Sunday, July 14, 2013

What I learned about marriage in our first year

The end of June was the busiest I think our family has been all year! With fathers day, my NPC show and my one year wedding anniversary, the month was back to back activity! 

Today, as I sit here writing this, both my boys are napping. They love napping and like any good competitor, I advocate REST. Our father in heaven also advocates REST, He created it, He knows the value of it, the necessity. He rested after creating earth and humanity, but He worked hard while he was doing it. Rest rejuvenates us, gets the creative juices going, it makes us feel new. 

When I got married, I didn't know what to expect. It sounds odd to say, why would I know, having never been married before. But as a woman I have these Ideas that it's going to be a lot like the what we see in the movies, that it's going to be a primrose path and a blissful sunny day, every day. 

I am no expert, but I follow many Godly bloggers on facebook who have been married as long as I have been alive (Time Warp Wife, Women Living Well, Proverbs 31 woman). They seem to know more than me and I am learning more everyday. Surprisingly, I am learning about myself and about God, not just about my new husband and son. 


So here is what I have learned about marriage. You may have heard many or ALL of these, and I know I did too before my covenant. To grasp the magnitude of these, they have to be experienced. 

1) The choice is mine: In EVERYTHING we have a choice. To make my marriage work, to live with someone different than I am, to display God to my husband is my choice. Over the past year, I have chosen poorly sometimes, I chose wrongly. I was 36 last year when I got married and it has been me, alone, in my routine for a LONG time. When I chose to let my husband and son in, I chose to make that my priority. 
You don't do a workout on food you ate last week--you CHOSE to eat everyday. In marriage, everyday I chose that MACK is the man I trust, respect, honor. I chose that MACK is the man I look at. I chose that I will communicate, be open and not hold resentments. Sometimes, with the challenges I face it would be simpler to chose opposite of what God's word says. But no. The choice is mine, I will find fuel DAILY to make my marriage what we dream it can be. If it falls short or fails, it was because of a choice poorly made. 


2) Holiness over happiness: I didn't understand this one when I first heard it. Of course God wants us happy and happy in our marriage and YES, it's true. However it is NOT MACK's job to make me happy. It's not the primary role of my marriage to fulfill my needs or make me happy. Have you ever met someone who assumed that if they got married, their problems would be solved, they would be happy and it would make all that was void in their life FULL? WRONG. God fills those voids first and we bring that to the table in the marriage. Our spouse, amazing as they may be, are human and it isn't their job or their purpose to make us happy. God chooses to use marriage (modeled after HIS covenant with his people) to instill holiness in us, the process called sanctification. 

It's a refining process. And if you've been refined, on the job, in your fitness or in your faith then you know that it's a heated place. God loves us and he wants us HOLY for him over happy. When we obey, we find happiness, but the process of becoming holy isn't a walk in the park. Why marriage? Because there are SO many ways to let a second person, one we are bonded to be the person we practice treating the way Christ would. If I spent all of my marriage treating MACK the way I wanted to, we wouldn't get through some days. But I obey, and let Christ work in me so I treat him the way Christ would. I am humbled, it is hard, its a path to holiness. Happiness happens along the way. 

3)I can be second. At 36 and single, I was always first. It was God then me, if I had it right. If I got it wrong, it was the Mary Show. When I got married, it was my chance to be Christ like and put someone else before me. Yay, I was so ready for that, I excel at loving, I have maternal instincts, I was MADE for relationships! But when push comes to shove, "preferring one another in love, outdoing each other in honor" was harder than I thought. (Romans 12:10) It is not just what movie do we want to watch, but is deeper than that. We look to out do one another in Christian service and honor. Believe me, I am no ones maid, but when I get home from work 3-4 hours before my husband and I can DO something for him to help, I will, I must, I was made as his helper. I can put myself second when I don't participate in a gripe session about "what men do", when instead of pushing back on a sensitive issue with MACK, I lay it at the feet of Jesus and let him handle my husband. When I step outside my own feelings and hear what he is telling me, when I really can hear what he needs and I remember that, that is being second. Again, it goes back to #2, it's a refining process. God loves us, wants us happy, but knows that happiness will come from obedience to him. I am no ones door mat, but when I lay down my will in exchange for God's and put myself second for once to my husband, the reward? His undying love and affection, his support, his desire... and blessings from a happy father God. 
  
4) GOD in the Mix:  Sometimes I have felt mixed up, relationships can be one of life's biggest challenges and biggest rewards. Without God to help us, chances are we end up a statistic. Each from a broken home, each with a substance abuse past, each with baggage etc. But we have God, not just here with us when we feel mixed up, but as a CENTER, a CORE, a foundation. We have fallen short of reading the bible together and praying as a couple, but we TRY. Trying isn't good enough, christian marriages with better odds than ours fail for lack of GOD in the mix. Bible reading, prayer together, everyday, no matter what will create a marriage that works. I hear it over and over--speak with a couple you know who have a Christ-centered Marriage and ask them if they read the bible and pray together. 



5) A drop in the bucket: This is all a drop in the bucket. The fight over breakfast: a drop in the bucket in light of the next 10 years of marriage. That rough patch your going through: a drop in the bucket in light of 25 years of a covenant. Financially tight: A drop in Gods HUGE bucket of blessings he will rain down on your lifetime together! A lifetime of marriage, where you make choices to be faithful in all things, prefer the other person over you, make God your core, become more Christ-like and find blessings and joy along the way, a drop in the bucket for your eternity with Christ--HE is your true bridegroom! This momentary life is but a drop in the bucket, refining us for an eternity with him! 


CANOE TRIP: 

My husband was surprised that I would want to spend our 1 year anniversary canoeing and camping down the Crow Wing River in northern Minnesota! I was like "Who do you think you married?"
He definitely married an outdoors girl!  We had 2 nights camping and about 5-7 miles of canoeing on either side of those nights. We didn't have to portage the canoe, so it wasn't like a Boundary Waters trip, but it was an exciting time! Here are highlights:  












11 comments:

DreamingofArnold said...

Congrats on your 1st year! I hope you guys have many more!
Crystal

Nicky Dowsett said...

You are so inspiring, Mary! I totally agree with everything you've shared in this post. God must always be placed at the center of our lives. Holiness must be over happiness. I like this! :-)

Lily Parkes said...

Wow! I love your photos. Congrats guys! I'm really inspired with this article. I'm motivated to pray again. I really needed this. Thanks a lot!











Vivian Rowe said...

Happy 1 year anniversary! I love the idea of canoeing and camping during anniversaries. It's truly memorable. Anyway, I'm glad you're doing great. Keep on posting!



















Sandra Blaine said...

Congrats! I love both of you guys. Happy Anniversary! I wish I can also experience that.

Mitch Parker said...

Congrats Mary! I'm so happy for you. Holiness over happiness- I love this! God must be placed at the center of our lives.

Caitlyn Kirtley said...

Being in a long marriage is a little bit like that nice cup of coffee every morning – I might have it every day, but I still enjoy it. It does need time, spending with your partner and make him feel that he is important. That's love!

Davis Mauldin said...

CONGRATULATIONS on your anniversary... may you have MANY, MANY more... there are few things that are more of a Christian witness than an obviously committed marriage.

Lexi said...

Happy first year Anniversary! I hope you have many more. Thank you for sharing the wonderful story and photos with us!

Paankhuri said...

Love your point about making right choices - they define who we were, are and become! Enjoy your amazing adventure!

natasha said...

Congratulations guys Its great to see you both enjoying life so much and enjoying marriage :)

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