WARNING: This is about to get REAL… and a little sappy. (I’ve found a new freedom in blogging… not sure where it came from… but we need some REAL TALK people… so buckle up).
This is one of my FAVORITE wedding pics. No big deal… just singing Backstreet Boys to each other… “You are my… fire. My one… DESIRE.” Oh yeah!
I love being married. I really do. It’s great. It’s definitely not perfect… but’s it’s so good. Life with my best friend, my leader, my biggest fan. Yep. It’s good.
BUT I want to throw some things out there that no one told me before I got married. In our Bible studies with the youth/college, we taught about marriage – we believe it’s good to study it before you do it… like a test… a FOREVER test. Good to know what you are getting into before you plunge in! So… here’s my wisdom:
#1 – Getting married doesn’t eliminate your insecurities… it MAGNIFIES them.
Us girls… we have some issues. When we see a picture of ourselves or think about ourselves, most times negative words come to mind – FAT. yellow teeth. chunky legs. flabby belly. frizzy hair. weird face. glasses. not enough. TOO much. short. tall. gross. knobby knees. pimples. hairy face. strange shape. ________ (fill in the blank). Usually we are not reinforcing what God says about us “Let the King be enthralled by YOUR BEAUTY” Psalm 45:11.
So… I thought that when I got married all of those crazy thoughts would go away or at least get better because I had someone – someone to think I’m beautiful, to want me, to be with me, to tell me nice things. Before we got married, I did a 5-month boot camp workout – no cokes, no desserts, exercise EVERY day. I was intense… and fit. Still had major insecurities though… but I thought getting a ring on my finger would solve that… wrong. It magnified them. I compared myself to other girls even more… fearing that the same thoughts were going through Jacob’s mind – she’s prettier, skinnier, more fun, sexier… WHATEVER. Although he wasn’t thinking those things… I feared that I wasn’t enough.
I HAD to learn to STOP putting my identity in my looks and what I ASSUME others are thinking (even my husband)… it’s inconsistent and temporary.
STAKE YOUR IDENTITY AND WORTH IN JESUS!
#2 – Getting married doesn’t magically erase past sin or shame… it affects the PRESENT.
Anybody perfect??? NOPE!! We all have skeletons in the closet… some a little scarier than others, but we all have them. So… don’t judge… just learn.
I had some skeletons before marriage… skeletons that Jacob knew about. But they haunted me. I was terrified… marrying a youth pastor with my issues? Probably not a good idea. How would I talk to girls about staying pure throughout school? How could I? How did I have the right to? I carried my “junk” around like a ball and chain… I was ashamed. I don’t know why. I guess it was because I had not forgiven myself and thought I wasn’t worthy or “clean enough” to be doing what I was going to be doing. I was wrong.
I carried shame into our marriage… and put up HUGE walls between me and my new hubs. Walls that he could CLEARLY see. Thankfully… my husband loves me enough to talk with me about them. I spilled it all – the shame I had and the fear I had that he may one day leave… because it’s happened to others. Breaking down my walls… brick by brick… happened/is still happening because my husband loves me and sees me as beautiful… not as dirty and because my God is doing a MIGHTY work in me.
He has forgiven me. He calls me REDEEMED. LOVED. ACCEPTED. CLEAN. PURE. HOLY. BELOVED. BRIDE. WHOLE. ENOUGH. RESTORED.
Why would I believe anything less about myself?
#3 – Getting married doesn’t terminate all sexual temptation… the Enemy is sneaky.
Although this is not fun or churchy to talk about… sexual sin is destroying the Church and society! DESTROYING. Secret sins… sins that no one can see… sins that can be hidden… temptation that is lurking in every commercial, TV show, website, and billboard.
Lust. Pornography. Lies. Thoughts. Actions. All these things are KILLING marriages. We must MAKE war! Spouses have to be able to talk about things with each other. If you aren’t talking about these things to your husband/wife, the CLOSEST relationship you can have on this earth, then WHAT ARE YOU DOING? The Enemy doesn’t want to make you sad, or give you temporary pleasure, or mess up your marriage… HE WANTS TO DESTROY YOU. Stand your ground. Fight hard! It’s worth fighting for! Secret sins.. ESPECIALLY those that are sexual in nature are crippling and devastating.
We are MORE than conquerors! Romans 8:37
#4 – Getting married doesn’t satisfy all of your expectations/dreams… you gotta talk about them!
In my head… when I became Jacob’s wifey… I thought he expected me to be SUPERwoman. House spotless. clothes washed. yummy homemade food each night waiting for him when he got home. catering to his needs. bed made. underwear folded. always happy. the PERFECT wife. yada yada yada. I couldn’t do it. I felt squashed under all the expectations I THOUGHT he had of me.
Finally… I just had to tell him… I CAN’T DO IT!! I can’t live up to the perfect wife – the house will get dusty. I am not the best cook. I will do laundry once a week. I have limits…
He pretty much looked at me like “Where did you get that from? I never expected all of that from you? I married you… for you.” Oh… so I was suffocating myself for expectations I THOUGHT were placed on me! ASK. TALK. BE HONEST. Your spouse will never be your parent and you will never be theirs – good or bad. Your spouse is an individual and has lots to offer… learn what those gifts are!
