Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Advice to my 24-year-old self

On February 7th, 2003 my life changed forever, in the most wonderful way, when I stepped into the foreign role of becoming a wife. Oh how I wish my 35-year-old self could go back and give my 24-year-old self some advice. This is what I would say...

 “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.”-Ephesians 5: 22-28

Call me sentimental, but since I just celebrated my 12th anniversary with my husband I thought it fitting to spend some time in the word studying about husbands, wives and this blessing (and yet really hard at times) called marriage! As I reflected this last week, a few nuggets of truth came to mind: #1 - Love is a choice – it’s not just a feeling, but a decision to love my husband even when I don’t feel like it. #2 – I’m only responsible for myself. Wait. What? Yep, I can’t control my husband’s attitude, but I can control mine. I can’t control how he responds to a situation or argument, but I can control how I do. #3 – My source of joy can’t be found in Greg. When I expect him, not God, to fill me with joy, I will always set him up for failure and I’ll be disappointed. #4 – Change is inevitable. I am a different person since I got married over a decade ago, and so is my husband. The key is to change together, to move in the same direction (together) instead of apart. Stay in the word, keep open communication (with my husband and God), and don’t be afraid of change but embrace it! BUT, and a big but, I can’t change my husband, only God can. #5- The best thing I can do for my kids is show and tell them how much I love their father. By being a great example to them of a healthy-loving-respectful marriage and to also give them reassurance. So what does God say about marriage? What better place to start than at the beginning with Adam and Eve. Genesis 2:18-23 “The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him. But for Adam no suitable helper was found. So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said, ‘This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman for she was taken out of man.’” I love God’s creativeness in illustrating the symbol of marriage by becoming one flesh. As husband and wife we were created and equipped for different tasks, but all these lead to the same goal – honoring God. When we become one with our husband it doesn’t mean that we lose our personality or cover up who we are. Instead, it means caring for him as you care for yourself, putting his needs before your own and helping him become the person God desires for him to be.  Genesis 2:24 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” I found these words three times throughout the Bible as I was studying – um, I think God was trying to get his point across. I think of this verse and how it amplifies an oneness of marriage. As I kept reading this verse over and over it made me think that it’s not only physical, but emotional as well. I cannot have oneness with my husband if I am sharing things about myself to others, but not to him. I cannot have oneness with my husband if I am constantly seeking counsel from others, but not from him. I cannot have oneness with my husband if I am giving so much to others, but not as much to him. I cannot have oneness with my husband when I desire more for myself than for him. Do any of these statements ring true to you? Ask God to show you an area in your life where you are creating a wall to be formed between you and your husband.

Heavenly Father, thank you for creating this wonderful gift of marriage. The perfect example of how you love the church, you have asked that I love my husband. Work in me today to help identify the areas in which I am lacking. Bring unity between me and my husband and help me to knock down any walls I have begun to build that has caused our oneness to be split. Amen.

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