“I found him whom my soul loves” Song of Solomon 3:4
When I was 23, I thought I'd made the worst mistake of my life. I married my husband. For 3 years we dated, for a year we were engaged, but somehow we were not really ready for the realities that marriage had thrown at us. Our marriage started with constant bickering and arguing. I would love to say that I married my prince charming, but truthfully, I married an OCD selfish hothead.
Well that’s how I would have described him. The world’s stance on marriage flip flops. It went from “Have dreams of a husband with 2.5 kids and your white picket fence,” to “Why get married 50% of marriages end in divorce."
But, The world is wrong.
As Christians, we have an advantage when it comes to marriage. Even if we weren't shown a good physical example of marriage growing up, we can always look at our relationship with God. How he sacrificed for us, loves us unconditionally, and constantly gives us grace and mercy that we don’t deserve. He is the epitome of 1 Corinthians 13. He is who we should pattern our character on when we marry. While my marriage seemed to start off failing, it has turned into a blissful union that feels surreal all the time.
Marriage is work. It doesn’t matter how much you love your fiance or spouse there will come a day when this statement will be true for you. Some people are blessed to have years of bliss before they have to work hard, while others are blessed with seasons of discomfort that lead to unimaginable growth and an intimacy that only the Lord can provide. Whether it starts out smooth or rocky, there are some tips I have to help you have a marriage that is pleasing to God.
Pursue Christ First
The very best thing that we can do in marriage is to pursue Christ first. We can never love or serve our husbands well, if we are not loving and serving Christ well. We must sacrifice time in our busy lives to draw closer to him. To be still in his presence, and allow him to give us the desires of our hearts.
When we are fully satisfied in Christ, then we can be fully satisfied with our spouse. Pray that God will give you wisdom, discernment, and patience. Ask him to work on you and make you a better wife for your husband.
Practical application: Commit to spending time with the Lord each day. Decide a general time of day and choose a book or study to go through to have a more productive time with him
Don’t Fall in Love
Falling in love is a counterfeit belief of the world. Love is always a choice. You choose to love your spouse even when you are not in love with him. This is one way that the world has crept into the belief system of Christians.
People divorce because they fell out of love or grew apart, but the problem is with the foundational belief that you will always be in love with your spouse.
While that sounds amazing, it's just not true. There are days that you will wake up and not like your spouse, you wont “be in love”, dare I say you may even be in disgust. But, you still choose to love him and he choose to love you. When you approach love as a choice, you have a better work ethic in your marriage.
Because you have chosen to be with this person, you put the work in to get back to where you want to be in your relationship. That means if you have grown apart, you don’t decide it’s time for a divorce, no you say, “I chose to love you for better or worse.” I will put in whatever it takes to grow closer together.
Practical Application: Tell your husband or soon to be husband that you are choosing to love them for better or worse. That no matter whether you are in a hill or a valley, you are going to work because you chose him.
Oh the dreaded S word. The world doesn’t understand the word submit in the same way that the Body of Christ does. When you submit to your husband, you are not basically becoming his slave. You are choosing to trust in him as the leader of your family.
Within your own family, you decide what that looks like. For us, we make decisions together, and consult each other about different events that come up. My husband asks me what I think about different things, and I ask him for counsel as well. He knows my strengths and trusts my judgement in the areas he is lacking in and vice versa.
To submit means that you are going to listen, respect, and serve, your husband well. In the same way he must love you well. That is not an action less concept. We all have different ways that we like to receive love and your spouse must be sensitive to that.
He has to love you in the same way that Christ loves the church. Hello! He died for us! Just think of the implications behind that for how your husband should love you. He has to love you so much that he is willing to sacrifice himself for you.
Practical Application: Think of ways that you are not submitting to your husband and talk to him about it. Seek forgiveness and together figure out a way for you to better serve him
Sex is always a popular topic for...well everyone. As a Christian, often times we are taught that sex is bad and that gives it a stigma. But, let me tell you, Sex is good.In the confines of marriage that is.
God gave us sex to be able to become one with our spouse, to produce children, to worship him. Don’t be afraid to enjoy sex. Embrace it fully. Be a giver, but also inform your husband of what you like. He will want to please you and if you are "ahem" quiet he may need the extra help.
Have open conversations about your sex life. If you go through a rough time just be patient with each other. It’ll work out.
Practical Application: During sex, make it your mission to make it a pleasurable for him as possible. If you feel like he is not doing the same-talk to him! Sex is good. It’s sooo good.
Some of the best marriage advice that we were told is to remember that selfishness is always the enemy in marriage. Our flesh seeks to feed, glorify, and honor its self. It rears its ugly head so much in marriage because 2 people are forced to become 1 whether we like it or not. Our flesh doesn't want to share the glory with anyone other than itself. So we should seek to be proactive by striking a blow to our flesh to serve well in our marriage. This may look like going with your spouse's dinner recommendation over your own. Fighting Fair when you argue and refraining from making hurtful comments or drumming up the past.
Practical Application: Look at areas on your marriage where you see your selfishness pop up the most. Pray to God to help you to be more humble.
Marriage is hard work, but it is also so rewarding. It allows you to understand more of the love that Christ has for us. Don't keep your marriage to yourself. Instead, find ways to serve together and invest in other people. Let you marriage shine the light of Christ.
Are you going through a tough season of marriage? Check out my articles on How To Reconnect With Your Spouse and my Letter To The Newlywed Who Feels Like She Made A Mistake.