For the year 2015, my goal has been to focus on intentionality. This month, I decided to dive into how I can grow in being intentional in my marriage. I did this in a few ways- by reading the book “Sacred Marriage, by attending an Authentic Intimacy conference, and by asking my husband intentional questions about ways I can grow in my marriage to him.
Marriage is a really beautiful thing. D and I have been married five years this October. I know this is not a long time, but it is a big milestone to me. It is important to me as I look at our marriage that I still view it as healthy. Two children (with one on the way!), broken relationships, hard times in business, and learning each other’s personalities in deeper ways has certainly brought challenges to our union, but I love that as I sit here and think about D, I am still madly in love with him!
We have so much fun together. He understands my humor like no one else. He seeks to understand me like no one else. He is wise, patient, and confident. He is my absolute best friend. Praise God!!
In reading the book “Sacred Marriage,” I have been reminded that a great marriage is not just something that “happens.” It does take work and intentionality. In addition to this, it is not just for D and I to enjoy, it carries so much weight when it comes to the kingdom of God.
Marriage calls us to holiness in deep ways. I am constantly being exposed to my selfishness and my attitude issues. If all I am seeking is happiness or for the ways in which D needs to change, I am headed towards disappoint me. The Lord desires to use marriage to change me, to make me more like Him. This has been exciting and a wake up call for me.
Marriage also teaches us SO much about the Lord. Referring to Ephesians 5, where Paul talks about husbands loving their wives like Christ loved the church, Thomas states, “As long as couple is married- they continue to display- however imperfectly- the ongoing commitment between Christ and his church.” As I seek to lay myself down for my husband’s needs, I can learn more about how Christ laid down His life for the church. He laid down preferences, rights, selfish ambition, sinful desires, all for the sake of His bride. Not only does this make me ooze with thankfulness for the Lord, it reminds me to take marriage seriously. I want my children, family, and the outside world to see Christ in our marriage.
Here are some other ways “Sacred Marriage” challenged me:
1. Honor. The book encouraged me to look at how I honor my husband. “We are called to honor someone even when we know only too well their deepest character flaws.” This led to a great discussion between D and I on how we both feel honored, both in the home and out of the home.
2. Holiness. Another question D and I asked each other was “Where do you see unholiness in my life?” This was sparked by Thomas stating, “We must not enter marriage predominantly to be fulfilled, emotionally satisfied, or romantically charged, but rather to become more like Jesus Christ.” This is hard. It is not easy to hear your spouse tell you where you may be falling short. But, it is also exciting. No one knows me as well as D, so of course I want to be spurred on into Christlikeness by the one who knows both my flaws and my strengths.
3. Fear. One of the biggest battles I wrestle with in life is fear. Fear of many things, but more specifically fear of the “other shoe dropping” in our marriage. Even in reading this book, I had to face fears as Thomas told stories of affairs and broken marriages. I catch myself thinking, “Well it is year five for us and things are going really well, when is it all going to fall apart?” Ugh. Such ugly thinking!! The Lord has come for us to have life and have it to the full. (John 10:10) I do not need to believe that we are one day going to enter something that will destroy our marriage. It has been great for me to fight this fear and also to pray for my marriage to teach me surrender to the Lord. Thomas talks a decent amount about how suffering in marriage does not always indicate a huge problem. It’s pretty likely we are going to suffer, but what if instead of running away we pushed through? We fell forward into each other and into Christ, because again, marriage is about making us more like Him. He states, “Perhaps he can set us free from the notion that a difficult marriage will hold us back rather than prepare us for our life’s work; maybe he can yet cut us loose from the chains that bind us to the seeking of tension-free lives over the building of lives of meaning and character.” I want to be a wife that preserveres, that continues to give herself to her husband, and to keep on loving and forgiving D even when it is hard to do so.
4. Vision. What is our vision for our marriage, for each other, for our children? This has been a fun question to delve into with D. One of D’s primary gifting is that he is a visionary. Several people have spoken this into his life and we have seen his visions come to fruition, but we do not always focus on a vision for our family. I am excited to see how the Lord continues to teach us in this area.
5. Mission. It was nice to be reminded that D and I have both been gifted in different ways. How are we going to use those gifting? What will our family on mission look like? How will we be intentional in our marriage so that we glorify God?
There is so much more that I learned, but I would write all day! I highly encourage you to check this book out 😉
Marriage is a splendid gift. One I am immeasurably thankful for. One that brings deep joy to my soul.
I want our marriage to provide stability and places of grace for our children. I want them to see Christ in the way we love each other.
I am the only one who gets to love D in this way. I pray the Lord uses me and changes me and grows me to do this in a holy and God honoring way!