Since I got married, and even before, I knew that marriage was hard. I witnessed 2 parents who went in and out of marital bliss (aka normal!) and because my father always said, “’divorce’ is not in my vocabulary,” they’ve always worked out their problems and issues.
But it’s not easy.
I think that marriage is a very powerful institution because it does not just involve two people, but it involves several generations. When a marriage suffers, many people, beyond the husband and wife, suffer too. I think that is why the enemy attacks marriages so frequently – he knows that if he can destroy a marriage, he is injuring several generations. That is why we must be intentional with our marriages. Doing a series on marriage under the Intentional Family series has been heavy on my heart. It feels very loaded. I do not have a perfect marriage. My husband and I often talk about seeking out help, going on marriage retreats and doing whatever we can to better our marriage. So, I am not writing this series as a marriage expert! HA! Not at all! But as another wife, intentionally working on my marriage with the goal to glorify God as I serve my husband. I would love to hear your thoughts, struggles, victories… in your marriages throughout this series, so please feel free to leave comments!
Let's get started with round 1 - Community.
As I sat in the dental chair, the new assistant and I were left alone for a moment so I asked her if she were working on becoming a hygienist. Her reply shocked me! She said that her real passion was to do hair, but it wasn’t paying the bills. So, she’s in dental school to become a hygienist part time and do hair the rest of the time! Then she added, “and I’m not planning on getting married or having kids so I’ll be able to do all this. I don’t want anyone ruining my life.” OUCH. With a lump in my throat I simply said, “oh, you like to do hair?” When the dentist came back I couldn’t get her bitter words and tone out of my head, so before the dentist put his hands in my mouth, I said, “I just have to say, don’t be bitter towards marriage. Sometimes a husband can help you achieve your dreams, not destroy them.”
Moments later my dentist was gushing over my new wedding ring (my original one disappeared early last year and we got a replacement in November). With his head lamp shining on my ring, he couldn’t stop making comments. So I was compelled to once again make a statement! “I just have to say (I often start my mini sermons this way!), a beautiful ring doesn’t mean anything if you don’t have a good marriage.” Little did I know these 2 statements would turn into a 2 hour dental appointment / marriage counseling session!
My dentist asked how my husband and I make marriage work and I dove right in.
The first thing I said was how important it is to surround yourself with healthy marriages and healthy friends who will point you to Jesus in a crisis and not to an attorney. We can learn so much from our friends and can be easily influenced for the better or the worse. As women, if we are spending a lot of time around women who are husband bashing, it’s easy to join in (more on this in a future post). But if we are spending time with women who respect and admire their husbands, honoring him with their words, we too start speaking well of our man! We must be intentional with the people we surround ourselves with. I really can’t stress enough that it is vital to a marriage to have support and encouragement from other couples that are seeking to glorify God in their marriages. If we are isolated in our marriage, we can easily feel like our problems are unique to us and that we are headed for failure. But it’s amazing how when we’re in community, we find that our problems are not always unique to our marriage and we gain support and encouragement by knowing we are not alone.
We kick off our marriage by celebrating with a large community at our wedding. But we must continue to live in community long after the ceremony is over. Community is key. A healthy community can provide so much in our lives and especially in our marriages. Someone to listen and pray for you. Someone to speak the truth in love and call you out when you are not being the wife God has called you to be. Someone to encourage you and challenge you. Someone who has your best interest in mind and wants your marriage to succeed.
CHALLENGE: In this new year, pray that God would bring at least one new couple into your life that you can learn from and be challenged by.
*I feel that it is very important to make a disclaimer that if you are in an abusive relationship of any kind, get help immediately. I don’t believe that God has called anyone to stay in an abusive relationship.