I’ve been enjoying a fabulous marriage for a whole two years. They have been packed with illness, deaths in the family, divisions between loved ones, drama, chaos, 90-hour work weeks, children under foot, never enough money … Basically, all of the stressors that cause marriages to tank.
This is my second marriage and I was determined to do things right this time.
I lived ashamed for a long time over my failed marriage. It’s tough being a good Christian girl and screwing up a marriage. And unfortunately the church still looks at the big “D” more harshly than almost anything else. I asked so many questions of God.
Why this road?
How did this all get so messy? And I allowed that shame and doubt to seep into the crevices of this marriage as well. Instead of yielding to the beauty of this new marriage and the will my Father has for a godly wife, I allowed pride to lead my marriage (through the shame of not being perfect, the stubborn thought still lingering over my head).
With my two little puny years of marriage behind me, I’m not going to sit here and tell you I have it all figured out! I’m fairly certain that even in twenty years I will not have figured it out … That seems to be the case in most things I do.
I do them a LONG time (my business, my service in church, my hobbies), but I’m ALWAYS learning. But, I do know this … And even if I take marriage out of the equation, I see how my success with my business, kiddo, friendships, service, hobbies, family thrives when I remember one thing.
I can’t expect to mold into a good, loving, supportive, and godly _________ (fill in the blank – wife, mom, friend) until I’m willing to submit to God’s will. And I can’t fully yield to God’s will if I don’t yield to my husband’s (or friend, child, whatevs) journey with God.
And that is tough.
I have to occasionally shut my mouth.
Sometimes I make sacrifices that my stubborn will would rather not make. I have to sit in the back seat. Figuratively. And sometimes literally. I have to say thank you and yes sir to my husband (it’s a southern thing…but also a reminder of being a good and faithful godly servant). And I have to say it all with a humble heart. And my wants occasionally have to be set aside for the greater good of the family.
At first this was hard. And good grief I’m still navigating this crazy mess. But after a while I realized something. Submission (don’t we girls hate that word) takes two people. He wholeheartedly yields to me as well.
Quite often when I shut my mouth out of respect, he asked me not to. He wanted to know what I REALLY had to say (always a gamble). And when I would sacrifice something, all of a sudden he would be offering something to replace that sacrifice. And when I put on a little politeness, his already polite self seemed to exude appreciation and humility.
And when my wants were put aside, they were fulfilled all the more.
Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.” Philippians 2:6-8
And I began to understand the “and” part of this quote by June Carter. “I stayed in submission to my husband, and he allowed me to do anything I wanted to. I felt like I was lucky to have that kind of romance.” If I had read that ten years ago, I just wouldn’t have GOT it. But the “and” says it all.
Yielding to my husband and yielding to God isn’t a one way street. I yield out of respect which allows God and my husband to provide a safe place for me to fall, but also a gigantic load of freedom and peace and blessings.
And I realized that all the seemingly bad days that should have ended with fights and tears and sleeplessness were filled with grace and love and joy.
Our actions didn’t remove the pain or the hard times, they allowed God room to grow and move within them.
And as we made this a practice, our friendships with others deepened. Our experiences became more real. Our family began to grow and thrive instead of just survive.
All things became filled with joy because God was taking our hand and leading. And that’s hard for this girl. But I now look back on the “hard” years and realize I caused them to be that way because of my stubborn independence. I didn’t let God in the driver’s seat. And I have no idea why … Because it’s a heck of a view riding shotgun!