Submitting to my Husband: archaic, degrading, or a position of honor?

Submit. That word brings up images of a weak person following the rules of a leader, trying to stay out of the way, without a voice, merely a doormat. The dictionary defines the word submit as “accept or yield to a superior force or to the authority or will of another person; give in, back down, cave in”.

Is that what being a wife is all about? Is that what God intended when He created Eve for Adam, or when He described the Church (after all, isn’t the Church Jesus’ bride)?

No, absolutely not.

But we get all bent out of shape when we hear this term...this biblical term...that wives are supposed to submit to their husbands and that their place in the relationship is a helper.

Why?

Because we don't know what it means!

Today, when we use the word submit in our culture, it does mean those seemingly negative words that we denote as inferior, secondary, less than, a servant.

And helper isn’t any better! What is a helper? It’s an assistant, one who is there to serve someone else.

Why would a wife want to merely be a helper? Aren’t we qualified and gifted to do much more with our lives then simply assisting and submitting to our husbands?

 

Yes, of course we are! And that’s where true understanding of these words makes all the difference.

 

You see, in the Bible God creates Eve out of Adam’s rib. It’s significant because a rib is the side of the body. It’s not the head, showing that Eve should be head over the man, and it’s not the feet, showing that Eve should be lower than the man. It’s the side. Equal.

But how can they be equal if Eve is called Adam’s helper?

God created man and woman equal, but different.

Equal in the sight of God. Both created in His image. Just as a man and a woman are different in their physical appearances, so a man and a woman were created to have different roles. Neither inferior or better. Different.

The truth about the biblical helper

In our culture, a helper isn’t some glorious position. It’s not a career path that we are eager to pursue. I tell my toddler and preschoolers that they are “mommy’s big helper” when I want them to participate in a task that isn’t necessarily fun and exciting. But God didn’t create Eve for Adam to help with tedious tasks that he just didn’t want to do. No. God’s design for Eve, for all wives, is much more glamorous than that.

Helper is a title of worth. Did you know that other times the word “helper” is used in the Bible, it is God referring to Himself?

Psalm 115:9-11 says:

“O Israel, trust in the Lord!
He is their help and their shield.
O house of Aaron, trust in the Lord!
He is their help and their shield.
You who fear the Lord, trust in the Lord!
He is their help and their shield.”

And Psalm 54:4 says “Behold, God is my helper; the Lord is the upholder of my life”

God certainly isn’t subservient to humans, nor is he considered passive or weak. The biblical helper means strength, competence, honor.

When God gives Eve the role of helper, He is giving her a place of honor and filling her life with worth.

A woman is to be a man’s helper and completer in marriage. It is not a trivial or demeaning task. It is of the utmost importance. John Piper says it quite nicely:

 

“Submission is the divine calling of a wife to honor and affirm her husband’s leadership and help carry it through according to her gifts”.

 

God has given important and crucial roles for the husband and the wife. But those roles are different. A man has been given the responsibility of leadership, of loving and guiding his wife and his children, providing for their needs, protecting them, and serving them.

A woman has been given the responsibility to respect and support her husband, empowering her family to be all that God intended them to be, serving her family, and teaching and training her children.

As a wife we have power over our husbands. We have the power to build him up, enabling him to become the man that God intended for him to be; confident, courageous, filled with purpose and excitement for life. Or we have the power to deflate him and see him become discouraged, beat down and lacking ambition and drive.

Our purpose is greater than we can imagine. God has designed us uniquely to fit our husbands perfectly. It is with our gifting and our encouragement that we can help our husbands fulfill the plans the Lord has for him. For us.

Ladies, we have been given a title and a position of honor and worth. How do you think Jesus views His bride? My guess is with absolute adoration, wanting the very best for her, cherishing her and honoring her. Giving his very life for her.

When husbands are told to love their wives as Christ loves the Church...this is that image. When wives are told to submit to their husbands, it isn’t because we are less than, it isn’t because our voices don’t matter, and it’s not because we are merely doormats to be stepped on and ruled over.

