Tomorrow my wife and I will celebrate 13 years of marriage. It has been a wild and crazy ride, but I wouldn’t change a thing. The Lord truly has blessed me with an incredible partner, friend, co-laborer, and wife. She is more than I could ask for, and today she shares a few thoughts on what she has learned over our 13 years together.
Tomorrow, Daniel and I celebrate 13 years of marriage. As I’ve looked back over the years, I can see the story of Christ permeate in every season. I want to share with you today 13 things I’ve learned in 13 years of marriage.
And while this might not be a singular milestone for you or others, I hope it encourages you to consider your story, and what marriage actually means for you and your spouse in the light of His glory.
Do more than is necessary.
Go above and beyond. The disciples considered Mary’s alabaster vial of perfume a waste on the Lord. Nothing is a waste in the service of love to your spouse.
Respect his role.
Too often, women (myself included) have made a habit of disrespecting the role and headship of a husband. 1 Peter 3 tells us that wives are to be submissive, respectful, and obey several times. This doesn’t mean we are “bowing” down to them like a slave. Submission is the humble act of deferring with reverence and honor to our spouse because it is what love calls us to do. The chapter goes on to call men to do likewise.
Listen more, talk less.
I run my mouth a lot. Ha! I used to be frustrated by a lack of communication, until I realized I ran the show. Silence can seem deafening and scary but it’s a matter of respecting the time they need to formulate and articulate thoughts. Don’t jump the gun before God leads you. Rest sisters. They desire to speak, but sometimes we never give them the chance.
Address his needs above my own.
Frustration happens a lot in marriage when unmet expectations loom large. I found that once I focused on Dan’s needs, mine were instantly filled. And not because he had done anything. Christ did a work in me, showing me that every work is done unto and for Him. Marriage is not “what’s in it for me.” Marriage is a mindset of denying the self. Love demands you put them over yourself.
Choose to respond, rather than react.
We are both passionate people, and tempers have flown. Immediately I’ve been known to retaliate, ready to sling an arrow right back in his corner. Instead of retaliating, I now absorb the blows and choose instead to press in with love and even more grace. Nullify this tendency to attack, and allow Christ’s nature within you to respond.
Make yourself a safe space for them.
The world will disappoint you. Family members, friends, and even your own mind will try to deceive you. Always ensure your spouse knows they are safe with you. No matter what, they can turn to you in every circumstance.
Let Christ love your spouse for you.
In our own abilities, we cannot do what only Christ can do for us. We can only allow the Lord living through us to love our spouse. Your spouse will fail you in many things, and our capacity to love them despite it is fragmented. You cannot rely on your own ability, but you can bank on the Lord, every time.
Co-labor in everything.
Do life, together. Do recreational activities, together. Do chores, together. Have meals, together. Be present, together. Parent, together. Do ministry, together. Two have become one flesh. Live like everything depends on the certainty of your oneness in God.
Speak life to him.
Words have the power of life and death. Don’t destroy your spouse. Speak into them and affirm the image of God in them. Encourage, motivate, and support your spouse.
Stand beside them, not above them.
Our roles are different, yet equal. One doesn’t tower over the other, but we compliment each other’s roles and see how each one brings unique value and importance to the other. Hand in hand, we walk together towards Christ.
Be in relationship over being right.
My need to be right obscured everything. Including my marriage. I no longer need to be right, or even care. I would gladly take the brunt of any disagreement and hold complete ownership of a wrong…even if it was committed to me. It’s what Christ did. How can I do anything less than love?
Remind him of his identity in Christ.
Behold him, treasure him, and see him the way Christ does. Beholding means you watch him and take in the beauty that is Christ. Treasuring him means you understand the precious jewel of infinite worth you’ve been given.
Christ is the center.
Nothing works without the Lord. Nothing. He is our captain, our true north, and the light that defines our very existence. In all the years we have been married, the most defining aspect is that He is Lord of both our lives. He is first for both of us. Which means we continue to grow together in Him as we live our lives unto Him. It’s hard to describe the completeness with each passing day, knowing that our capacity to handle the mystery grows more and more into fullness. There is nothing more comforting or exciting to know, as we are fully known by Him. Marriage is just a shadow of Christ. We are gazing into the mirror darkly but understanding we are pressing onwards to perfection in a journey with Christ.
What are some defining lessons you have learned in marriage? Share below.