What we're working on in our marriage
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Russell & I both grew up in broken homes, and we’ve been keen to learn, repent, and grow our marriage with intention.
When I was single, I spent a lot of time “interviewing” happily married couples and reading Christian marriage books. I spent a lot of time putting into practice what I was learning about marriage — but in my friendships. I’m not claiming to be an angel — anyone can attest to that! It was all trial and error for decades, but I’m a much better wife because of it all. Having healthy friendship practices makes me a good bestie to Russell.
The thing I’d like to work on is our perseverance to continue working on building our marriage. I’m pretty sure most people want a good marriage, but it’s not normal in our society to work at it…until something bad happens.
Just google “building trust in marriage” and you’ll find an array of articles and blog posts about repairing broken marriages.
As a society, we don’t like to do the preventative work. We fall into the trap of thinking things should be easy and come naturally, because that’s how it is in movies. In case you believe that, or in case you see the external qualities of our marriage and think we cruise through it…
We work at it. Every day. We have the difficult conversations BEFORE they become blow-ups. We work to progress instead of naturally digressing. We work on unity. We work to forgive quickly. We work to believe the best in each other.
It’s work. As Mo Isom says, “Hard but holy work.”
All the things that are in our daily practice are counter-culture. But Russell and I know all too well what culturally normal marriages look like:
Fighting, hating, bitter, war-filled homes, single-parent households, divorce, splitting assets, being poor, etc.
And I’d love to prevent that.
In fact, a number of my friends are going through marital problems and/or divorce. I don’t want that for any of you. The problem is that we don’t think our idea of marriage is flawed until our own marriage breaks apart and you’re left wondering how this could happen to you.
We need to be proactive — whether single, engaged or married — to conform our idea of marriage to God’s purpose for marriage: for His glory, not our happiness.
The goal is God’s glory
I just don’t want to cruise through life, relaxing the whole way, and at the end of it realize that Russell is just my roommate. I want to have a thriving, vibrant marriage that’s cultivated over years and decades. I want to ensure that our children have a solid home base and see the Lord’s love in the way we love each other. And that they see we are quick to forgive because we’re living in God’s grace. I want to show the world a better way to do marriage. Too many couples I know are just tolerating each other. Or they’re breaking up as soon as there’s a bump in the road. On to the next…til the next bump. That’s heart-breaking, and I want to show a better way.
Russell and I don’t always get it right, but we’re quick to repent, forgive, and heal. And that is only entirely because of the forgiveness and restoration we’ve experienced in Jesus.
It’s a funny thing. When you’ve been pardoned from a life of sin and you’ve been given a life of grace that you don’t deserve, but it’s yours — (Thank you, Jesus!!!) — well, it’s hard to hold other people at fault for minor things. Forgiveness is easier when I think about what God’s forgiven me for.
And that might be the entire point of this blog post.
Our marriage isn’t about Russell and me. It’s about God. It’s all about God.
Russell isn’t my fulfillment in life.
He isn’t the best thing that’s ever happened to me.
Our wedding wasn’t the best day of my life.
Jesus is my fulfillment.
Jesus is the best thing that’s ever happened to me.
When I started walking with God, it was the best day of my life.
Thankfully, I married a man who thinks the same. I don’t live under the pressure to fulfill him. I don’t have to be fake and shiny so he doesn’t see my flaws. I can be so transparent with him that it weighs him down some days, and he lifts me up. I’m not his be-all-end-all. Russell’s best day was when he started living in God’s grace, too!
By following the Lord, I’m a better wife. By following the Lord, Russell is a better husband.
And that’s all ya need, really. All the other advice — even what we’ve written here today — comes from the deep well of our relationship with God — knowing His mercy, grace, forgiveness, and restoration in our lives.
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