It’s because God has uniquely gifted us to be our husbands biggest advocate, encouraging him to be the best version of himself that he can possibly be, and helping him achieve all that God has laid before him.

But let’s not lose sight of the bigger picture. This verse about wives submitting to their husbands gets a lot of attention. But what about the verse before it? Ephesians 5:21 says to “submit to one another out of reverence for Christ”. Submit to one another. It is mutual submission. What does that mean? How can two people be mutually submissive to one another?

Again, the term submission does not mean absolute and blind obedience. It is to willingly place yourself second to your spouse, to honor their advice and opinions and desires.

The amazing thing about choosing to submit to and serve your spouse is that it tends to be reciprocal. I wrote about this in my previous post on how to serve your husband. How we treat people usually stirs in them the same response. When I choose to serve my husband, doing kind things for him and speaking to him respectfully, it makes him want to be that person for me. When I act like Christ to my husband, he wants to act like Christ towards me.

Even so, we mess this whole concept up all the time. I think people say this is an archaic idea because it puts self second. And today in our culture we are very much about self preservation. If it doesn’t fulfill our own personal desires, if it doesn’t put our needs before others, we don’t want to take part.

Matt Chandler, in his sermon ‘What is Marriage?’ said it so clearly: “We live in a day and age where the rights of the individual are ultimate. What you want is what you must have, and ultimate freedom and happiness can only be found in your individual desires being fulfilled.” This is devastating. Especially in marriage. It means that our covenant before God and people to stick together NO MATTER WHAT was basically a lie. This is not to be harsh or unloving. It’s simply the truth. And sometimes the truth is difficult to hear.

It’s easy to throw in the towel when we feel that our individual rights have been violated. It’s difficult to try and stick with a person that is flawed and sinful and just as selfish as we are. Marriage isn’t easy. Nobody said it would be sunshine and rainbows and days full of happily ever after. But it IS worth it. The struggle is worth it. The vow you made to stay together for better or worse is worth it.

If you’re in deep marital trouble, seek help. Sometimes outside counsel can be the best option for getting two hurt people back on the right track. Seek professional Christian counsel. This is right and it’s good.

Sometimes all we need is to change our understanding. God created you for your spouse and vice versa. How will you step up to the task that God has laid before you? Don’t worry about how your spouse is measuring up. Let the Holy Spirit be the holy spirit. It’s not your job to change your husband's heart or understanding. That’s God’s job.

But also, remember what 1 Peter 3 says! A husband can be won over by his wife's behavior! How powerful our actions are! Like I said earlier, this type of behavior tends to be reciprocal. If you don’t believe, test it out!

 

Practical ways to be a submissive and respectful wife:

  • Talk respectfully to him and about him in the presence of others
  • Don’t criticize him

  • Make it a priority to not put your husband down, even when just chatting with your girlfriends

  • Teach your children to respect him

  • Give him helpful suggestions, not sarcastic or demeaning putdowns

  • Keep him in the loop in matters of the home and the children

  • Take the time to really listen to him

  • Take a 30 day challenge- where you choose to not say anything negative or critical to your husband or about him. Rather, when you have something to say that isn’t uplifting or encouraging, choose to not say anything at all. It can be difficult at first, but over time we can build a healthy habit of not being critical, but of showing love and respect (even in disagreement).

*Let me also say that I'm talking specifically about a woman's role as a wife. I'm not stating that our only place is serving and submitting to our husbands. Obviously as women we have various roles and we wear many different hats. Wives are not merely wives, but can and do hold various other positions and titles. This post is specifically about the woman's role as a wife.

 
Posted on July 24, 2017 and filed under marriage, husband.

How to serve your husband

 

Serving is HARD. It’s hard because at the core of who we are is selfishness. We’d rather be served. We’d rather others be thoughtful and mindful of us and our wants and needs.

