Thursday, September 4, 2014

It's been a tough summer.

A busy, tough summer.

Matt and I have had to face some pretty hard situations and it's rubbed our marriage almost threadbare a few times. Yet, here we are, by the grace of God.

I know I rarely write anything personal here, anymore. Life is crazy like that. I generally only have time or energy just to post photos of the boys, a quick entry about our last adventure, or a plug for my businesses. But this weighed on my heart and I thought it was a nice reminder to other wives who may be struggling like I am.

It seems like when life gets nuts...when the storms come rolling in...when you're nothing more than roommates because you never have a moment together, everything you loved about your husband or know about what God had planned for your marriage goes out the window. You forget exactly what your marriage means and what your role in it really is. Statements are made without thought and feelings are hurt. Bitterness and resentment begin to creep in. Anyone with me?

I know this feeling all too well.

When life squeezes and stresses me, I drift farther and farther from my beloved, rather than rely on him to pray for me and guide me, and it gets to the point where I forget the basics of what we are, together. It's so easy to forget. Too easy. And it's miserable.

I was pondering this last night, as I was laying there in bed trying to sleep. It sounds silly, but I make myself "lists" of basic reminders to review when I'm really in a funk. Generally, it helps right my perspective and snaps me out of whatever ditch I've dug myself into. So, here is my "wife reminder" of the things I think are important for a godly marriage. It may differ from what you deem important, but, if anything, this is a reminder for ME. I call it "I Want to Give Him my H.E.A.R.T."

H: I want to give him my HONESTY. Do not hide things from him. Do not lie to him. Do not bottle up what's bothering you. God created him to be your helpmate, just as you are his (Genesis 2:18). Let him help and guide you through whatever is troubling you, through the Word or through prayer. Even just voicing your worries and woes to a loving, listening ear makes all the difference. He is my best friend, after all.

E: I want to give him my EAGERNESS. We should be eager to show our husbands love and affection, because loveless marriages are dead marriages. Without sex or any sort of emotional bond, bitterness and temptation can quickly seep in, driving the wedge between you even more (1 Corinthians 7:5).

A: I want to give him my ACKNOWLEDGEMENT. Marriage is meant to be an example of the relationship of Christ and His church (Ephesians 5:22-32). We must acknowledge our husbands as the head of our households, if he is indeed in Christ, and allow him to guide us spiritually by submitting to him. We don't like that idea, generally, in this feminist-laden era. The Bible talks about women being the "weaker vessel" (1 Peter 3:7), in that we are more emotionally-driven than our male counterparts and have a greater tendency to be irrational and illogical -- especially during particular times of the month. (If you have found a way to master that, kudos, but I'll be the first to admit that I can be one hot mess sometimes and I'm glad that my husband doesn't have to deal with hormones and tears when trying to make a clear-thinking decision.) This does not mean that our ideas or concerns should not be heard or taken into account. Marriage (and parenthood) should always be a team effort, but I acknowledge my husband as the head by being respectful of his decisions for our household and not try to undermine him at every chance.

R: I want to give him my RESPECT. As I said before, he deserves my respect for his role as head and for me not to bad-mouth him to my friends or family. No eye-rolling, name-calling, or tearing down during discussions -- especially heated ones. Is it giving God glory by being rude and uncivil towards him? Is it showing him Christ-like love? Not at all. You're not a teenager. PMS isn't an excuse. Act and talk like an adult. And if you did happen to fly off the handle at him, repent. ASAP. (Ephesians 4:32)

T: I want to give him my TRUST. This one is especially hard for me. I've been burned by people a lot in my life, so full trust in anyone is almost impossible for me. God is working on me. We must trust our husbands wholeheartedly. You have to keep in mind that he is a sinner, like you, and will disappoint you. You will sin against him and disappoint him, too. I was once told that marriage was two sinners trying to live selfishly together. This is true. But if you don't trust your husband to care for your well-being, love you, and guide you in Christ, you're sunk. What is any relationship without trust? Broken. But, ultimately, our faith and trust must in the Lord, first and foremost (Jeremiah 17:7), causing it, in turn, to flow into our marriages.

Now, this is assuming you're both saved and both on the same page, theologically. If not, you need to go here. And, as I said, this isn't meant for everyone. Everyone's situations are different, but these speak to my marriage, which is imperfect and flawed, but also wonderful, love-filled, and totally worth it. I can't imagine life without my best friend and helpmate. That's why I strive so hard to make it work. Yours is worth it, too.

"[Jesus] answered, 'Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, 'Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.'"
-Matthew 19:4-6-