“I’ve learned real quick that marriage does not make you happy. This theory was busted when we got in an argument over a bagel on our honeymoon.”
I laughed when Catie asked me to be a “guest writer” on her blog and write about “Finding Joy in Marriage.” I’m not much of the blogging type – I’d much rather keep my personal life personal than journaling about it on the Internet. But after I thought it over, I agreed. After all, I’ve been married a grand total of 7 months and 2 day’s now, so that pretty much makes me an expert. This blog serves to compliment her blog on singleness and finding joy in whatever season of life you are in, “Somethings missing in my life and it’s not a husband”
I went nearly 21 years of my life – through middle school, high school, all the way until my last semester of college before I ever even had a boyfriend. I understand the whole singleness thing. I’ve been there. I remember seeing my two best friends get engaged my junior year of college and thinking I would probably be 40 when I had my next date. To make matters worse, I went to a Christian college, where half of the girls are just there to get their MRS degree and people wonder what’s wrong with you if you graduate without a ring on your finger. I get it. I understand the loneliness that creeps in and the lies telling you you aren’t good enough, pretty enough, whatever enough. And even more, I remember well meaning friends and family members saying things like “you’ll find your husband soon enough, honey” or “you’ll make a great wife one day” LIKE MY LIFE DOESN’T BEGIN UNTIL I GET MARRIED.
Now that I am on the other side of that, I am thankful for my years of singleness. I married the first guy I ever kissed, so it is kind of cool that I was spared the heartbreak most people experience through relationships gone bad. I see it now as God protecting me from a lot of mess. Also, I made tons of really great, deep friendships in high school and college. I probably set the record for Most Bridesmaids Ever at my wedding. Now that I have experienced both singleness and marriage, I can attest to one truth and echo what Catie said in her previous blog: a husband does not make you complete, adequate, whole or happy. No man, no matter how great he is, is sufficient to do that. Now this doesn’t mean I don’t think highly of my husband; in fact, I somehow managed to marry the best man on the planet and he is much more than I deserve. He is awesome. But he is not Jesus. Jesus is the One who is perfect, He is the One who saved me and gives me joy and purpose. Without Him. marriage is an absolute nightmare. With Him, we see a beautiful picture of the love Christ has for His church.
“The best gift your husband can give to you is to love Jesus more than he loves you.”
To be completely honest, being married does not magically make all of your issues disappear. What actually happens is that the amount of problems you brought into the marriage double and a big fat mirror is put in front of you and you see yourself for the mess you really are. And so the sanctification process begins. In my 7 months and 2 days of marriage, I have noticed a trend. We have some days/weeks where we are a giggly/in love/sappy couple straight from a chick flick, and other days/weeks where we can barely stand each other and want to pull each others hair out and get in stupid arguments over shoes not being put in the correct shelf in the closet. Both are equally as ridiculous. And then there’s my favorite, which we have affectionately named “church fights.” This is when you argue the entire way to church, get out of the car, grab your Bible and put on your “happy face”, go in, make small talk with lots of people, hold hands during the service and act super spiritual, and then get back in the car afterwards and resume the argument where you left off. Don’t judge us. I know you’ve done it too.
I’ve learned real quick that marriage does not make you happy. This theory was busted when we got in an argument over a bagel on our honeymoon. I know, I know. Just being honest here. In the past 7 months and 2 days, I have experienced moments of extreme frustration and anger toward my husband. I have secretly wished singleness back upon myself. It was much easier. But more than that, I have become increasingly grateful for Jesus and the cross. The best gift your husband can give to you is to love Jesus more than he loves you. I guarantee it. I am SO fortunate that James loves Jesus more than he loves me. He truly is a man after God’s own heart. He has a deep passion to know God and make Him known. He loves the Bible and studies it diligently. He loves people. And he loves me and is committed to me. He is patient with me and doesn’t give up on me. He knows the depths of me and chooses to love me anyway. Marriage is probably the hardest thing we will ever do, but it is so worth it. And the cross of Jesus Christ is what makes it possible. Jesus died for our sins so that we could have a right relationship with God. In Christ, we are whole. He gives us our identity and purpose so we don’t have to try and drag it out of each other. He frees us to love each other with no expectation, and gives us the ability to give and receive forgiveness when it is not deserved. And that is beautiful.
I want to end this by encouraging you – whoever you are and wherever you are in your life – to find your joy, hope, purpose, and identity in Jesus. The grass is never greener on the other side. Let’s shatter the myth that your life will be complete when you get a better job, find a husband, have babies, or buy a house with a cute white picket fence. Jesus died to make you whole. Turn to Him to do that – He will never fail you.
For His Glory,