Long before I started writing this blog and for more than a decade, I mentored women – and a few good men; together we grew in Christ.
Sometime back I was telling my husband how I was struggling to create products for sale because I’ve given my heart and passion away “for free” for so long it felt odd to start “charging” for it.
I am over that (if all goes well, my book comes out Feb 2015!) but I believe many wives experience the same transition-confusion after the wedding.
It’s not easy to switch from single-mode to married-mode.
I shared this on my Facebook page recently
“Do you need to remind yourself that you are no longer doing life alone? Sometimes I do. There days when I get busy and run ahead – thinking, planning, doing, deciding, wanting, controlling – and in my busyness, I forget that I am joined to another.
That there’s something called consultation. And consulting (with my husband) has nothing to do with my value or level of intelligence. It’s about honor, an attitude of my heart that esteems my one-flesh union.
Success is great but it’s empty if you are alone. It is much better to reach our destination slower but together. Than run ahead and get everything and my marriage suffers.”
Cleaving is not a walk in the park
Marriage would not be challenging if leaving and cleaving were easy.
There wouldn’t be much to submission, to honor and respect, to him loving you as Christ commands, if it were easy.
People wouldn’t be getting divorced and websites like Happy Wives Club wouldn’t grate on some nerves.
While becoming one flesh is possible, (the Bible says it is and I believe it), it requires us to switch on another part of our brain and heart.
Today I want to share a few thoughts on this and how to pursue intimacy with your husband.
To flourish as a couple, you must understand that
1. Becoming one-flesh will not be automatic
Just because you got a ring and said “I do” does not mean you fully understand the ways of a wife.
Or he knows everything it takes to be a good husband.
Both roles are learned. On the job.
Look at it this way; sometimes it takes the same amount of time to unlearn a habit that it took to learn it.
It took you a couple of years to perfect singular living.
Chances are, it might take you some time to unlearn those ways and replace them with marriage-friendly ones.
A ring and a vow does not change everything about you and everything about him.
Practice, faith, applying yourselves will. (Click to tweet)
Judith Viorst says
“One advantage of marriage, it seems to me, is that when you fall out of love with each other, it keeps you together until you fall in love again. “
Here’s what I am saying.
Don’t be all depressed and frustrated when you exhibit anti-one-flesh tendencies, like not wanting to make love because he was unkind, or wanting to tattle on him or “dying” to go back to single life.
Just because you feel certain things does not mean you are that way.
Feelings are fickle; its what we do that counts.
Certainly, work on your attitudes and drag yourself to Jesus; have Him sort out your feelings and emotions.
But don’t allow your feelings and flesh to dissuade you from what God started. (Mark 10;9)
When you feel like walking in the opposite direction of unity, keep walking into the arms of Jesus; allow Him in to the confused dark places of your heart and marriage.
Don’t assume your trials mean you were never meant to be together.
2. Hard times can help you cleave in deeper and better ways
That is, if you allow them.
In his devotional “The Love & Respect Experience; A Husband-Friendly Devotional that Wives Truly Love” (affiliate link) Dr Emerson Eggerichs says
“In marriage it is never about not falling. It is always about getting back up”
(my husband and I are working through this book by the way, it’s beautiful!)
I always smile when people tell me I have the most perfect, the most effortless marriage.
And I thank God for His grace that makes it look effortless but truth is there’s nothing like an effortless marriage.
Most couples, yours truly included, are like the sweet pair of ducks floating down the river; looking all suave, cute and effortless.. but underneath the surface their little feet are paddling like crazy!
A good marriage is hard work… especially at the beginning.
People with beautiful relationships have found that beauty in difficult times.
Now, you don’t need hardships to create a great marriage. But often times, pain and difficulties have way of searing lessons into our hearts like nothing else can.
This is what I am driving at; don’t run away from difficulties and pain.
Don’t become faint of heart because you got a test.
Just square your shoulders, call upon the Holy Spirit, your Third strand… and take that test like the champion you are.
3. Lack of an exit helps you work on your marriage… like there’s no plan B
When you know there’s a plan B, you work like there’s a plan B.
But when you know there’s no exit, you work like there’s no exit.
Feel like sleeping on the couch? You take yourself by the ear and put yourself in that bed. You might sleep on the edge, but at least you are in the same bed. You are feeding the connecter, not the separator.
So often we find ourselves marching out of marriage or making silly choices because we gave ourselves far more wriggle room right at the start.
We allowed ourselves to think that grass can be greener on the other side. That friends will understand us more than our spouse. That “why, my mum didn’t put up with such and such, why should I?”
Yet to have a marriage that lasts a lifetime, we must treat it like we want it to last a lifetime. (Click to tweet)
We must nurture and protect and cover it like it’s our highest treasure. Because if it is, your mind and actions need to get in on it.
Bottom line; make up you mind that there’s no plan B.
And you’ll be working on your marriage like there’s no other plan.
4. When you think God is absent, it doesn’t mean He is.
Marriage is one of those places where when its hard, it can be incredibly hard and when its good, its gloriously good.
In the early years of marriage and whenever there’s conflict, one of the things that fly out of the window is the concept of God’s presence in the middle of our marital mess.
(I really struggled with that and I talk about it here.)
“If God is in this marriage, why is it so hard?”
“If we are meant to be happy, how come we are not?”
“If God is for us, why don’t we feel Him?”
Well, marriage is hard because its made up of two imperfect people.
It’s impossible to have a perfect relationship when you are married to an imperfect person.
But even in our messes, we can still experience His incredible presence and joy and peace. Isaiah 26:3, Psalm 23;4
Ecclesiastes 4:12 talks about “A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” A great marriage is not made up of two people, but three. The third person is God and He’s the one that holds everything together.
He will make your marriage work, even when the odds are stacked against you.
He will still your heart and give you unfathomable peace right in the middle of your storm. He will comfort you and help you.
But for Him to work in you and your marriage, you must depend on Him, not on your feelings or circumstances.
For anyone going through a shaky season, no matter what happen, don’t lose your hope in God.
Everything might have fallen around you, but don’t allow your faith in God to crumble. Because everything in this world will pass away, but His presence and love will not.
Question: What can you add? What is the one (or two or three) things that have helped your marriage? Lets talk in comments.
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