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Monday, January 14, 2013

Marriage: A Challenge and a Blessing

If you are married, you know that marriage isn't always a walk in the park.  It's hard work!  When two sinful (saved by grace, but still sinful) people merge their lives, there will be difficulties, no matter how compatible a couple is.

At the root of many marital difficulties is communication, or the lack thereof--communication about money, sex, in-laws, jobs, children, etc, etc.  Learning to communicate fully with one's spouse is a lifelong process, one for which I definitely do not have all the answers.  What I do know is that it is essential for each spouse to seek to understand the way their partner communicates, because, of course, men and women communicate in quite different ways.  When each spouse is willing to look at things with the other person's perspective, communication will be easier.

In my experience and in talking with married friends, I've noticed that as married couples, many of us are great at communicating with other people, but not necessarily with each other!  But then, we don’t live with other people, and therein lies the greatest difficulty and the greatest blessing in marriage.

I think God often give us the spouse he has because that person has something to teach us, or because something about them helps us realize our own weaknesses and strengths. That's definitely true for Joshua and me.  Marriage, I have learned, is one of the most effective ways God teaches us to be more like Jesus.  It requires us to be selfless, to give of ourselves for the good of the other person, to love someone even when they're driving us crazy.  It requires us to have tough love, and to keep the other person accountable to God's will and direction for their lives.  Making a lifetime commitment to another person, and sticking with that commitment, is one of the hardest things anyone could ever do--but it will be one of the greatest blessings they will ever experience.

One unfortunate thing that I have discovered in life, in relationships with my parents, siblings, and husbands, is that it is easiest to hurt and disagree with the people I love the most (partly because I'm with them so much, and know them better than I know anyone else).  This isn't a pleasant fact, but because we live in a sinful world, it's true.

I also know that God's love and forgiveness make up for the deficiencies in our own ability to love and forgive. Therefore, no matter what struggles we have, we have the strength of Christ to work through them and the love and the forgiveness from the Father to heal after the struggles are worked out.  This is the only way my marriage works, and it is the backbone of all the relationships I have: God's love and his forgiveness.

Marriage is by no means easy.  We have to fight against our sinful natures every day, but by God's grace he enables us to become more like him, and love our spouse the way God loves both of us.  Even when we do fail, God gives us a second chance (and a third, and a fourth...).  He constantly forgives us when we repent, and helps us try again.  And I, for one, am glad I have an entire lifetime with my husband to work on getting this marriage-thing right!

11 comments:

  1. I love waking up to eat breakfast and read your blog! Perfect way to start the day. You're so insightful & wise. Thanks for inspiring me to be better in my own marriage!

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    1. All praise to God alone-- it's only by his grace that I'm able to write anything "insightful and wise." Thanks, dear! :)

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  2. Celebrating God's amazing gift of marriage with you today! One of my favorite books for helping husbands and wives communicate with and understand each other is "Men are Like Waffles, Women are Like Spaghetti". It's one of those books worth reading time and again. It's also light-hearted in its approach to what is sometimes a difficult and profound subject. God bless you and Joshua as you continue to learn how to love each other!

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  3. It is so wonderful for your marriage that you are learning this lesson from the start and not trying to figure it out years into it. I had some very definite ideas of what I thought marriage was and what I thought it meant to be a wife. I was quite wrong on a lot of levels. The book "A Wife After God's Own Heart" by Elizabeth George was radical to me and to my marriage. Mr. Steady and I like to say that we are the perfect match of two imperfect people thanks to the good Lord!
    Keep it up Jaimie and God will bless you for it!

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    1. Thanks for the recommendation, Amy! And I am thankful that we're learning a lot right away, but I am reminded all the time of how much we have yet to learn. Thankful for grace, from God AND my hubby. :)

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  4. So glad you linked this up at Matrimonial Monday! I will be featuring your post next week :)

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  5. New follower from the Matrimonal Monday blog hop. I've been married for nearly 16 years now ... and it is only the power of God that has kept us going at times. But we are stronger now than we have ever been, really.

    By the way, I love the picture in your blog background. It makes me feel like a can take a deep breath and feel God's love warming me up like the sun warms the earth on a cold morning. :O)

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    1. Thank you, LuAnn! It is only by God's grace and forgiveness that our marriage is as great as it is--I absolutely agree with you. :) Thanks for following!

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  6. My husband and I have been married for 8 years. It just seems like after 8 years, we should be perfect at this marriage thing. I mean, they say it takes 3 years to really become successful at a job. I have 5 more years on top of that! But like you said, two sinners. And if we rely on the Grace of God, we will get through. Christ-centered marriage. Christ-centered lives. Glad I found you!!! :)

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