My grandmother called me during my first year of marriage and frankly told me, “The first 5 years of your marriage will build the foundation for how you and your husband operate for the rest of your marriage.”
4. Run to God 1st...then that book, blog, friend, mentor, sermon.
Run to God 1st...
Then that book, blog, friend, mentor, sermon.
This is probably the hardest for me and the most undervalued lesson learned. Whenever there is a disagreement, I’m so prone to run to “fixing it”—subtly telling myself that I am more capable than God and any wisdom/ guidance that He can grant. My best advice is to first run to God in prayer and WAIT for Him to lead/guide you on what your next step should be.
5. What God has brought together, let no man separate
"For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh? 6 So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” - Matthew 19:5-6
This is by far the most restful and grace-filled lesson that I've learned/am learning. During our first year of marriage, I admit that I was plagued by the fear of divorce. I continuously looked at my flaws and suspected that something bad would happen and that we wouldn't make it. I went to the Lord in fear, as I meditated on my vows, and came to the realization that I simply couldn't do it.
Due to this underlying fear, certain thoughts would produce more fear. The moment I sensed trouble, fear produced more fear. And before I knew it, the Lord was no longer in my thoughts. I kept thinking of hypothetical situations, entertained "what ifs," and blew up minor disagreements into major ones. But what I've come to understand now, is that Evan and I didn't come together on our own accord. The Lord brought us together. Therefore, when I see the enemy attempt to pull us apart—albeit through people, our own flesh, or circumstance—this verse grants me immense comfort. Why?
I have the permission to go the Lord holding onto His promise rather than holding onto panic/fear. I can boldly state, "Abbah, You see this ___is pulling us apart. Now, You brought us together. I trust and wait on You to move, to guide, or to remove "xyz"so that we may be on1 accord. I know that You desire this more than I do! I trust in You to help us through because Your Namesake is on the line."
Marriage is bigger than any 2 people. It is a narrative that the Lord writes, directs, and constructs. Therefore, when I sense trouble now, I go to the Director. It's not my problem. I simply lay it at His feet and watch Him move for His own Namesake. For His own Glory.
I must warn you though. When you do this, don't be surprised if you find that the stumbling block within this beautiful narrative is not an outside force...but is actually you. Haha, this has happened to me on more than 1 occasion!
Let No Man Separate
3. Sex is not only a physical act but a spiritual necessity
- Genesis 2:24
“Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”
“A lovely deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight; be intoxicated always in her love.”
Growing up, the introduction of sex was introduced to me, unfortunately. from episodes of watching the soap opera “Days of Our Lives.” I thought sex was a physical act intended to grant the most physically pleasurable experience. Unconsciously, this notion later prevailed my mind in moments of lustful thoughts in my season of singleness. I knew that sex was a powerful force that could be used to destroy if entered into prior to marriage. But I hardly considered the powerful benefits, beyond physical pleasure, offered for both spouses within the context of marriage.
Prior to marriage, an older and seasoned Christian woman shared with me that Satan would do everything in his power to get me and Evan in the bed prior to marriage, and that Satan would do everything in his power to get us out of the bed within marriage. When I first heard this, I was kind of blown away. I always thought...
"If I can just make it to marriage...all will be well."
I never realized that the same spiritual forces pulling me into fornication within singleness, could also have the potential to pull me away from my future husband even within marriage.
If sex was so dangerous outside the context of marriage, then it made sense for it be so powerful within the context marriage.
Satan knows this. Why didn’t I? Which leads me to my next statement.
Sex is not merely a physical act. It is a spiritual necessity within the confines of marriage.
"Sex is not only a physical act, but it's a spiritual necessity."
It brings the Lord pleasure. It is an act of worship. It is an act that is a reflection in the physical realm of what already exists in the spiritual realm--beautiful oneness. It is a type of mysterious glue that binds one to the other in ways that my mind is too finite to conceive. I’m not a theologian, and I’m surely not God, but from personal experience, I believe it has helped me respect my husband more. It has helped my heart soften when it wants to grow hard and bitter. It has helped me practice the act of denying myself and joyfully giving of myself when I wish to be selfish. And honestly, I’ve seen it take the edge off of the already difficulties found within marriage lol. It is that and so much more.
Sex is a powerful necessity needed for both husband and wife. To deduce it to being “merely” a physical experience for the self is to gravely and disrespectfully deduce the divine gift that God has created. It is physical AND it is that and so much more. Be mindful next time you find yourself in a pattern of telling your spouse that “you just don’t feel like it.” Be mindful of who/what is pushing you away from your marriage bed. Satan knows the power of sexual intimacy between husband and wife. Do you?
In the same vein, be mindful of why you wish to engage in sexual intimacy with your spouse. Do you view sex as only a physical experience to grant the self pleasure? When I think of the times in which I’ve experienced the most intimacy with Christ, it was when I gave of myself fully to Him. In return, I inevitably felt the indescribable hedonistic pleasures of simply being in His presence. The same goes in sexual intimacy. When husband and wife both enter into the marriage bed with a selfish mindset of how to please the self, one’s actions subtly reveals one's belief about sex—merely a physical act for the self. But in actuality, it is a spiritual necessity that helps one to deny oneself in giving the other pleasure, and in effect produces the most pleasurable fruit as one draws closer to Christ.
2. Male and Female differences are meant to be celebrated and not denigrated
Growing up in a house with 5 women, conversations easily flowed from dinner, to the game room, and into the night. My sisters and I fought a lot, but we also grew accustomed to endless chatter, free flowing hugs and kisses, and conversations about clothing, celebrity gossip, and controversial political topics. When I married my husband, I took these acts of intimacy and connection with my sisters and tried to apply them to him. I was in a for a rude awakening. My husband, a man, was so different. We dated for 6 years, and so I don’t mean to insinuate this newfound “difference” as synonymous to incompatible. No, I moreso mean “different” as in “perplexing.” He appeared as a puzzle, and I a mere observer who simply tried to make sense of things. He sparked some of the following questions:
Why did he need to have time to himself after a long day at work, when my type of "unwinding" involved talking to him endlessly about my day from the moment I walked in the door? Why did his eyes light up on when seeing a long, drawn-out action scene on a movie, when I was literally covering my eyes counting down until its ending? Why did he just wipe his hand on his side pants leg when I just gave him a napkin? But moreso, why did I notice something so small like that...and cringe?
Every male and female is different. But it’s funny when such over-generalizations show up in marriage. Instead of denigrating and trying to control/find answers to these questions, it’s important to celebrate such differences and thank God that He is so creative in making human beings so immeasurably different and yet so mysteriously compatible. I now love going to an action movie and seeing that moment when my husband is looking so intently into the screen. I love that when I notice crumbs in places that irk me, he doesn’t seem to care. I love giving my husband his man time and seeing him return refreshed. I don’t know the answers to such questions. But I’ve come to love the differences... because that’s what makes my husband my husband.
I sat the pot down and looked at the clock. 7:20 AM
Ok, 10 minutes to make my smoothie, pack my bag, and fix my salad. Perfect. At least, I have more time than I did yesterday to get to work.
Though still in focus mode whilst several tabs appeared open in my headspace, Evan’s next statement quickly succeeded in interrupting the flow of my thoughts.