always tell me. But help me not just want the end reward of waiting, help me love the time You’ve given me now. I know if I’m anxious now, i”ll always be anxious. And I shouldn’t be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present my requests to You! And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard my heart and my mind in Christ Jesus <3

    • Sara fuller says:

      Thank u kelly for your honesty! I have always been jelous of you, having a husband like Mike. He seems like the perfect guy! He is so handsome, funny, caring, talented & loves God so much. He is want I always dreamed of in a guy. You are so lucky & blessed to have him as your husband. Thank u & heather for all you do!! Thank you for your honesty you help out so many girls! I love A Girl Like Me!

  18. Allison says:

    Reblogged this on The Most Perfect Wedding and commented:
    Today I want to share with you a blog that I love so much. I love the topics they write about it and how it is so applicable every time I read posts. But I also love the writers dearly. A Girl Like Me was started by two incredibly women who are married to two of the guys in the band Tenth Avenue North, a moderately popular Christian rock band as they like to say. They have become great friends, and I want to share one of their posts with you on marriage! Check out the rest of the blog too. It encourages me so much!

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