earlier this month, we celebrated our two year anniversary. time just flies.
disclaimer before i begin: this post is not meant to be like one of those blog posts being spread around facebook which tells you the secret behind a happy marriage. or the top ten things to look for in a spouse. or anything like that, which someone will inevitably write a rebuttal to.
those rebuttals are written because every relationship is different, and everyone wants their own word in the conversation. every marriage is different. every story is different. there is no cookie-cutter way to find marital bliss. please don’t take this post that way, but as a reflection on what i have learned after two years into this adventure.
the most important aspect of our marriage, after reflecting on our past year, is a strong relationship with Jesus on the part of both of us.
john and stasi eldredge write the following in love and war:
the greatest gift you can give to your marriage is for you to develop a real relationship with Jesus Christ… We are not simply talking about believing in God. There are many good people who believe in God, but for all practical purposes they still look to their spouse to make them happy… We’re talking about a relationship where you are finding in God the life and love your soul so desperately needs.
and after the past year of marriage, this is more true than ever.
the first year of marriage was easy, as far as my relationship with eric went. we endured our share of hardships and learning curves, but all in all, the difficulties came from outside our oneness.
the second year of marriage has had its share of career changes and financial woes and stress from sharing a car for half of it. life isn’t going to just stop. but more than that, it seemed to add a new level of weight to my relationship with eric. the things we were going through outside our oneness crept inside our oneness. one example is making a life-decision which affected both of us – joining staff with cru – which not only invited in all sorts of doubts and stress in simply trying to be on the same page with this decision, but also seemed to open up a whole new field of spiritual warfare.
the enemy doesn’t quit. if you are a believer, he is always finding new ways to get his foot in the door in your life, and when you get married, it affects both of you. when eric is wrestling, i am wrestling and fighting alongside him – whether i choose it or not. that’s the thing about getting married and becoming one.
and i am not here to brag. we don’t have this thing down all the time. but i can see growth in our relationship, in how much more quickly we realize that we need to pray, and that things aren’t right with God. we aren’t always consistent with our individual quiet times. but when we are, it makes a difference.
and it is most definitely a we thing. my walk with God is not – and cannot – be enough to sustain eric in the long run. when he is struggling, i can be a strength for him, but it will not be the solution (and visa versa, because, i’ll be honest, i feel that i am weak more often than he).
i don’t know how we would make it through marriage if we weren’t individually walking with God and growing in that walk. i don’t know how anyone would make it.
it is that relationship, with Christ, from which everything else is born and cultivated.
servant attitude. intimacy. selflessness. truth. healthy community. love. friendship. patience.
and praise the Lord, we each had cultivated our personal walks with Him before we got married. before we met, even. not that it can’t be done after you get married, and not that God isn’t glorified in that, but i think the path might be harder.
so, dear single friends, don’t settle. don’t allow your emotions to justify that a boy will figure out a relationship with God later and that building the foundation of the relationship between the two of you is what matters right now. and don’t tell yourself that you will be satisfied in God after He give you a boy, because that won’t happen (at least it hasn’t for me). don’t put off growing in your walk with the Lord because it doesn’t affect anyone else right now. it will.
and dear married friends, give the best gift to your spouse that you can – make time for Christ above all else. it is more important than laundry and a clean house, more important than a well-stocked bank account, more important than a successful career, more important than passion and romance. He will give you what you need to love your spouse “for better or for worse.” when you walk with Christ, it will affect the success of your marriage in a greater way than anything material can, and it will produce a Christ-centered marriage.
which is not going to be perfect, by the way, but it is worth it. so worth it.
**thanks to our sweet friend hilary cranford for our two year anniversary/christmas card photos!