Two days ago, my husband, Bio, and I celebrated our 2nd wedding anniversary. That’s equivalent to about 12 ‘single years.’ Seriously, marriage is like taking a crash course on everything I thought I knew. I’ve learned so much I often feel like I can start my own counseling practice. Bio thinks otherwise. He says “we haven’t earned our stripes yet.” I say “C’mon, we have at least one or two war stories we can share!” Only a few days have to pass before a minor communication blunder convinces me – I know nothing! So the following is NOT marital advice – rather 2 life lessons I’ve learned after being a wife for a whole 2 years. These lessons apply to singles, married couples, divorcees and even those with the relationship status, ‘it’s complicated.’
1. God Wants To Change Me (and has hired my spouse as an independent contractor)
I just learned this last Saturday. Bio and I attended a marriage seminar and the presenter said “If God wanted you to stay the same, He never would have coupled you two together.” I thought about it and although the concept wasn’t brand new, it hit me like never before. As a single person, I woke up, ate, went to work, went to church, ministered, gigged, went out of town, spent money, saved money, and planned my future all to the beat of my own drum. I was whole. I was complete. But complete doesn’t mean perfect.
Diamonds are a great example. They’re made in nature, so even the most expensive, “flawless” ones have imperfections. As a matter of fact, one of the indications that a diamond is fake is if it appears (under microscope) to be perfect. Like diamonds, we are fearfully and wonderfully made, but have natural, sinful proclivities. God loves us too much to leave us the same. He refines us through various means, such as parental guidance, friendships, and if in His will, marriage.
One of the biggest changes I’ve made since being married is in my speech. Let’s say I had a disagreement with someone, but didn’t have the time or energy to discuss it further, before being married, I’d say “I can’t. Let’s just talk about it later.” Now, faced with the same situation, I’d say, “I really can’t decipher how I feel right now. Can we talk about this tomorrow? How’s 4:00?” See, my husband has helped me see the futility of vague communication. He has encouraged me to speak with as much clarity and intention as possible. I can’t say I get it right all the time, but in 2 years I’ve come a long way. It’s not always easy, but it’s always necessary to see my spouse, friend, or parent, not as a bother, but as an agent of change that helps me become more like Christ.
2. God Does Not Want Me To Change Others (especially my spouse)
I know, I know, this almost sounds like a contradiction to number one, but it’s not. The first lesson is about me. The second lesson is about everyone else. And these two realities explain the tension every married couple has to wrestle with. When I decided to get married, whether I knew it or not, I decided to serve my spouse. I decided to choose him over me. The irony, however, is in serving him, my influence is exponentially greater than if I were to take on the impossible challenge of changing him.
As funny as this may sound, one of the hardest things to accept about my husband is that he doesn’t particularly like sweets/desserts. Although he’s told me this since our first date, in my mind, it’s unfathomable. How? Why? Huh? Not until recently, I kept telling myself he just hasn’t had the right ice cream sundae or the right person’s grandma’s banana pudding. He just hasn’t had a bad enough day that can only be assuaged by decadent chocolate. But after 2 years, that ice cream has never been churned. That grandma has never existed. And that day has never come. I realize now, He just doesn’t do delicious! (lol) So now I eat to my heart’s content. I don’t offer. I don’t feel sorry for him. I let him be. There are other examples I could write about, like my husband being a morning person while I don’t even get tired until the morning hours. Or my husband loving the food network while…well I have to admit that has grown on me a bit. The point is, he is who he is, and if he never changes I have to not only be ok with it, but I have to embrace it. Just as I am fearfully and wonderfully made, so is He. God does the changing, not me.
In conclusion, marriage is beautiful. It, more than anything else, has taught me the joy of life is truly the journey, not the destination. Lucky for me, I get to go on this journey with the wisest, humblest, tallest, darkest, handsomest man in the world! 2 years down…forever to go.