Happy Friday, y'all.
My friend Steph is going to share some amazing wisdom with you all about marriage and the importance of pursuing Christ with every breath we take. If I need biblical advice on anything, especially relationship/marriage related, Steph is the first person I go to. She and her husband recently moved from Idaho all the way to North Carolina 3 days after their second daughter was born to be a part of Elevation Church. Even though they're across the country, they are still some of our closest and dearest friends!
I hope you enjoy Steph and take her words to heart today!
When I was younger I remember reading a quote that said "marriage is finding the one person you want to annoy the rest of your life". And while that is funny, and very true at times, marriage is so much more than just getting on each others nerves. It is a union created by God, and for God, for his glory and pleasure. Much like our marriage to Christ serving a purpose for Gods eternal kingdom, our earthly marriages are meant to serve a purpose in His kingdom as well. Marriage just means that God wants the two of you to do it together. And because marriage serves such a significant and high calling, the enemy wants to get in the way of that.
After being with Jordan for 8 years, and married to him 4 of those (and now parents together), there are so many things that I could talk about. Every day of marriage is a journey and with each passing year, we learn, grow and mature...together.
I want to briefly share about something that I have had to confront and deal with on almost a daily basis in my marriage, and because of sin and the fall of man, it is something so many married women struggle with as well. As time goes on and this world becomes more broken and in desperate need of Jesus, we are often damaged or wounded before we get married. A high percentage of men and women these days experience some form of heartbreak and/or disappointment before they say "I do". Past hurts are real and although some of us attempt to bury them, they try and steal aspects of our future and emotional health, and often times are successful. Thankfully there is freedom in Jesus Christ, with all things considered. A lot of us have walked through our parents divorce from an affair, dated a trash boyfriend who used us for our bodies, faced physical, sexual and/or emotional abuse etc etc. We all have our own story. These things break us, and teach us to put our walls up. When we face trials that are detrimental to our well-being, we naturally create defense mechanisms in order to protect ourselves from future hurt. We want to be sure that people can't and won't hurt us again, even though Christ says we will suffer here on earth. When we enter marriage, we are giving our lives over to another person that has the ability to ruin our lives, to put it bluntly. But LOVE is when we willingly give them that opportunity, but trust and believe that they won't. These walls we tend to put up are hurting us, rather than protecting us, and they create negative behaviors and habits in us. They increasingly trap us to only trust ourselves, and we become convinced that we are the only ones that know how to look out for ourselves. Giving in to this behavior in marriage, creates a lack of intimacy, sexually and emotionally. The reason it keeps us from the deepest intimacy, is because we are not willingly giving all of ourselves over to our husbands. We are keeping from him the parts we want to "protect". As time goes on, we do not even notice that we are walled in, we become so accustomed to it and it habitually becomes the way we manage our relationships. The enemy would love to keep us from this realization, and as long as he can keep us from seeing and acknowledging our unhealthy patterns, the more he is able to get us stuck in keeping our husbands (and also God) at a distance.
It may or may not be our fault in regards to some of the adversity that we have faced prior to marriage. Whether self-inflicted due to our bad decisions or otherwise, we have to take the responsibility upon ourselves to heal from these hurts, for the sake of our marriage and overall emotional, mental and spiritual health. When we give our lives over to Jesus, we are saying "God, we trust YOU with our lives, and we will not try to control our circumstances in order to protect ourselves. You have the control". To call ourselves Christians, but spend time trying to keep ourselves locked away from getting hurt, is just foolish, because the bible promises we will face pain. We either trust in a loving, faithful Savior that protects us and heals us, or we don't. When we continuously look to ourselves for protection, we are idolizing ourselves. It is not possible to fully put our trust in the Lord, but still function as self protectors. The God who lives inside of us, is greater than our past and calls us to rise up, and become new in Him.
We cannot fully live out Gods purpose for our marriage, unless we allow Him to renew us and set us free from the bondage of the past. It was never Gods desire for us to face abuse and pain, but that is why Jesus came; to heal, redeem and deliver. Our relationship with Jesus, and with our husbands, are so much more fulfilling when we let our walls down and love freely, with no baggage lingering in our hearts, constraining our ability to love and be loved.
We are most beautiful to our husbands when we are whole, and when we trust him and are confident in him, and in Christ. Men naturally are fighters and heroic, let them know that they won you, and that they won ALL of you. In marriage, the husband is the head, but he cannot lead to his fullest when we don't trust him. Our husbands become the protectors of us, on behalf of God. Before we get married, let's let Jesus be our first love, and lets let his healing, love and grace wash over our past so that we can fully embrace the beauty of a heart surrendered and a marriage unhindered. When we do that, we can accomplish ALL that he has called us to in our marriages.
(The song above has been a huge encouragement in my own personal healing process. Lots of tears shed while listening to it)