We want our husbands to see how difficult the day was with the kids, how they ran around us like wild people, taking any amount of patience and sanity we had and transforming it into a blurry mess of frustration and exhaustion. We want him to notice the circles under our eyes because we were up all night with one of the kids. Did he even realize we weren’t in bed most of the night? Did he notice every time we got up? We want him to pay attention to how terribly exhausted we are, how frustrating it is doing this day after day with no special thanks.

We want him to see how we work all day too and also come home to a house that needs cleaning, dinner that needs to be made, and kids that need to be loved on, bathed and put to bed.

But the truth is...we don’t deserve any of that. And that’s not what marriage is about. Marriage is about serving, loving and doing life together. But we often let our selfishness get in the way of what matters the most.

When we look at our marriage as a serving opportunity- what can I do for my spouse, rather than how can he meet my needs- we are functioning in our marriage as God intended. The outcome of such thoughtfulness and service is typically one of reciprocation. Though that’s not the reason for service, it does a marriage good when both spouses are reciprocal to the needs and wants of each other, when both seek to serve.

 

How can I serve my husband today?

 

Every marriage is different, just as each person is different. The ways in which I serve my husband might look completely different than how you serve your husband.

Here are some of the ways that I personally serve my man:

  I make him breakfast. On the mornings that he has to work, I make him breakfast. I get up before he does (because the kids wake up obnoxiously early!), make breakfast for everyone and then have the kids go wake him up. This is something that I actually enjoy, and I feel good about making him a healthy breakfast to start his busy day.

 

  I wash his clothes and put them away. To you this may just be a normal chore that you do. To me, it’s how I can serve my husband. The truth is, I don’t enjoy doing the laundry. Actually, let me rephrase that...I don’t enjoy putting away the laundry. I could wash, dry and even fold clothes all day long. I don’t mind that one bit! But putting them away. Ugh! There is just something about it that makes me want to do any. other. thing. But I still choose to serve my husband in this way because I know that he appreciates having clean clothes and he enjoys NOT having to dig through the laundry basket of folded clothes. *But I need to admit that I still fail at this one most days. It’s my goal to put the laundry away every time. But as I write this, there are 2 laundry baskets of clean and folded clothes in our room, and another one in the living room*

 

  I watch things with him. I’m not always a fan of my husbands choice in movies and t.v. shows. Sometimes I’d rather be...putting away the laundry. But does he know that? Absolutely not! Serving doesn’t have to be elaborate. It can simply be doing what he enjoys doing.

 

  I encourage him. Men need respect and men need encouragement. It’s easy to think that I have the harder job. Afterall, I stay at home with 4 kids under 5. It’s my job to keep them all alive, fed, to teach them how to control their emotions, how to love their siblings, who Jesus is and why we should be kind. It’s my job to make all the meals, keep the house clean, put away the laundry, and go grocery shopping. Not only that, but I don’t get off at 5pm. My job is 24 hours a day and it is exhausting!

But my job is not easier than his job. My job is different. I serve my husband by encouraging him in his job. Letting him know that I appreciate all that he does, how hard he works, that I notice the sacrifice he makes. Do you think he wants to be gone from us all day long? Well, on most days he does not. He’s making a sacrifice to go to work all day and provide for us. There are numerous ways we can encourage our husbands as a way of serving him.

 

  I pray for him. Prayer is a vital component to a healthy marriage. I pray for the things that he goes through, his struggles. I pray for the people that he encounters on a daily basis. I pray for his walk with the Lord, his leadership roles, him as a husband, and a father and a son. I pray for wisdom and discernment as he leads at church and at home and in the community. I pray for his purity. I pray that God will use him in mighty ways.

 

  I tell him what I’m praying about. I think that there’s something very intimate about revealing your prayers about another person to that person. Not only that, it’s a form of encouragement. How humbling and uplifting to hear the prayers that someone else is taking to God on your behalf!

 

Serving isn’t always easy. But we serve because we love and we care and it’s what God does for us. I challenge you to look for ways to serve your spouse today. Even if you are struggling in your marriage, even if your spouse doesn’t deserve it (none of us do), even if you are worn out, worn thin and ready to give up. Serve. Find one way to serve today.