Stop putting your fantasies or expectations that cannot be reached on your spouse. They will fail… they are human. You will fail them… we mess up. Marriage isn’t what Hollywood portrays… it’s better than the movies when it’s filled with honesty and HUMAN-ness… not impossible ideals.
#5 – Getting married doesn’t mean you can continue to live a life of independence and on your own schedule… you are a team.
I’m pretty independent. I’m an only child and have always created my own schedule and lived my own way. In college, I did my own thing, volunteered for everything, was never home, and always on the run. When we got married, I thought I could keep doing my thing… filling up every minute of every day with MY stuff. Yea… doesn’t work that way.
I learned really quick that decisions about agendas and volunteering need to be decided TOGETHER. It shouldn’t be telling the other what you are doing… it’s talking about it together… figuring where it is best to invest your time and when it’s best to be home. This was a hard lesson for this hard-headed independent gal to learn.
BUT… when things are decided together, when you support what the other is involved in… home is a happy and healthy place to be!
#6 – Getting married doesn’t require you to stop dating… nope… you gotta fall more in love.
I’ve never struggled with this one. I LOVE dates with my hubby. When he asks if he can take me on a lunch date, on a dinner date, on a lay-at-home-all-day date… I still get giddy. I love spending time with him.
IF you are not currently dating your spouse… do something about it! If you never spend quality time JUST Y’ALL… you need to change that. Your relationship with your spouse should come before any other commitment or any other relationship (including you children). The only exception is your commitment to the Lord (that does not mean if you are in the ministry your job comes before your spouse).
Date your spouse… until the day you die! Fall more in love with them each day. It’s true… I love Jacob far more today than I did on our wedding day. I didn’t think it was possible… but dating each other throughout our marriage has made the difference.
#7 – Getting married doesn’t mean you stop hanging out with your friends… you’ll go CRAZY!
I see many couples who just get in their married bubbles and stay there. Okay… I love Jacob but if I didn’t have my friends, I would go insane!!! There is something that only girl friends can do for us girls. We need each other. We need laughs, inside jokes, long nights of talking, sappy movies, yelling for no reason, pictures together, and time together. Boys need boy stuff – guns, hunting, fishing, video games, trucks, and… all that other stuff.
Don’t cut yourself off. It’s like a girl in high school who has a boy friend… and is obsessed with him. One day they break up and she looks around and realizes that she’s distanced all her friends. Although you WILL NOT break up because… heads up… MARRIAGE IS FOREVER… don’t distance your friends… continue to love them well.
#8 – Getting married doesn’t end the fun… it makes it more meaningful!
When Jacob and I go out to eat at restaurants, we always try to guess who is married and who is dating. The couples dating are smiling and chatting and talking lots. The married ones are usually the ones sitting… in silence… glancing up every few minutes to make a comment… and then focusing on their food again… not smiling much. I DO NOT WANT THAT TO BE US! I love to laugh with Jacob… I actually think he’s funny… and boy, does that bring him joy! Fun in a marriage is more meaningful than laughter anywhere else… my opinion. It builds trust, love, and hope.
One of my favorite things this year was going to Charleston this summer with the hubs. It was a crazy trip… filled with lots of hiccups and detours, but I LOVED every second of it because it was with Jacob!
Don’t ever stop having fun together! Do things that only married people should do – wink. wink. nudge. nudge. Ha!
#9 – Getting married shouldn’t burden you with lists and responsibilities… it should encourage respect and a look from a different perspective.
Honey-Do lists. Wish lists. To-Do’s… be careful. I know my man… he does NOT like to be told what to do. Actually when I “tell” him what to do it makes him want to do it LESS. It’s not because he doesn’t love me… it’s just because he feels like I’m bossing him around. We have to be careful how we treat each other.
Yes, BOTH spouses need to help out. BOTH spouses have to do their part. BOTH spouses have to support each other and the family. BUT how we approach those responsibilities need to be thought out. Don’t boss each other. Don’t hold it over the other. If you are a busy body like me, don’t expect your husband to never want to sit down or breath or slow down. Some people like to sit and do nothing (still don’t understand this concept). Learn how to approach each other!
****** I’ve learned a trick! It’s my favorite thing EVER!!! If you want your hubby to do something or change his mind about something but you don’t want to bring it up because it might cause an argument… but you REALLY feel strongly about it – PRAY! Tell God! It’s awesome… and hilarious… when you hubby “comes up with the idea” on his own!! Haha! Really it’s because you asked and believed! 🙂
Disclosure: Careful what you ask for!
#10 – Getting married doesn’t stop you from dreaming… now you dream together.
NEVER.STOP.DREAMING. Before, my dreams were me-centered. What I would do. Where I would go. What my dream job was. Who I wanted to become. I’m learning that when you dream together they are even better, more powerful, and more fun! I would have never dreamed I would be working as a missionary with an adopted teenager. That’s so much better!