June–the season of weddings.
[I actually started this blog post quite some time ago after reading 2 Corinthians, Chapter 2. When the calendar flipped to June, I decided it would be the perfect time to post it].
I was a January bride, and yes, I was a very traditional bride with a veil. I had “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue”. Despite the temperature of that cold January day, it was a dream come true. I got to marry the man of my dreams and when I walked down that aisle to take his hand, I truly believed that it would be, “’til death do us part.”
And I still believe it.
Here’s the thing: Once that veil comes off and the honeymoon ends, reality sets in. What we saw through the veil of young love was only a glimpse of an uncertain future. We could never have conceived what God would have planned for our future together.
But that didn’t matter, as long as we faced it together.
Every day became a new adventure as God took two imperfect people and opened their eyes to what marriage is really all about.
Of course there is love, but it is only in committing to love regardless that we are able to grow in our love for each other. That basic commitment to stay married for the long haul means that you work at it. When you make the commitment of being married for a lifetime and when the difficult days come (trust me, they will), you do what it takes to get through them. You communicate. You forgive. You adapt. You learn. You do whatever it takes to make your marriage the very best it can be.
I am not naive. I know that the collision of two worlds can cause a lot of sparks. We can see those sparks as a fire that is hard to extinguish or we can see them more like fireworks that can be dangerous and beautiful at the same time. Dangerous if we don’t treat them with respect or if we throw fuel on the fire until it’s out of control, but beautiful if we learn to appreciate its power.
Very often the things that cause those sparks (differences in personality or perspective) are the very things that attracted us to our mate in the first place. Appreciating our God-given differences will help us to see through the veil of the past that blurs our vision. It might just be healthy to admit not only that our way isn’t necessarily the right way, but that one of the very reasons God put us together–to gain a new perspective.
For example, my husband grew up in a male dominant household. Three brothers, no sisters. They lived and breathed sports. Everything was a competition. From the last piece of pie to the first one out the door, their life was winning and losing and stats and standings.
Husbands: You are not in competition with your wife. You’re on the same team. You both win or you both lose. When you have a disagreement, you will either be at odds with each other until one gives in, or you will work together as a team to make sure you are in a win-win situation.
I, on the other hand, grew up with two brothers and a sister. Of course I would think that I have a better perspective. He just doesn’t understand girls: I win.
Wives: If you find yourself in a win-lose situation, thinking that you won the argument and your husband lost, you both lose. Making him feel like a loser doesn’t bode well for the team. (And it goes both ways, men.) Working together to accomplish the win means that you engage your mind and your emotions to come to a conclusion that respects both parties.
Even if the other party has messed up.
–> Poking them in the eye doesn’t help them see the situation more clearly!
I love that my husband treats me like a queen (most of the time!). His chivalry demands that he takes my hand, opens doors, and pays my way. His protection and provision of me come naturally to him. When his words and his actions match that, I feel treasured, like royalty, and I want nothing more than to treat him like a king. Early in our marriage he spoke to me about modesty. From the man’s perspective. Even though I didn’t see it or even understand it (remember, I think differently than a man…), I had to trust that his desire to protect me from the eyes of another man were not just a matter of respecting his wishes–he was actually protecting me.
The God-given role of my husband is not a threat to my identity as a woman–quite the opposite. I don’t just embrace it–I treasure it. It frees me to be the woman that God created me to be.
Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper as his complement.” Genesis 2:18
I don’t compete with him–I complete him.
I cannot possibly be everything my husband needs–only God can fill that role. I can allow my vision to be blurred by the world, by my past or by my own expectations, or I can remove those veils and look to be the woman God created me to be. Looking to Him, my perspective changes. Far beyond heritage or family tradition, true wisdom in a marriage comes when we seek God’s perspective. His counsel. From His Word.
And in prayer. Time in God’s presence is necessary if we want to remove those old veils.
“…a veil covers their hearts.
But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” 2 Corinthians 3:15-18
There is absolutely no such thing as a perfect marriage, because we are all imperfect people. But we do serve a perfect God. Together. And together we can be one in love, in purpose and in this pursuit of a happy marriage.
Happy wedding season!