Theology

Marriage—The Good and the Hard

This week,  my husband and I celebrated three months of marriage. That won’t sound like much to those who have been married for years. Down the road, I will likely look back at these thoughts and think the same thing, but right now, in the newness of the season, I  want to share what God is teaching me. 

So—what has three months of marriage taught me? 

I am far more selfish than I thought 

Marriage is a giant transition, and so many wonderful things come from it – getting to make meals together, plan for the future together, wake up together, just to name a few. But in that newness, there is still this old habit of independence. 

At the very start of our marriage, Luke and I still made decisions on our own and would then later say, “Oh no! I really should have talked to you first!” 

Most of those instances were laughable and somewhat understandable — for so long, we only had to think about things from our perspective. But I’ve also come to see how I think of my opinions and reactions first, especially when we come to a disagreement. Sometimes, whether in the moment or after the disagreement, the main questions I ponder are, “Why are you mad at me? What did I do?”

You may think that’s a good question, and in part it is. I  should always own up to my sins and be willing to say, “I was wrong, will you forgive me?” But sometimes, my husband is wrestling with something that has nothing to do with our disagreement.

Yes, we might have been short with each other based on a silly little decision like where to go out to eat. But what was the reason behind that irritation? Am I willing to take the time to ask questions and say, “Love, is something else on your mind?” Or do I just take the easy route and move on because I have at least owned up to my poor reaction? 

Sometimes the struggle might be from a conversation we had earlier that we need to unpack better, but many times what’s been weighing on his mind is a completely different situation that has nothing to do with me. And when I am so quick to focus on myself, I miss seeing my husband and offering timely encouragement.

I have a much higher opinion of myself than I realized

Being that my husband and I are both sinners saved by grace, there are many times that I fall short—the scary thing is I am sometimes so oblivious to my wrong. 

And then, when my sin comes to light, I am devastated. I have failed the person I have promised to love most. How could I do such a thing? I was trying so hard to love him well—wasn’t I? 

Sin is deceitful and creeps in when I least expect it. When I am devastated and almost paralyzed by my failure, that isn’t humility. It’s pride. 

Pride is sly. It’s not always haughty, brash, and noticeable. And when I go round and round in circles about how I can’t believe I did that or messed up that way again, I am saying “I should be above failure.” That type of narrative makes me feel awful for my failure but offers no hope. That line of thinking contradicts the truth of Scripture:

Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.  Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.  Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.

James 4:6-10

When I am saying “Oh my word, I am the worst,” really I am saying I should be able to be better on my own. That. Is. Pride. And God doesn’t extend grace to the proud. He offers grace upon grace to the humble. 

Instead of wallowing in self-pity, I can admit my wrong, ask for forgiveness from God and my spouse, and ASK for help. Admit that I don’t have it all figured out. Sometimes I don’t know the best way to love my husband, but asking him about it versus beating myself up for failing him is a much more Christlike response—it carries the seeds of humility. 

Our differences sharpen each other

Marriage is messy, and transparency is hard, but I am learning how God intentionally wants to use our differences. 

Case in point, one spouse can be more direct in communication while the other is softer, more sensitive.  At moments that can feel defeating as you feel like you’re speaking different languages.

But instead of being frustrated at each other, or even ourselves, what if we looked at it as an opportunity? What if, by leaning into my spouse’s strengths, I can become a more well-rounded individual in communication? 

Proverbs 27:17 says, “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another,” and I think that should be true of Christlike marriages. Little by little, I see the importance of direct communication (yes, I am sure you are shocked that I am the more sensitive one in the marriage) and my husband understands the value of a soft word fitly spoken. 

Marriage is good and hard. My husband and I now have the privilege of being a part of each other’s sanctification process; we are sharpening each other to become more like Jesus. And these lessons are just the beginning of God’s story in our marriage.

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