Monday, July 8, 2013

Making Marriage Work

My husband and I celebrated our 17th wedding anniversary over the weekend. We have had our ups and downs; joy and sadness over the years.  We have fought and made up.  We have weathered every storm that has hit us and come out on the other side stronger.  We have kept our marriage God-centered and are trying to teach and train our children in the ways of the Lord.

I know God gave me to my husband and my husband to me.  We are truly each other's "other half."  The Word says in Mark:

Mark 10:7 - For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother and shall cleave to his wife.
Mark 10:8 - And the two of them shall be one flesh. So then they are no longer two, but one flesh.
Mark 10:9 - Therefore what God has joined together, let not man put apart.

Becoming one flesh is not easy and it can often be painful.  It can be a long process and it requires each member of the marriage to lose themselves and place the other person first.  Over our 17 years we have learned a lot about each other - and ourselves - and have grown in many ways that has strengthened our relationship. 

One of what I consider the most important things that I have learned over the years is it is not my husband's responsibility to make me happy.  It is not within his power, his skillset or his job description as my husband. 

My joy is not from my husband. 

Psalm 28:7 Jehovah is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in Him, and I am helped; therefore my heart greatly rejoices; and with my song I will praise Him.

I only have to trust in the Lord and His promises.  Only when my heart rejoices and praises the Lord, do I find His joy.  Oh there will be moments of pure joy in any marriage.  Finding out we were pregnant with each of our children were days that provided us with joy.  Finally meeting the children God entrusted to our care on their delivery days were days of immense joy for us.  Walking down that aisle on our wedding day and seeing the expression on my husband's face as he waited at the alter for me was a day of pure joy for me.  But those events provided joy that was fleeting and only for a moment.  Only Jehovah God can give us everlasting joy. 

My contentment is not from my husband. 

 Phillipians 4:11 Not that I speak according to need, for I have learned to be content in whatever state I am.
Phillipians 4:12 I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound. In everything and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.

No matter what is going on at any moment in time, my contentment with any situation is found in Christ. My husband cannot provide me with feelings of contentment.  Or at least not lasting feelings of contentment.  There may be a moment when I experience contentment just laying in his arms or being near him, but I find my eternal contentment and peace in the confidence that my God and Father holds all things concerning me in His hands. 

 My happiness is not in my husband's job description.

Psa 128:1 A Song of degrees. Blessed is everyone who fears Jehovah, who walks in His ways.
Psa 128:2 For you shall surely eat the labor of your hands; you shall be happy, and all is well with you.

"Shall" is one of the strongest words in the English language.  It is practically a guarantee that something will come to pass.  If I walk in the ways of Jehovah God, then I will eat of the labor of my hands and I SHALL be happy and all will be will with me.  The only to experience true everlasting happiness is by walking in the ways of Jehovah.  My husband cannot provide me with everlasting happiness and I should never expect him to. 

Married couples can apply a lot of pressure to each other unintentionally.  We can hold each other responsible for making us happy.  The pressure to meet emotional needs can be absolutely overwhelming.  Applying that kind of pressure to my spouse only says that I am choosing to remain selfish and expect the marriage to center on me rather than a partnership that meets both of our needs through keeping our focus on serving and loving each other through the example Jesus gave.  I am not perfect at this and I am still learning that  everything pertaining to my emotional well-being is NOT my husband's responsibility. 

We have come so far in our marriage together.  We have grown together.  We have learned together.  We have failed and found success together.  We have seen God bless our marriage in ways that many cannot comprehend.  I know I am not the perfect wife and he is not the perfect husband.  But we are perfect for each other.  I will be forever thankful for God bringing him into my life and I look forward to many more years many as God would give us.  I look forward to our future and I pray that everyone is blessed enough to find their soul mate. 

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