 

If you’re still uncertain of how you can serve, here are a few more examples:

 

  • Send a text saying you appreciate him

  • Leave a note saying you love him

  • Clean up his mess without complaining

  • Make him his favorite meal or dessert

  • Fill up the car with gas before he drives it next

  • Wash his car for him

  • Take out the trash before he can get to it

  • Take him out on a date to see a movie he wants to see, or eat at his favorite restaurant

  • Think about what he really enjoys and do it with him (or watch him do it)

  • Tell him what you love about him

  • Get up in the morning with him if he leaves for work early

 

If you're looking for a good book on marriage, one of my favorites is Sacred Marriage. It's not your typically marriage book. It talks about how marriage is intended to make us holy, not happy. It's a great read; thought provoking.

Posted on February 17, 2017 and filed under marriage, husband.

A Letter to my Husband on Father's Day

Dear Phillip,

I remember sitting in the Warehouse on our college campus, talking about our hopes and dreams, our passions, what we wanted to do with our lives. You were a business major. I was a missions major. We talked in length about how are dreams and our passions could actually fit together.
From the beginning you had direction. Sometimes it didn't appear that way to others looking in. Sometimes we were uncertain ourselves. But deep down, you knew. You knew where you were headed, you knew what you wanted to do. You had drive.

And while we got caught up in all things life, you still set your sights on what you knew God was calling you to do. When family thought we were just a bit crazy to be pursuing missions as a career choice, when we seemed stuck in dead end jobs just trying to make ends meet, when we continued to reproduce little people and then people really thought we were crazy, when seemingly endless obstacles continued to bombard us in countless directions....you pressed on.

Through all of that you held on. You may not have known exactly where God was leading us, but you did know that God was leading us. You may have had your doubts at times, but you still followed God with all of your heart, with all of your passion. You gave Him everything. And in turn, you gave me everything.

I didn't marry you because I thought you would buy me all the fancy things. I didn't marry you because I knew we would be living a grand life or because I thought I would get everything I ever wanted. I didn't marry you because everyone wanted us to and thought we should be together. I married you because of your character, because of your heart, and because of your desire to serve God.

I had an inkling our life wouldn't be normal. Deep down I knew it wouldn't be easy. But I knew that God was the center of your life, and I knew that I needed that in a husband more than anything else.
Because of you, I'm a better me. You've been patient with me, kind towards me, loving and full of generosity. You take the time to draw things out of me, knowing it's not something I do well. You speak gently to me, even when we are arguing. You are quick to apologize and you long to reconcile when we are not on one accord. You are my shelter, my protector, the man that has my heart.

All of these things that you are to me, you are to our children as well. You are kind and patient with them, though you don't think you are. You are an amazing teacher, always trying to share life lessons with the kids, or explain how things work or simply teaching them new skills. You are loving and affectionate towards them. They adore you. When you take them out on little dates, it melts my heart. When you get down on the floor with them so you can be their human jungle gym, I can't help but smile. You are creating a place for them to feel confident and strong, but also where they can have security in feeling scared and vulnerable. You are their hero, the man that loves them unconditionally, their dad.

Our three (almost four) littles are so blessed to have you in their life. They will grow up with a father who is not only present, but is active in their lives. They will know, without a doubt, that their dad loves them, cherishes them and is their biggest supporter and protector. They will rest in the knowledge that their papa loves God and puts Him first, that he seeks to live a Godly life, that he prays for his family and longs for each of his kids to know Christ and grow in faith.

My heart could burst into a thousand pieces with all the respect I have for you, the love that wells up inside of me, the joy I have in being your wife. I'm beyond blessed that you are the father of our children, that you are our provider, that you care so deeply for us. I cherish you and the way you treat these kids, the way you love us, the way you faithfully and diligently provide for us without ever complaining.

I'm the luckiest girl in the world.

