Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Giving Up What I Thought Marriage Would Be

Growing up, like many young girls, I thought a lot about my future husband. I pictured what he might look like, and what he might act like. I thought of what I hoped his likes and dislikes would be, and what activities we would enjoy together. As I grew older I thought more about what our relationship might be like. I looked at a few examples around me of marriages, and began to pull all the best things from each one in an attempt to pull together my perfect vision for marriage.

When Chris and I started dating I felt like I had a pretty good handle on what I was looking for in a future husband and in a marriage. Now that I was a Christian I also had the Bible to look to for what marriage should be like. So once I knew we had the Lord's blessing it was easy for me to say yes to a life with him based on the attributes he had (and a few that I was thankful he didn't have!)

We were set. I started reading books on engagement and marriage. I wanted to be fully equipped to handle what was sure to come our way. Everyone says that the first year of marriage is the hardest, and I was expecting that it would be. I grew up in a secular world where couples move in together for a few years before even thinking of engagement (let alone marriage) and so I'll be honest - I was a little nervous about marrying someone that I had never lived with. I knew everything would work out fine, but I also expected a few bumps and bruises on the way. And sure enough it was a bit of a rocky start as we began to learn about doing life together. I can recall many a tearful conversation where one of us would, in exasperation ask the other why we just can't seem to figure each other out. Hurt feelings, and then the sadness of wondering why we can't seem to be the perfect spouses we always hoped to be. Feeling like you are disappointing the other- the one you promised so many beautiful things to only months prior.

This however, is not what this post is about. The hardships? I expected those. The tears were not a surprise, and the fights were long since predicted. The books all warned the same thing - you can prepare all you want to, but no amount of reading will substitute the hard work of really, truly and intimately getting to know someone.

What I didn't expect was the life I am now living. Chris and I are mere weeks away from our second anniversary, and I find myself surprised. It seems silly to say out loud (or to type) but I have realized that I didn't expect marriage to be like this. To be this good.

I think it all boils down to trust. I know that I hoped for our marriage to reflect Christ and the church, but I'm not sure I trusted that would be the case- at least not at first. But slowly, as time went on, and Chris embodied this truth to me in his actions and his words each and every day, I could slowly feel my heart begin to trust it. Each time that we had a disagreement and made up, it spoke to me that I was in a safe place where I could be angry and that would not mean the end of anything. Each time I would have a mini meltdown or have a grumpy day and Chris would offer to make dinner while I relaxed, the truth of his sacrificial love was evident. Each sweet kiss on the forehead, and every time he makes that cute murmur when I stroke his arm or softly rub his back. Each time one of us leans into the other and we both sigh deeply. These moments are forming us. Teaching us.

To be sure, I thought marriage was going to be great, but what I have had to give up on is that nagging feeling in my heart that it was a promise of something too good to be true. No one told me this to my face, but after seeing broken marriage after broken marriage, it's hard not to let that lie seep into your heart. We would be quite naive to think that we are shaped by words alone in this life.

But friends? The life that I have right now is screaming so much louder than that lie. So much so that it has been revealed for what it is- nothing but a scheme of the devil in a sad and futile attempt to break down something beautiful and good and ordained by God. Our hope for our marriage has never been rooted in anyone else's marriage, or even in our own hopes and expectations. Our hope is rooted in Jesus Christ alone, and that is a wellspring that never runs dry. 

Two years? Pfft, I can't wait til it's twenty ;)

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. ~ Romans 15:13

Linking up today with Imperfect Prose....

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  1. What a great thing to be able to say that marriage exceeds your expectations. What a gift. I've been married 23 years and it just gets better. Nice to meet you through IP.

    1. Shelly, one of the biggest blessings of writing this post is hearing women like you comment and say that they have been married much longer and it keeps getting better. Thank you!

  2. WOW. This is such a positive post! Just love it, friend. Love how you and Chris are living in the world, but not of it. Keep shining. Bless you.

    1. Thank you so much Emily. I so appreciate the opportunity to link with IP, and even more so appreciate that you take the time to read and comment. You are such a blessing and an inspiration to me and my baby blog :)

  3. What a sweet, sweet post. Here's to year, after year, after year of happily ever after!

    1. Thanks for the encouragement Elizabeth, and thanks for stopping by!