Friday, December 18, 2015

Reflecting on Year 1 of Marriage

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7
I hope that I have loved others well and I hope that I will grow in humility the rest of my days. However, to be frank, before getting married, I spent 24 years doting on myself. I know my likes and dislikes quite well by now! Really, I have it all down to a science it seems. My mom is probably most familiar with the intricacies of my self-centered heart, but even she is often left guessing. Suffice it to say, the man I dated for 2 years and have been married to for 1, does not necessarily love on me in the ways I choreograph affection in my head. During the first months of marriage, I would find myself befuddled as to why Josh had not done this or that.

Why didn’t he buy that stuffed animal I was gushing over? Doesn’t he know that would have been the perfect way to love on me in that moment?

Why did he not get me flowers for that special occasion? Isn’t that what men are supposed to do?

When he got home early, why did he play video games instead of doing my least favorite chore? Doesn’t he know a surprise like that would make my day?

Disgusting, right?? I would actually get upset that Josh was not showing me love in the ways I expected or wanted. Now, let me state the obvious before moving on: 1) Communication, even about the little things, is vital in marriage. 2) The things I wanted are not wrong, but in my case were rooted in superficial and selfish desires. 3) Marriage’s purpose is not to keep another person happy.

I am thankful that Josh does not satisfy every secret whim of my heart; to do so would not be in line with his God-given role as husband, and would not be beneficial to me in any truly positive way. To “love your neighbor (or spouse) as yourself” does not include the sinfully selfish ways we put ourselves first. Josh has a great concern for my spiritual and physical well-being that goes far beyond material trinkets. He seeks to consider me more significant than himself. The patience, grace and love he shows me are astounding, and very much undeserved. God asks husbands to love their wives as Christ loves the church – sacrificially and with the motive of purity. This is not how the world naturally thinks of love, and the same goes for me. I am forever grateful then, for God’s higher purposes, and for a husband who desires to love me the way God loves me rather than the way I have tried to love myself.

So ladies, pray that your husbands would love you faithfully and passionately as God does, not worship you shallowly as we often do of ourselves! I’m not saying husbands should stop loving through spontaneous donut runs and chick flick nights, but we must turn away from feelings of entitlement and control. Recognize, respect and appreciate the new ways you’re shown love in marriage. Your husband provides a unique glimpse of how God loves you!