November 8, 2002
The Fountains mingle with the river
And the rivers with the ocean,
The winds of heaven mix for ever
With a sweet emotion ;
Nothing in the world is single,
All things by a law divine
In one another's being mingle -
Why not I with thine ?
[Percy Byssche Shelley's Love's Philosphy]
My husband and I have been together for seven years, married for six. There are so many things I wish I had known, really known, before I was married. I realize people tried to impart these bits of wisdom to me, but when you're young and in a whirlwind of emotional love, you are blinded. You are living in a fantasy land, absolutely positive that you won't go through those phases and issues other marriages go through. No, your love is different. Your love is true.
What I wish I would have known before I married: (Seven things for the seven years we've been together.)
1. Love is not a feeling, its a choice. The bible makes that clear in telling us to love people who may be difficult to love (like our enemies, our neighbors, etc). However, so many little girls are raised with fairy tales, and we fall into the belief that Prince Charming will whisk us away, and we will love (all together now) Happily Ever After.
2. Love is not a battlefield, or at least your marriage isn't, so quit recruiting army. Whenever my husband did something wrong, I'd run tell my parents. Of course, I wasn't about to tell them about all my flaws (though they knew them well). I had recruited an army in my friends who would tell me just what I wanted to hear and even encouraged me to leave. "God wants you to be happy," they'd say. Looking back, I am thankful for those few who told me to suck it up and work on my own issues before I tried to work on his.
3. If you're going to keep a list of all the slip-ups and failures of your husband, then you need to keep a list of your own. If we're looking for flaws in another person, we're bound to find them because everyone makes mistakes and no one is perfect. In the beginning of a relationship, we focus on every single lovely detail, and as we settle into that relationship, we begin to pick apart every single flaw. Somewhere in between, we must have removed our rose-colored glasses, yet we put them back on when we look at ourselves. Before we can expect our husbands to be the godly man we desire him to be, we have to be the godly wife he needs. If he's waiting for you to change, and you're waiting for him to change... there will never be any change. Suck it up. Start with yourself.
4. Don't open the door to divorce, not even a crack. Don't consider it. Instead, consider working through the issues under the grace of God. Separation doesn't lead to a "clearer mind". It rarely helps anyone correct their issues. Separation leads to more separation. Separation makes it harder to get back together. How can you work on your marriage if you are not together? How can you work on your marriage if you are living separate lives?
5. Children don't strengthen a marriage unless your foundation is in the Lord. I can certainly tell you that is true.
6. Reading and praying together on a daily basis is one of the best ways to feed your marriage. It'll keep you on the same page. It will help you be spiritually intimate.
7. Don't get caught up in keeping up with other people. You'll never be satisfied. Then, one of you, or both of you, will have to take more time away from the family to pay off those bills of things you had to have but didn't need. Instead, be content with what you have. Realize the blessing you have before you. If there's an emptiness within you, fill it with God, not more stuff. Debt is a curse.
But most of all- if I would have known God- really known God- things would have been different. Thankfully, God used our marriage, our children, the good, the bad, the ugly to lead us into His arms. God has blessed us. We don't deserve it, but he has blessed us anyway!! The things we have gone through in our marriage have given me a desire to help others in their marriage- help them overcome and succeed. I hope God will use us to help others who are struggling in their marriage. God transforms. He transformed me. He transformed my husband. I am not the woman I was when I married- and I know my husband is thankful for that! :)