Thursday, October 4, 2018

a few things the Lord has taught me through twenty two years of marriage

In my quiet time this morning, and then later on as I was dressing (Jesus and I have really good time together when I'm getting ready for the day), the good Lord brought to mind some things I've learned these past twenty two years.  I thought I'd share.

The first is that marriage is about so much more than the husband and the wife.  Each marriage should represent the love of Jesus.  It's not about us being happy or unhappy, it is about us loving one another like the bible tells us to.  The husband must love his wife as the Lord loves the church, and we must be submissive to our husbands.  (Those two portions of scripture are from Ephesians 5 and 1 Peter 3.)  Marriage exists to bring glory to God.

Did you catch that?  Marriage exists to bring glory to God.

I also think marriages should be about serving each other.  We are nowhere near being perfect, I assure you, but we have found little ways to do this in the years God has given us.  We have each found our little areas that we serve each other, and we do it willingly and joyfully.  I'll give one teeny tiny example: Todd is so sweet about noticing little things.  One such thing he will notice is when he's driving my car; if it needs gas, he will put gas in it for me.  One small way that I serve him is in getting him out the door each morning.  Lately I've been making him breakfast when he wants it, or sometimes it'll just be packing his lunch and getting his to go cups of coffee and water ready for him to grab on the way out.

Serving and loving go hand in hand, and it's always good to put each other's needs before our own.  We don't always succeed at this, but we give it our best.

A good, strong marriage is something we can consider a gift to our kids.  In this day and age of the world being full of turmoil and hate, it's good for the boys to see how we love one another.  (We aren't always great at this, either.)  We may joke and mess around, we may get in arguments or disagreements from time to time, but when it comes down to it, they know that we have each other's backs.  We loved each other first, long before they came, and we will love each other long after they're out of the house.  A solid marriage is rare nowadays, ask about five different strangers, and you can see for yourself.  They either won't be married anymore, or they would consider their marriage as one being in trouble.  (This is a guess on my part, but I would be willing to bet, if I were a gambler, that it's true.)

The more we cling to God, the closer we are.  I'll write that again and word it a little differently.  The closer each of us are in our relationship to God, the closer we are to one another.  Think of a triangle with God being at the top point, and each spouse being the two bottom points.  If just one spouse moves up his or her side of the triangle getting closer to God, the further they get from the other spouse.  If you move up the triangle together, becoming closer to God, you'll become closer to each other.

We have tested this, and found it to be true.

Also, about having that closeness with God,someone I respect and admire said recently that in a split second, we have to make a decision, if given an opportunity.  In that split second's time, we can either go with temptation, or we can fight it and move firmly away from temptation.  If we are walking very closely with the Lord, we will be able to fight whatever comes our way.  On the other hand, if we give the enemy even one small foothold in an area of our lives, it's going to be easier to become overcome by that temptation.  I promise you that this is a very true statement.

I just read this verse this morning, and it kind of goes along with what I'm saying.

"His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness."  2 Peter 1:3.

His divine power has given us everything required for life!  And godliness, through the knowledge of Him.  How do we get that knowledge, you may wonder?  Through the reading of His word!  Through prayer.  He will always provide us with a way out, should the temptation become unbearable.  If you read further down in that same chapter, Peter writes that through His word (His very great and precious promises, verse 4 calls them), we can escape the corruption that is in the world because of evil desire.  He goes on to write in the verses after, that we should supplement our faith with goodness, goodness with knowledge, knowledge with self-control, self-control with endurance, endurance with godliness, godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.

Another thing I've learned in our marriage is that we need to laugh and we need to laugh often.  Sometimes life is hard and it just plain sucks.  There is no other way to more accurately describe how hard it can be.  Finances can stress us out like nothing else can, and so can health problems, car troubles, and teenage problems.  I honestly think that if we didn't laugh, we would cry all the time.  I will say this for anyone young and not yet married: find you someone to make you laugh.  Nobody cracks me up like my husband.

Well, my best friend cracks me up too, but I'm not married to her.

The good part of marriage comes after all the hard parts in marriage.  We don't know what our future holds.  The point of this one is that in the sticking with it, God refines us through all that testing and those trials.  I love the picture of a refiner molding metal by sticking it into a fire.  That is exactly what God does for us, if we are believers in and followers of Him.  He is making us into who He means for us to be, molding us more and more into His beautiful image.  But we have to let Him and we definitely have to trust Him and in His plan for our lives.

This older version of me would tell the younger me to pray more, about every little thing, and do that with my husband and make it into a daily habit.  (We miserably fail at this most days.)  I can honestly remember kind of laughing at someone I used to know when she would answer each question with, "I don't know yet, let me pray about it, and I'll get back with you."  I'm sorry, Leslie, if you're reading this.  (She's not, we're not even Facebook friends.)  I am like that now, but I sure wasn't way back when.  I need to be even MORE like that now, than I already am.

Note to self: talk less, pray more.

And on that note, sometimes we really do just need to stop talking about it, and pray instead.  Marriage is hard, I think I've already said that, and there will be good days and bad days.  On those bad days, we would be so much better off if we would just take to God all our worries and concerns.  In a social media crazed world (preaching to myself), we need to just be more social with God.

Toddley, if you're reading this (and you will, because I am going to tag you on Facebook), I love this crinkly eyed, slightly less hair, fluffier version of you so much more than the younger, fitter version of you.  I wouldn't trade even one second of our time being married for anything in all of the world.  Thanks for putting up with my uniqueness.  (I'm laughing.)  I love you so much and am so glad to have spent the last twenty four (twenty five?) years of my life with you.  You are my lobster.

Happy anniversary to us.  Now, let's go eat.  I'm hungry!

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