Thank you for being my husband and for being the father of our beautiful children.

You make us smile and laugh every day.
You teach us the important things in life.
You provide for our needs and wants.
You love God and seek Him with every part of you.
You work hard.
You are diligent.
You are kind and caring and compassionate.
You are loving and respectful.
You are a respected man.
You are faithful.
You are driven and you are successful.
You are a hero.
You are adored by your children.
You are my love.

Posted on June 19, 2016 and filed under marriage, fathers day, husband.

Interracial Marriage

My hubby has been asking me to write about my own perspective of being in an interracial marriage for quite some time, so….I decided to give it a go.

I must be honest though, and say that I don’t really feel like there is much to write about. I mean, honestly I don’t have anything to compare it to. Phillip was my first boyfriend, my first kiss, my first everything. I’ve not been married to a white guy- so really I have no comparison. Being in an interracial marriage is normal to me.

With that said, I’m certain I have learned a multitude of things from being with someone from a different culture. But I also believe that any marriage consists of two different cultures coming together and learning to live and live well together. Unless, of course, you’re marrying your brother or sister, in which case you would be coming from the same culture and….gross! But the chances of that are pretty slim, I’m guessing.

Here are the things I have learned from my marriage (which just so happens to be interracial):

1.    Different does not mean bad, or wrong: There are a plethora of things that Phillip does differently that I do. At first it drove me crazy! Why do you stay up all night and sleep in all morning?!  Why won’t you use a flat sheet?! That’s my favorite part of the bedding. How can you stand putting barbeque sauce on EVERYTHING? Is my food so bland? And what do you mean, you aren’t a coffee drinker? I don’t even understand what you’re saying. What I have learned is that it’s just different. It’s not a bad thing. And over the years, we have sort of taken the best from both worlds. We both now stay up late and get up early. Okay, so that compromise is actually pretty silly, because that means we really don’t get much sleep. But…it’s just different…not wrong! And he compromised and now sleeps with a top sheet. Though, to be completely honest, it always ends up in a crumbled mess at the bottom of the bed. But, it’s there! And as far as the food thing goes, Phillip has taught me the importance of spices. He still uses barbeque sauce on everything, but it’s not because my food is bland! And coffee…well, let’s just say that I converted him!

2.    Expectations may not be met: Everybody goes into a marriage with their own expectations of the marriage, their spouse, and their own role. What typically happens is that we don’t let the other person in on our expectations, and so when those expectations aren’t met…well, dangerous things can happen. You can quietly brew to yourself about how you married such a jerk, you can take it out on your spouse by showing your frustrations and annoyance, or you can just talk through it. At first I chose the first two. Because I didn’t realize what was happening. I didn’t understand that I was feeling frustrated with him for not meeting my expectations….my unspoken expectations. In the course of our 4 years together we have had to hash out some of these things. It’s not easy, but it’s necessary. We both need to know what we expect from each other and what we expect from ourselves.

3.    Uniqueness doesn’t keep us together: I honestly believed that because Phillip and I were so unique (ya know…the whole interracial thing), we had one up on every other “normal” relationship. I took pride in how different we were and believed that our difference made us special. I really don’t know why I thought that way. Maybe it was the newness of it all. Maybe it was the romantic in me. After all, we were going against the grain, defying society, our parents, the norm (okay, we weren’t really doing any of those things, but it seemed like it to me). The uniqueness of our relationship wasn’t going to keep us together. The Grace of God would.

4.    Time is relative: Before I married Phillip I thought I was always late. And maybe I was late to places on occasion. But what I have discovered in my 7 years with this man and his family is that time has become relative. My first experience with this was the first time I went to his family’s church. Church started at 10:30. We were leaving the house a few minutes after 10:30. And it wasn’t just down the street. Oh no…it was 20 minutes away! My other experience with this is the movies. I love getting to the movie theater early. I need to pick my perfect spot, settle into my seat with all of my snacks (that I…uh, snuck in) and watch every single preview (the previews are the best part!). My first experience with seeing a movie with Phillip’s family…we left the house at about the time the movie was starting. Of course, we made it just in time to see the start of the show. BUT I missed my precious previews. I didn’t get to stop at the dollar store and buy snacks to sneak in. And I wasn’t in my perfect spot!

