“One pearl to share from a lifetime of marriage wisdom?”, she asked.
As I wondered what I should say, I tried to think of one pointer I wish I could go back 29 years and give myself as youthful bride. I eventually decided on one I wish every new bride (and groom) could be challenged with before they marry. It is only three little words! Shouldn’t be that hard, right? 😊
On April 23rd, my husband and I celebrated our 29th anniversary. Even after this many years, it still amazes me that we have been married this long. I know there were folks that lost bets on us! We were so young and had no idea what we were in for, so they probably had reason to bet against us. (but we showed them!)
I think back through the years and replay the unexpected and hard things that came on us very quickly and it is a miracle we are still standing, much less still married, and liking it.
As I was thinking of what advice I would share with my 18-year-old self, there was so much she needed to know, but I decided on this 3-word sentence to share.
A tiny little sentence, but so encompassing. I wonder what she would say when I tell her I am still trying to learn all of it myself.? So here is my one pointer on what she must know, accept, and conquer to not only survive marriage, but to like marriage:
SELFISHNESS MUST DIE. Life after marriage is not a life all about YOU anymore.
“Don’t be selfish and your marriage will last” just seems too easy. Well, I hate to be Debby Downer, but it is not easy. At all. Hearing and applying truth in our life is just plain hard! It goes completely opposite to what our human nature is inclined to do.
So much is packed into those 3 little words.
YOU ARE NO LONGER #1- After the I Do, you are no longer #1.
You are now #.5 😊
The sooner you accept this and determine to live this truth in your life, the sooner your perspective will begin to change.
’Therefore, a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So, they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”- Matthew 19:6
OWN YOUR PART- We all need constant reminders that marriage is a union of 2 imperfect people. Yes, even you and I aren’t perfect. Even if we are only 10% of the problem, we are still part of the problem, right?? I know, I know. Sorry.
GIVE MORE GRACE THAN YOU SHOULD-
" as it has been given unto you" is how Jesus said it, I think.
Remember, marriage is two (imperfect) people now learning to do life as one. It is never going to be easy to agree on everything. Just not going to happen. This is where grace and mercy come in. And don't forget forgiveness. It is needed almost daily. We expect all of it, but rarely think another deserves it as quickly. When the other side is not giving at all, we are still expected to give more. I know, another ouch. It doesn’t seem fair, but this is when it comes down to us and our relationship with Jesus over our spouse! We forgive & give grace because Jesus asks us to love & forgive just as He did for us. That’s a bunch!
31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, fighting and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.-Ephesians 4:31-32
SELFISHNESS MUST DIE.
So much work and sacrifice packed into those few words! We can feel almost defeated before we even begin.
There is hope! I have the secret weapon for killing selfishness. Jesus is His name.
See, we are born naturally selfish. In our own self, we will never choose to give when someone only takes. We will never choose to forgive when we want revenge. We will always look out for our best if the choice is left to us and what we want. That is nature of the human. We can fake it for a time, but we cannot hold out on our own forever.
When we allow Jesus to be lead of our life, we are given the Holy Spirit nature. The Holy Spirit lives in our soul and battles the human nature with us and for us. It is not going to automatically make us the perfect selfless person, BUT it gives us the capability to choose to do what Jesus would have us do instead of an automatic reaction. We should ask for the help & choose to do what is revealed to be right. Not easy, but always best.
If I could go back and tell my young bride self the most important piece of the puzzle, it would be to get to know Jesus extremely well. Then begin immediately asking Him to help you kill selfishness. I would tell my younger self to expect disagreements, hurts and unmet expectations and to work hard to kill selfishness even then.
I would tell the youthful girl, so full of smiles, that a day will come when it will be hard & appears you are losing a fight, but to never lose the visual that YOU ARE ONE TOGETHER. During these times, you are fighting against yourself.
I would remind her to always OWN YOUR PART in every problem. Even if it is mainly his fault, you focus on fixing you part before moving on to him. Selfishness takes a huge blow when we can do this.
Again, I would mention that name JESUS to her. Jesus will be the one she calls in for backup to GIVE MORE GRACE. We always expect to receive grace, but find it unreasonable to extend it to others when hurt feelings, unmet expectations and betrayals come and kick us in the heart. Jesus will have to be the one to fight our human nature on this one. We just can’t.
Just remember sweet little girl, marriage will be fun, rewarding, exhausting, and hard work, but with Jesus as your #1 counselor and strong friend, you can make it an exciting and meaningful journey for you and the hubby. 😊
And even as I am finishing this post up, I can think of so many other pointers I could share but this is just one, just like they asked!
Hoping I didn’t scare any of you off from marriage with this one!
I would do it all over again, even the awful things to have the relationship we have today. We are stronger together and in our faith for it!