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October 12, 2015

50 Year Discoveries: Marriage

Now I know I have not been married for all of my 50 years, but it is definitely part of my journey through it. In fact, I will be celebrating my 29th wedding anniversary 2 days after my 50th birthday. The story starts when I was 21 and the day was our wedding day:

The day I got married was good and fun and a celebration of a beginning, but I was terrified of the wedding night and worried about finances. I was not yet done with school and we were both working part time jobs at minimum wage. This was indeed our choice, but it is also part of how God used our marriage to make us more like He desired us to be: honest, sacrificial and wise stewards of all He allowed us to make. Frugality is not a bad thing and has enables us to be where we are today. Not always fun, but very beneficial for sure.

Back to the wedding night and much of the next 20 years. Intimacy was a terrifying event with sexual abuse in my past. My husband knew my history and was a tenacious prayer warrior and gently loving husband. He was praying for me to trust God and him with this part of my heart and life. He loved me very much and was never intentionally hurtful or pushy. He was a man, we were married, and he needed love as much as I needed love in a safe way. Over the years we had our ups and downs in this area, with 2 steps forward and 3 steps back, yet always forward. God was faithful, John was gentle and respectful, and I was inching forward with both of them as my guide.

Marriage for us was a learning to balance God’s call for John to be head and me to be helper. God defines Himself as head and Bridegroom of the Church in Christ, with the Church as bride being His helper, submitting to His leadership. John took this role very seriously – he knew he answered to Jesus in how he lead his family. I was not as great a helper as I wanted to be, not trusting the head, wanting to be in control – protecting and making sure all went well ACCORDING TO ME. He knew where many of my fears came from in letting him lead, yet knew we needed to work together for the Lord to create the family he intended for us. You see, I was insecure and distrustful, but I was very competent to do finances and yardwork, taxes and fixing up things around the house, etc. “Competent” does not equal “should be doing” any day of the week, but it was how I felt secure.

Needless to say this create problems when I felt we were financially tight and something had to be paid or bought or John wanted to help others. Or when he set his foot down and was trying to teach the kids things and I was trying to be their friend and got in the way for clear training and discipline. That story is more for next week, but I shared it as it relates here. I would fret and worry, yell and control, pray and fuss. Yes, I know, not a really great Bride of Christ, but I was on my way to being mended and God had me in process to that end.

The breakthrough occurred around 39- 42 years of age. The Bible study in Matthew 18, forgiveness, telling my story, the Lord opening my heart to trust and change. This is the time period when John told me he had been praying for me to be more confident in Christ’s protection of me, and his love of me – never about hurting or pushing, but waiting and surrendering it to God for me to arrive. Many tears, much healing. The rest of my life was not in order – actually disintegrating, but my marriage was solidified and I was now a true companion and friend to my husband and he was enabled to finally return that to me.

Since then, we have had many trials and testings in other areas, ups and downs, but God always reminds me of His faithfulness through those really rough places, and I thank Him. We have moved, changed jobs, sold our first home and bought our last home, have an empty nest with two independent kids spread across the country. We are older and our bodies do not do what we would like them to do as we work on this home, but we are in agreement on where we are and the goals for the house and finances and God’s guidance. The process to here has been really bumpy. I was really not sure about 22 years ago, but now I am. Not because I am perfect or I have “fixed” my spouse or have oodles of money to do and go where I would like. But because a faithful God, the Creator of marriage- our marriage – has never left us to ourselves, lovingly protecting the investment He made in making us “one”, making sure He was and will be glorified through it all.

What I Have Learned:

God –

  • Marriage is His creation for His glory and my good
  • He is the Creator of “oneness” – sustaining it with His power, not our faithfulness to the vows
  • He gave the perfect spouse for ME – to make ME like Christ and show His love
  • He sustained our marriage through my woundedness from sexual abuse as well as how best to spend money and parent our kids
  • He enabled me to heal and trust and give as He changed and continues to change my heart

My Spouse (John)

  • He is a good example of Christ’s sacrificial life, humbling himself to serve me and glorify God
  • He trusts God’s Word, work, and promises with great faithfulness
  • He prayed for his wife’s healing and ability to trust intimacy and life itself
  • Can be VERY stubborn, but usually is proven right as he has good planning skills and instincts
  • Generous with time, skills, and money – all comes from the Lord and He provides
  • Supportive of God’s gifting of me and how the Lord will me
  • Doesn’t try and “fix” me – simply states the truth and then lives it out for me to see and follow

Self –

  • I can be selfish, distrustful, and stubbornly controlling (Yes, I know you already know this!)
  • Learning that being “right” is not the only thing – trusting, sacrificing, submitting for the best outcome is GOD’S way for my marriage
  • LOVE my husband’s friendship and companionship – we are on same page 90% of the time – with the other 10% under construction by the Lord
  • I look forward to intimacy, learning to surrender my needs for his needs within our relationship
  • Marriage tires me out as an introvert, but stretches me into GOD’S intended shape for His glory – it is not about ME!
  • Trying to “fix” and control my husband is God’s work, not mine, as I stink at it and usually get it wrong anyway

How About You?

  • How do you see God and marriage?
  • What things has God revealed about marriage that you could improve on , entrust to Him, and watch the “oneness” increase?
  • What has being a spouse taught you about you? About your spouse?
  • How can you be more intentionally thankful for your role within your marriage, seeking God’s way for His glory?

If sexual abuse is part of your story and is affecting or has affected your marriage – trust and intimacy – please contact me by scheduling a “Building Trust” 30 Minute discovery session to explore how we together can find God’s masterpiece of faithfulness and move you forward to live with confidence in Christ and without fear of the future. You can also email (kristin@unchanginggodchangingyou.com) me or go to the Contact Coach Kristin page. Do not wait hoping for a breakthrough. “Step Into the Light”, “Soak Up the Light” and “Walk in the Light” with Him!

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