Looking at marriage through a Biblical perspective on the 10 year anniversary of our wedding.
Ten years ago, two twenty year-old kids shocked their family and friends by announcing they would be getting married – and immediately moving to the other side of the country! In hindsight, that was crazy and I don’t really know how we survived on our own and with so many big changes, but here we are!
The odds of a Marine Corps family surviving divorce are very low; deployments, endless training, and the absurdities of what we go through in everyday life put a strain the size of Mt. Everest on a family. There’s no amount of respect or communication that alone can overcome that. The self-help advice you’ll find everywhere these days is no match for the difficulties of an enemy working 24/7 to destroy your marriage.
As an earthly representation of God’s relationship with the church, of course Satan hates it and wants to destroy it. So not only do married men and women have societal, and financial strains weighing on them, but each day they’re fighting a spiritual battle simply by remaining together.
Further, allowing toxic worldly ideas like entitlement, and role equality creep in can be the death knell if not arrested and jettisoned from the mind. There have been times when I felt like I deserved better than a husband who was gone 4 weeks out of every month for training. I felt that for all of mine and my children’s sacrifice, we deserved better, and because of that entitled, worldly-influenced thinking I was miserable for years. Similarly, thinking that me starting my career was being stifled by my husband getting to establish his, and that I deserved to work outside the home (instead of inside of it where I am meant to be) just like him also weighed down heavily making me resentful.
The year 2020 was the best year for our family because all of his travels were canceled and we were finally able to be a family; my job search was forcefully halted, and with all of my spare time I decided I would begin the process of reading the Bible cover to cover. What I didn’t anticipate during the two-year course of studying the Bible in that way was a personal revelation that changed my thinking about my marriage, my role in this world and in my family, and opened my eyes to some of the lies that are destroying families today.
Realizing the sharp distinction between God-honoring, Biblical living and the failing worldly model sparked the desire in me to pursue the former. I did this by letting go of the power struggle for role equality that society says we should never relinquish, and let my husband be the head of the household. WHAT A RELIEF THIS HAS BEEN to let him bear the burden God has ordered him to bear so that I can focus on my tasks – which are many. I stop the enemy in his tracks the moment a single hint of entitlement (that nasty phrase “I deserve/I don’t deserve…”) creeps in, because just one moment of letting that stew can be the beginning of an avalanche of misery. It took me humbling myself and accepting the words I was studying in Ephesians 5:22, & 24; Colossians 3:18; Proverbs 31:10-31; and 1 Timothy 3:11 to realize that as a sinful human being, I actually don’t deserve a Hollywood contrived “perfect” life – quite the opposite – to finally find peace, contentment, and joy in the role God has me in.
After 10 years, these are the two most important take-aways that can be summed up even more simply; live Biblically. Take joy in your role, moms, as wives and mothers; keepers of the home, nourishing the minds and bodies of those in your home, designing an environment that’s both beautiful and peaceful for your family members; one that they desire to come home to. Support your husband when he needs it, building him up and praising him as he fulfills his Biblical role of provider, protector, and leader. Do every task as though doing it directly for the Lord; don’t just say you’re a Proverbs 31 woman, live the actual words of verses 10-31!
For 8 of the last 10 years I tried it my way, informed by society and worldly values, and dear readers, it just doesn’t work. The end goal isn’t happiness – what a vain notion! You don’t reach a point where everything is running smoothly and say the work is done; it’s never done. Marriages require daily work, consciously choosing to love your spouse selflessly, and not let the petty things irritate you (is it really a problem, or is there something else upsetting you that makes this seem like a bigger issue than it is). Choosing to commit yourselves to the promise you made to each other before God, and friends and family despite the ebb and flow of good times and bad. Because when those difficult seasons pass there will be good (very good!) seasons again, you can count on it.
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