Ok, I have a confession… growing up, I had a warped perception of relationships, love, and marriage due to my infinite love for a fairy tale ending. Just like most other little girls, I grew up mostly watching Princess movies like Snow White and Sleeping Beauty. I literally thought that love in real life happened the exact same way that it happens in movies. I mean, the horse and carriage rides through the park. Getting married in a castle. And the fireworks during a long passionate kiss. EEERRRRKKKKK… not so much. But seriously, can anyone relate or am I the only woman naive enough to think that this could actually be possible?
I am so blessed to have had a college boyfriend tell me flat out that life didn’t work that way. Although his words cut like a knife, they were exactly what I needed to hear at that moment, and they allowed me to grow tremendously - preventing me from holding my now husband to expectations that no man would ever meet, as those expectations merely will never be a reality and that’s OK.
I say all this to say that often times, while in love, we tend to focus on the wrong things. One of those things being our false hope and unattainable expectations of the one with whom we have fallen in love with. But today, I challenge you to let go of all of those expectations you have set for love, marriage and your significant other and let God do the work for you. By no means am I saying you shouldn’t be treated like the queen that you are, but there are levels to this. What I am saying is, allow your significant other to be himself, not your fantasy guy. And if the two of you have decided to marry, please ensure that your ultimate goal in marriage is to follow the law God laid before is His Word. In doing so, are sure to have a blessed and successful marriage.
Put God First
One of the first things my husband and I learned in pre-marital counseling was that marriage is a ministry. During the ministry, husband and wife should constantly encourage each other to grow closer to God and to be the person He created us to be.
We also quickly learned an amazing analogy that I will never forget. We were told that we needed to envision an umbrella when we think of our marriage with God at the very top covering and protecting us - similar to the way in which an umbrella covers and protects us from the rain. Next, the husband is right beneath God - yet not elevated too high above his wife. Finally, the children are positioned beneath the parents. In other words, God comes first in marriage - above anyone else. Our spouse comes second, and our children come after our spouse. Everyone else comes next.
This analogy reminds us that we are to follow God’s law and direction for our marriage, putting no one above Him and that the husband has a grand duty to lead his wife and family in a manner in which is pleasing to God. People often misconstrue this analogy/belief to have others thinking that men are more superior than women, which is not the case of all, and certainly will not work if the husband is not in communion with God. Thus, in marriage ceremonies, when the pastor says that the wife should obey her husband it should be understood that the husband vows to follow God and God’s word. Can I get an Amen, church? * In my pastor voice. *
When I learned that premise, it gave me a whole new perspective on marriage. And has most definitely given me a new perspective on the roles women and men plan in a marriage. By no means does obeying your husband mean he is bossing you around or that you are doing whatever he says just because. Your husband’s goal should be to lead you in a direction that is pleasing to God and that is in your best interest.
Leave and Cleave
“For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.” (Genesis 2:24.)
The Bible says that when a man and a woman marry they should leave their mother and father and cleave to their spouse. The two of them are now one flesh meaning they act as one unit. Everything they do is in the best interest of the other. Therefore, it is imperative that they think of each other as well as how their actions will benefit the other before they make certain decisions.
Leaving one’s parents and cleaving to one’s spouse can be difficult for both the parents and the married children, as the parents will have to adjust to their now married children putting their own households first. As a reminder, per the Word of God, the married couple is supposed to put their spouse first (after God) and their children next, placing everyone else outside of their immediate family/their household. Not saying that the married couple should cut their family and friends off, but saying that their family and friend should understand that their relationships with the married couple will change. Prioritization becomes key as the married couple ensures that they take care of their own home before they try to take care of anyone else’s home.
Leaving and cleaving can also be extremely difficult for one who grew up in a household where they did not have a good example of marriage - leaving them unsure of how to successfully operate in a marriage. Or it can be even difficult if they were raised to believe that there is no such thing as a successful marriage and that love doesn’t exist. My advice to anyone in this situation is to lean on God and to follow what the Word says. You cannot please everyone nor should you care. As long as God and your husband are pleased with you, that is all that matters. Everything else will fall into place.
Leaving and cleaving is definitely challenging and something that takes some time to get used to, but it does get better with communication and understanding from all parties. Everyone just needs to understand and respect their place.
Prayer and Your Marriage
As a married couple, it is imperative that you incorporate prayer into your marriage. More importantly, it is imperative that you and your spouse pray together. How much more powerful is it when a married couple can bring their cares to the Lord together. Praying together (and over each other) will help strengthen one when the other is week. In fact, the two of you are supposed to share your burdens so that the burden will not be as heavy as it would be if you were going through the problem alone.
Marriage is such a blessing for so many reasons. Yes, it is just a piece of paper to some, but for those who realize marriage’s purpose in God’s eyes, it is so much more. And ensuring that God is the focal point of your marriage will ensure that your marriage can stand the test of the most difficult times. Without God, infidelity may try to creep in, or wive’s may try to be the head of the household which will create division and strife, or husbands and wives may not work as hard as they should to make their marriage work, and may break the vows they made in front of their loved ones and God.
Don’t Go to Bed Angry
"In your anger do not sin": Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry,” ( Ephesians 4:26.)
I must admit this is one of the most difficult things to do. Especially for someone like myself who doesn’t get over things very easily. (God is still working on me, Chile.) If you really think about it, this is some extremely wise advice that the Bible provides. You never know if one of you may not wake up in the morning or if the anger will roll over into the next day, and the next day and so on, driving the two of you further away from each other. Not a good look. Tread lightly, but you should certainly try to work things out before you go to bed. But gauge it based on your husband’s response. Forcing someone to talk things out when they are not ready to hash it out could also backfire and cause further tension and strife.