Over time though, we have adapted to each other. We are typically late (fashionably late, of course) to places- which has gotten worse since we’ve had children. BUT we are always early to the movies!

5.     I’m not going to change him: It’s true. Most women marry men believing that she can change the annoying/frustrating things about him. And most men marry women believing that she will never change. Both are flat out wrong! We can’t change our men. Of course, that doesn’t mean that God can’t. And if it’s something that seriously needs changing, then that is God’s domain. It’s taken a lot of complaining and mounting frustrations for me to realize that I’m not going to change Phillip. But ya know what…those annoying quirks have a way of coming full circle. What I mean is, when we first met, those things were kind of cute. I didn’t mind them so much. It made me laugh. But then, after some time, it became more and more obnoxious. Like nails on a chalkboard that just starts to grate on your nerves over time. But then…somehow, someway, it becomes funny and cute again. And then after some time…. Full circle. It’s a cycle I like to call love. The point is, I’m not going to change him. And that’s okay.

6.    He’ll miss it when I’m dead: In the same way that Phillip has annoying qualities about himself, I also have annoying things about me (shocker, I know!). Every time I do something that is completely bothersome to Phillip (unintentionally of course. Always unintentionally), I like to tell him that when I die and he’s telling stories about me at my funeral, he will share these little frustrating nuggets of my personality with a smile of adoration and fondness. He will tell them that “Sarah used leave half empty cups of coffee all of over the house. And she always had to smell her food before she’d eat it”. He’d also say that I would never put the clothes away after I folded them and we constantly had to dig through baskets of clothes to find something to wear. He might also say something about how I cry at the slightest hint of an argument about to take place, or make jokes when I’m nervous, or accidentally use “baby talk” at awkward and inappropriate times. These are things that are annoying to Phillip, but I know he’ll miss it when I’m dead.

7.    He’s my number 2: We have a running joke about how we are each other’s number 2. But it’s also very true. God is my number one. He is the most important thing in my life. Phillip is my number two, and the children are next in line. Of course, in my fallen human state I often get these out of order. I have a hard time with not putting the kids before my husband. I know this is wrong and I try desperately to realize when I’m doing it. But it’s hard. They are so needy and I have to do almost everything for them. Phillip is pretty independent, and doesn’t require my constant attention. But that doesn’t mean I can neglect him. It’s important to remind myself often that he is my number 2!

8.    We make adorable babies: I’m not gonna lie. Mixed couples tend to make the cutest babies. Call me biased, I don’t care! My two kiddos are the cutest in the world (again…I may be biased). And any other children we have will fall into that same category.

9.    Kids bridge gaps: It doesn’t matter what kind of relationship you have with parents or in-laws (and sometimes with interracial marriages, there are family members that largely object), once you pop out that first grandbaby those relationships will start to mend. Kids are the saving grace to those relationships. No wonder God said children are a blessing!

10.  Take everything with a grain of salt: While it’s true that in our 4 years of marriage we have lived in places that seem to be full of mixed couples and thus have not experienced many snide remarks or sideways glances, this will not always be the case. And, in fact, when we first started dating we did experience a lot of opposition. But it was mostly from people that just didn’t understand, hadn’t been face to face with a mixed relationship and were just concerned about the unique issues we would most likely face. In my young naïve mind, I felt like everyone was against us because I was white and he was black. I felt like I was rebelling, going against the grain and that through our relationship we would take on the world and change everything. Looking back now, I can see that people, mainly family members, were just concerned. They didn’t want us to experience unnecessary heartache and setback. If I could go back, I would learn to take their comments and concerns to heart, though with a grain of salt. It’s important to hear the concerns of our parents and those closest to us, to understand where they are coming from and why they feel the way they do. But it’s also important to not put their biases (if that’s what it is) on your relationship. Some of their concerns may be valid, but some of them may not.

