Hey Friends, It's been a little while as I took a short break from blogging for wedding planning season (floral business prep) and am jumping in again. I am so thankful for the Lord's leading in a time where things could've been busy, that he shows me what to set down for a season. I had a great time curating all of the flowers for each of my brides this year (11), sent out their packages, started the seeds for my garden, set up the greenhouse (first year!), prepped the garden and attended women's bible study at my church! I had a couple weeks off before my first wedding this weekend and feel great and rested enough to sit down and write. How are you?
A few things that have been on my mind lately..
LIFE AS A NEWLYWED IN MY LATE TWENTIES…
If you've been following along, I got married last June after waiting very trustingly in the Lord for the husband of my dreams. The Lord taught me a lot during that time and I am so grateful. I don't think I'd have it any other way. When we tied the knot, I was 28 and Wayne 32. It's been nearly 10 months now and I have learned a lot! I jot down thoughts each month from things I learn and have questions for the women in my life now, more than ever. I definitely don't feel like an authority on advice in marriage.. but I thought you might enjoy a couple thoughts as I think I would've before getting married...
what I wanted
I didn’t wait until later in life to get married in order to enjoy my independence, travel or do what I wanted. Although I did all those things, learned a lot about myself and others and am soo thankful! I waited (& Wayne too) because I wanted to find the right one. I would’ve rather been single than marry just for company. I’d seen average, barely tolerable marriages too often. I wanted someone who was right for me, and a marriage that was a blessing. I got that.. I certainly did, and I thank the Lord for that gift everyday.
what i didn't want
Some of the things that Wayne I didn’t want, was to argue often, or feel like marriage was more hard work than a blessing. A lot of people told us that marriage was hard and you could hear in their voices that they were tired, somewhat dissappointed and accepted that for what it was. We felt there was more than that.
10 months down the road...
We've been through a few bumps now and I'd still say that marriage is an absolute blessing. There were times when I cried because I felt misunderstood and times when he felt hurt because I stepped on a past pain. And to be honest, that discouraged us for a moment because we were afraid our fears of a struggle-filled marriage might come true. The opposite happened... marriage was not a let down or a source of pain, instead, we experienced (and still are) our hearts were becoming one. We found that misunderstanding and hurt are not where marriage has to lie but becoming one does take intentional effort.
We realized that, if you want to truly share each other’s hearts you have to be willing to “become one.” And that involves conversation, which means being willing to communicate and willing to listen. Though it sounds simple, I think that no matter how developed you are, most people struggle with one or the other. Either expecting the other to understand automatically or needing the patience to search out the situation with the other while they probably don't understand it themselves (often taking a season, not just one conversation). I have learned A LOT about how to do that in GRACE; for myself and my spouse. I have both expected myself to be better and my spouse to understand more. It has been good for me to realize there is usually a reason why I feel a certain way, to give myself credit and to give us both time and grace to figure it out. (I am afraid of being overly emotional so it's easy for me to discount my feelings).
more aware of myself...
I've also learned things about myself that are uglier than I'd have liked to recognize. Yes, becoming one, involves being more self-aware and most times, how to control your own feelings more than changing the other person. If you haven’t learned this as a young person, I’d encourage you to start that process now and just whole-heartedly embrace HUMILITY! ;P (See note below). Some not so lovely things I realized about myself were that, I assume the worst when I feel hurt, I feel entitled to blame in the same situation… and my mind can quickly create things that are NOT TRUE. Whew…we need the Holy Spirit’s help in life. And marriage just reveals that.
marriage is still an amazing blessing...
That in itself, does not mean that marriage is hard. If you have the blessing of being married to someone who is always, always, always willing to work things out, no matter what, these little adjustments don’t have to be a big deal. They might be painful at times, but never as painstaking as worrying that it might be the end. That is a different fear and struggle in itself. (Of course, I believe the God of peace has grace for you too in that situation). If you’re still choosing that person, be sure that that “unquestionable life commitment” is there, it will make ALL the difference in the effort it takes to become one.
Wayne & I still choose see marriage as an amazing BLESSING and I think that makes all the difference. We focus on the positive while trying not to avoid facing things as they come up. I think that if you see marriage as hard, it will be. And if you embrace all the steps it takes to make it work, as worth it, than it won’t be. It’s all in your PERSPECTIVE.
SOME LITTLE PIECES OF ADVICE
I would offer to a young person who is joining his/her life with another:
1. KEEP THE BEST IN MIND |
Try to always keep in the forefront of your mind that the other person, almost always, wants what’s best for you. If they hurt you, they most likely did not mean to. Give them the benefit of the doubt when talking about it, don’t assume the worst until you ask, and try not to get worked up about it beforehand. It will be much easier for your spouse to want to find understanding for you if you’re not blaming or attacking him/ her. And be careful you're not doing this without realizing it (perhaps, ask your spouse how he feels when you talk about your hurt to him/ her). Also, the more you realize this, the more you’ll be able to let the little things go. (You may realize some very ugly issues of self-control. It's ok, go ahead and realize that you are human, apologize to your spouse and let the Lord do his transforming work... (So many good verses to meditate on for this one: Phil. 4:8, 2 Tim 1:7, Eph. 4:22-32, Matt 15:11, Rom 7:25, 26, Prov. 3:5, Col. 3:2-5)).
2. UNDERSTAND BEING UNDERSTOOD |
Realize, that, in this world, you will never be completely understood. We have within us the desire to be, but unfortunately there are reservoirs of our hearts that only God can tap into. The search to be deeply known this way, without realizing it comes from Christ can be a very, very disappointing journey in life that leads to feeling isolated. When we remove this expectation from people, we will begin to allow people into our hearts with the understanding that it is us, who has to let people in. We have to help people understand us, just as God helps us understand ourselves. He is our creator and the only one that can truly hold all of the facets of our hearts. Let this lead you to Him, you need Jesus deeply, no matter how wonderful of a spouse you have. How wonderful that they cannot fill this need.
3. GRACE |
"Remember that every time your partner fails or falls short, it is an opportunity for you to minister grace, never for us to 'put them in their place.' " (Dr. Paul David Tripp). We were given each other as ministers of love and just as God graciously forgives our human faults daily, we can do the same with our spouse. Never, will we be “better” than the other or righteous enough to Lord over anyone else. Each of us is as sinful as the other. It is so easy to feel “wronged” “I can’t believe… happened” or “I don’t deserve this.” But, in reality, we all have penalties that we cannot pay and God gives us grace every time. We should do the same, in humility, to our partners.
There’s a million pieces of advice that you can read or listen to to prepare you for marriage, but I think the best thing you can do is to work on yourself before hand and with the Holy Spirit’s help, work on marriage with your partner as you go.
One of the best, bible-based pieces of insight that Wayne & I have heard on marriage is a message by Paul David Tripp called: Marriage, What Did You Expect? It neither calls marriage hard work or a boat ride but shares the honest truth about humanity and how to give grace to one another as Christ did. (You can purchase the DVD here, I promise it’s worth the investment).
I realize now more than ever, how much I need Jesus and also how beautiful his love is.
I wish you all, seeking and working on love, to enjoy every minute and let the Lord fill up your heart with his. He is the best teacher.