~ LIVING ~
~ LIVING ~
“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!
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. -Matthew 11:28 & 29
Hi. My name is Sheila and I am a Slowly-Recovering- Perfectionist. :) I am MUCH better than I once was. I really am. I always knew I was a perfectionist-type, but I tried to focus on the positives and ignore all the negatives of the issue. At least until God gave me a mind blowing lesson dealing with my Perfectionism!
Everything changed about 4 years ago. I became very ill, literally overnight. I was very sick. No doctors could tell me what was going on, the why, or how to fix it. (I will do a post on this whole story one day.) I woke up one morning and felt someone had siphoned every form of the energy from my body. I went straight back to bed and slept the next 21 hours. I did the same for the rest of the weekend, and the majority of the next 5 months. It took more energy than I had at times to get to the bathroom. My head felt too heavy to carry. My body was depleted of every ounce of energy. No amount of rest helped. NOTHING helped. This is what I refer to as my 'body shutdown'. It was one of the hardest times of my life.
As an active perfectionist at that time, this body shutdown indescribably hard for me. I was not capable of my normal daily function. I fought hard to hide it from others, but my family saw me fall flat.
I cried out to God for healing, yet it lingered. I asked Him to show me what I was to see. What I was to learn. He had my full attention and I learned something life changing.
The #1 mind blowing lesson God taught me about my Perfectionism was THIS:
MY EFFORTS ALONE do not keep the world spinning! The world will not stop...with or without me! Not even my little world! Eye opening lesson.
IT WAS A WAKE UP CALL! Being that I was not able to do anything, I eventually realized that even if the toilet bowl isn't cleaned every single Saturday morning, it will be okay. It wasn't cleaned for several Saturdays....even grew a moldy, black ring in it.
BUT YOU KNOW WHAT?? After my awesome hubby cleaned it, the shine was as bright as if he cleaned it every Saturday (before mold began to grow)!
Who knew moldy, slime ring could hold a spiritual lesson with such significance, right?!
God used this time when my body and mind were broken. I was unable to keep up with the plan. Things that I once thought I controlled and took complete care of were going right on along...without me.
God used this body shutdown, or DOWNTIME, to show me things I never could have realized before.
My life perspective changed after that sickness . I was finally seeing the constant doing, the insanely long to-do lists, the satisfaction of looking at what I accomplished, was not most important for me anymore. I realized my health, and enjoying time with people I love are much more valuable than my need to accomplish. I was able to begin accepting that spending time doing things I enjoy or just flopping on the couch to read or relax (when the bathroom may be trying to grow that ring back again) is not wrong! I learned to see the importance of the little things that bring joy to this life.
I will confess. I liked being the perfectionist most of the time. I was getting it all done. I was being applauded at times. Being productive. Keeping it all together. The productivity brought me happiness for moments, until the next task jumped up to take it from me. It never lasted long, there was always so much more to do.
God wants life's best for us.. He wants Joy for us even when we can't keep it all together. God wants us to be able to sit, chat and enjoy rest without guilt. He wants us to see that time spent with Him is anything but unproductive! I get that now!! I started to realize taking time to enjoy life is a gift from above and some of us have to learn how to accept this gift.
We can work to control every detail of life and stay exhausted and worried OR we can choose to let God lead our life and efforts, bringing us joy in them.
God wants life's BEST for us.
As any true perfectionist will tell you, this is a heart weed that is hard to kill. Unfortunately, this weed will not die overnight. When it grows big and tall, waving all over the place, it's easy to spot and make corrections. ONCE we decide the NEED for changes that is. It is hardly ever that evident. It masquerades as something 'good' more of the time.
If you are the Miss Perfectionist reading this, I wish I could hug you right now. I'd beg you to just sit with me while we eat chocolate chip cookies and sip coffee for a while. There is so much I want to tell you. So much I want to tell you to be looking for. SO many beautiful things all around that you miss when you stay too busy.
We may not be able to sit & chat right now, but you and Jesus can! Sit down, breathe deep 5 times and try to relax. Go outside where you can't see the mess in the kitchen. Go sit in the sunshine and go to Your Best Friend, Jesus. Let Him show you what it is HE wants to fill your time with. Let Him tell you where you can be busy with Him doing amazing things! Just sit and listen to what His voice sounds like. Let His voice bring rest.
He loves you. He wants your life to be abundant and full. Not busy about nothing & exhausting. Take a break to sit with Jesus today and I PROMISE it will not be wasted time!
I love you ladies! You really have no idea how you encourage me with your sweet notes!