This week’s post comes from a lovely gal that I met in our homeschool group years ago. She is a darling, lovely, sweet lady that loves God, her husband, and her family with all her heart. She recently shared a post on facebook about marriage and I asked her if she’d want to write something up to share here with you. It’s a little longer than I usually share but I thought it best to share it all at once rather than broken up into two posts.
I found it interesting that she dealt with expectations recently too. (You may remember I wrote about that last week. )
Without further adieu, I give you Ana Osborn.
Until next time God bless,
It is incredible to me how relationships are painted in stories.
Boy meets girl.
Girl loves boy.
Boy and girl overcome a hiccup.
They live happily ever after.
Now don’t get me wrong, the passion that they portray in the stories is ALL true…well at least in my case. I felt every extra flutter of my heart and loved every tingle that traveled up my arm when I held his hand. The problem with Hollywood is that they tell of the greatness of love when the romance is young and it is easy to be selfless. Yet the story rarely unravels past the I dos. In my opinion, that’s when the story truly gets good.
As a little girl, I dreamed of a love that Hollywood would be envious of. Then I found it! The man that God brought to me was nothing that I had envisioned for myself. He was better!!! In fact, he was just what I needed.
Fast forward thirteen years and he is still all those things. However, in thirteen years we have had ups and we have had downs. The incredible thing is that people assume we have a fantastic marriage because we are two people perfectly paired. A more untrue statement could not possibly be made. Each marriage comes with its sets of challenges and each challenge is usually harder than the one before.
This past Sunday was Mother’s Day and my anniversary (Note how I said my…more on that later). I love days that celebrate me. Yes, that sounds so selfish, and it can be. However, who doesn’t enjoy being celebrated and honored? My husband has always been incredible at planning the perfect dates and making sure that each birthday, Valentine’s Day, Christmas, whatever, went perfectly. Yes, guys, perfectly. He checks restaurant reviews, and always finds unique gifts that sparkle that I always adore. This year has been different. He has been working six to seven days a week and has not had time all year to really put any thought into special days. All year I was disappointed when special days came and went and nothing.
Imagine my expectation for last Sunday. Two major days in one, surely, he had something planned! Something, anything . . .
But nope, nothing. We went to church and came home. I kept thinking “oh he is just waiting for the right moment . . . any minute now he will go get something out of the bedroom or his car.” Guys, it never happened. Monday came and I was downright depressed. I cried and cried and my usual bubbly phone call mid-morning to my husband was never made. I sulked and brooded like a two-year-old . . . actually I think I out did them too.
As per the norm these days, due to a large project at work, he got home late. I could see that he was exhausted from a long day of physical labor. He was covered in mud and sweat. As he removed his boots on the chaise in our room the Lord spoke to me loudly, “It was his day too!” Instantly I felt a pang of shame, not because of the truth spoken but that it didn’t even occur to me that it was his day too. Then I heard, “Every day you sought to be celebrated he was working. He would rather have spent that time celebrating you!” That was the moment I broke. I walked over to him and helped him remove his socks. For the rest of the evening my heart just poured out service on “the flesh of my flesh!” Ephesians 5 came to life to me in that moment, “For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it,” I had become so obsessed with what I wanted and what I needed that I totally overlooked the needs of the one that completed me. Now please hear me, I am not saying that I didn’t have a justified complaint . . . maybe I did. However, in that moment I realized that my complaint did not, and does not, and never will supersede the mandate that God sets out before me as to what is love.
I had made the colossal mistake of buying into the lie that love needs to do FOR me. I had crossed from love into entitlement. My heart was not concerned with service but selfishness. To my everlasting shame, I never once thought of how I could celebrate him. As tears flowed from my eyes, and an apology to him from me came, I was surprised at how my heart shifted. My heart was filled with gratitude and love and emptied of anger and disappointment. Once I began to step away from me me me and I I I, I was able to shake off the depression and sadness.
God calls us to serve in every area of our lives but especially in our marriages. When we serve our spouses we are also serving ourselves. That should not be our motivation, but it is the truth. I wish I could say that I know how it all works but I don’t. In fact, Paul called the marriage union a great mystery (Eph 5:32). However, the Word is clear that our spouses body is our body; and ours is theirs. We are one and how we treat each other directly affects us. In my opinion, that is why so many marriages end. People assume that once they are free from that particular marriage their problems will cease. Rarely is that the case. All that really happens is the exchange of one set of problems for another. Your spouse is designed by God to become part of your DNA. When that DNA is disrupted death ensues in the heart, mind, body, and soul.
When it gets hard and it seems as if it would be easier to quit, remind yourself that it’s not. The devil would have us believe that love is primarily self-serving. God would have us believe, by his example, that love is selfless. In 1 Corinthians 13 the Lord expresses his definition of love. I love how it begin . . . ”love suffers long.” We are called to suffer with him when we love. He tells us that love “does NOT behave itself unseemly.” Love also does not keep a record of wrongs.
In every facet that I could have abused love and what it meant, I had. I had abused the love given me by my husband and defiled it with selfishness, entitlement, and wrath. The good of all this came in the revelation of my wrongs and the heart change that followed.
So why write this? Well so that I can hopefully encourage someone else to a different response than I had. I challenge you today; that if something in your marriage is not going your way, then intentionally be moved by grace. If you are hurt, be moved by peace. If you are lonely, be filled with the love the Holy Spirit brings. This action will shift the atmosphere. I promise, it’s better to show grace and love and patience than to concede to despair. Watch that change your heart…”love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things, LOVE NEVER FAILS.”
All for His Glory,