This, of course, is for all relationships, not just interracial ones. The concerns of our loved ones are usually pretty valid. They can see things differently than a newly love struck couple can.

As I read back through these, most of them really have nothing to do with being in an interracial relationship, but can apply to marriage in general. But again, I have no other experience to relate it to. I guess I would say that being in an interracial marriage is probably pretty similar to being married to someone of the same race, but you are just more aware of your differences because you clearly come from different cultures. Most people in same race marriages have many differences, but may not realize it's a cultural thing because they don't associate the same race coming from different family cultures.

But I will say that one of the most important things to us as a couple is to share our cultures with our children. We want them to know that they come from two different cultures. We want them to know the good and the bad of both. We want them to know why it’s so neat and unique that they are here in this world, because there was a time when a white woman and black man getting married and having children would not have been allowed. We want them to know their identity from both races, but to ultimately find their identity in Christ.

We also want to teach them the importance and uniqueness of different races, but not to have a bias against different skin colors. Our children will also be in interracial marriages one day, so it’s important that we set a good example.

Posted on June 22, 2014 and filed under marriage.

What God has brought together, we shall never part...

I love my husband. Dearly. Passionately. Whole-heartedly. But I also love him poorly at times.

Marriage is hard. There is no doubt about that. Sharing life with someone is messy. We get to see the up-close parts of a person. The parts that we all try to hide around everyone else: The gross stuff like being so sick to your stomach that it’s coming out both ends, when you don’t quite make it to the bathroom and the vomit somehow ends up all over the floor, the wall and the door. The annoying things like throwing your dirty clothes on the floor instead of tossing them into the basket, or leaving a wet towel strewn on the bathroom floor, instead of hanging neatly on the hook, or waiting until the trash is overflowing before deciding to take it out. The morning breath, farts and burps, dirty hair, a face without make up and an attitude before coffee. And the sinful things that you so desperately want to hide, but cannot because you are living in the trenches with someone day in and day out.

Yes marriage is hard. And it’s hard because you cannot hide who you really are. And why would you? After all, you have vowed to share life with your spouse. And that includes the ugly and the sinful.

But the amazing thing about marriage, a marriage united under Christ, is that there is forgiveness and grace, there is a spirit of being refined and learning from one another and with one another. Being married is hard because you become aware of your immense sin. You really begin to see the ugliness in you. It can be quite startling.

One of my favorite verses is Proverbs 17:3; “The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but the Lord tests the heart”. God uses difficult things in our lives to refine us- to bring all of our impurities to the surface so that He can remove them. Before we go through the fire that marriage can sometimes offer, we are unaware of these impurities. How can God remove the sinful things in our lives if we don’t even know they exist?

Marriage is truly a blessing. Through it we can be drawn closer to God.

Of course, there is also the temptation to ignore all of the nastiness, to blame it on your spouse and continue doing things the same way. When something comes up that reveals your true nature, your sinful nature, there is always that desire to hide it. This is certainly true in my life. It takes humility to admit a sin in your life.

But what I have discovered time and again is that God is merciful and He is oh so gracious. And because my husband is filled with God’s love, he is also merciful and gracious to me. When we walk with God, and our marriage is centered in Him, it makes it easier to reveal your true self because you know that there will be grace. Even when your true self can be so ugly.

I thank God for my marriage, for the difficult times that bring redemption and forgiveness and grace. I’m thankful for my husband who also offers me patience and grace and forgiveness when I’m at my ugliest. Marriage can be so difficult, but it is also so much fun. To get to spend your life with someone that knows you so intricately and loves you so passionately is amazing to be sure. I have truly been blessed.

I am thankful for these past 4 years of being married to Phillip. And I am looking forward to spending a lifetime with this amazing man! What God has brought together, we shall never part!

Posted on May 23, 2014 and filed under marriage.