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Marriage, Even When...(Day 3)
Just before you were married and early on in your marriage, what were your expectations and how does that compare with where you are now? For me, I have a much different perspective. Marriage is a much bigger deal than I thought it was. It lasts a long time. I got married when I was 25 and now I’m 40. If God delays His return or His calling me home, I’ll have been married as long as I was single when I’m 50. Then, for the rest of my life, most of my life, I will have been married. I also had a lot of expectations of how good marriage was going to be for me. That was and is still very true. But my expectations when I was younger were it was going to be good ice cream. It would be all pleasure and no discipline. Now I see it more like tomatoes (or insert the healthiest food you eat that you really love and enjoy: pears, apples, grapefruits, pineapples, peaches, strawberries...etc.). Marriage isn’t just fun and enjoyable but it’s also good for you. It’s not just going to make you fat and happy, although those things can be true! But it’s also going to sharpen you, tune you, and make you better.
“When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put aside childish things.”
1 Corinthians 13:11 HCSB
This verse is within a chapter that is all about love and how great love is.
Here’s some more insight into what is childish and what isn’t…
“Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, is not boastful, is not conceited, does not act improperly, is not selfish, is not provoked, and does not keep a record of wrongs. Love finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for languages, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end.”
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 HCSB
Basically, to be unloving is childish but to love well is to be grown up. I have some room to grow as I know I’m not loving as well as I should be. But the great thing is I also see where I’ve made some great progress. Marriage has helped with that. Not only do I feel I am able to love my wife better now than I did 10 years ago, but I also feel like I can love my children better, my parents better, and others in my life better. I also can see how much more I need to do to show love as I look forward and think about it.
Childishness consists of being unkind, being envious, being selfish, being easily angered, etc.
Look to grow in Christ and become more like Him. Look to grow in your marriage to love your spouse better. If you are married, you aren’t a child!
Let’s act like adults. Let’s love well, really well. Let’s improve in our love even after we love really well.
Early on in marriage, I wanted to go hang out with my friends way too often. Now that I’m older, I still want to hang out with friends. A difference is that I wish I had hung out with my spouse much more often and spent more time with her both before we had children and just after we had children. I regret no befriending her more during those times. If you are newly married, are about to have children, or have a new baby, make sure to sweeten those times by making many memories with your spouse and spending extra time with them during those short and sweet times. I think friendships with others are important for sure but your relationship with your wife and mother of your children is of greater importance and should take up more time. Communicate together and come up with a good balance that works best for each of you and is healthy. Consider each other’s needs, desires, and expectations more than your own and increase your empathy and desire to do more of what they want and less of what you want. Your marriage and your future self will thank you.
Those of us who are further along in marriage, it’s never too late to grow up! The next day’s reading will be on listening because that’s an area where I need to improve and maybe you could too.
Grow and be productive!
Intend to Live
Prayer: God, help me to put away childish emotions, reactions, and actions. Help me to love and love really well. Help me to grow in love! Create in me a new heart and new mind. Renew my heart and mind. Soften my heart toward my spouse. Not only did You create them to help me; You created me to help them. Please make me a better helper. Help me encourage them, listen to them, be kind to them, be gentle to them, be considerate of their feelings, expectations, perspective, and desires. Help me find ways to be helpful to them; new ways that I don’t currently do. Please make me into a better spouse. May I be more like you Lord. For Your glory and in Jesus Christ's name, Amen.