I thought I was so ready! I thought whatever man hooked me would know he had truly found a pearl of great price (Matthew 13), a hidden treasure, favor from the Lord. (Proverbs 18:22) No doubt, a couple weeks into our marriage my husband might have begged to differ!
I had read every verse on marriage, highlighted them, and committed them to memory. I had poured over these scriptures for years. At the age of 16 I knew that above all else the #1 calling the Lord had put on my life was to be a godly wife, and boy, was I on the lookout for my man! I began praying for my husband at the age of 16, and I have often told Tim that I fell in love with him years before we ever met!
I would write letters to my future husband (which I gave to Tim the day before our wedding). I thought I was truly a prize to be sought. I was gonna be the Proverbs 31 Woman! My husband would praise me saying, “Many daughters have done nobly, and well [with the strength of character that is steadfast in goodness], But you excel them all.” And one day our children would arise and call me blessed! (Proverbs 31:28-29)
Boy, was I in for a rude awakening!
I was devastated to learn, mere months…make that weeks, into our marriage that I was not very good at this! Defensive, sensitive, self-loathing, with the innermost parts of my heart boarded up with concrete walls around them because of bitterness, hurt, and pain that I had never confronted in a healthy manner. And Tim, wonderful though his is, and admittedly he was better at marriage than I was (and most of the time still is!)…Poor Tim still had a lot of growing up to do. Let’s just say he was less than gentle and understanding with my issues….though in his defense he was blind-sided by them. Kind of a “Thought he was getting Rachel” kind of thing…though maybe Jekyll and Hyde would be a closer comparison! (Genesis 29)
Yes, if Tim and I had any idea what the next couple years would be like for us there’s a good chance we would have bailed! But praise the Lord, in His infinite wisdom He took us from, “Nice to meet you.” to “I do” in seven short months…before we could realize what we were really signing up for!
As I continue my journey through the newest book by bestselling author, Alisa DiLorenzo, Called to Love,” I am growing increasingly concerned that maybe Alisa was watching me during my first few years of marriage!! She had to have had me in mind when she wrote her first two sections titled, “I Thought I Knew What To Do” and “Marriage Is Harder Than I Thought.”
The fact is, as I’ve had the privilege to walk with others over the years, to encourage and counsel friends on their bumpy roads, one thing has become quite clear; Tim and I are not alone! Few couples find marriage to be as blissfully magical as they expected…at least until they have put some real work into it.
I love what Alisa says on Day 8:
“Yes, there are times when your marriage will require blood, sweat, and tears. As Jesus demonstrated to us, everything worthwhile at some point in time needs this investment of ourselves. When you find yourself in this place, remember that you are not alone. Remember that at any moment you have access to the One who can bring you comfort.”
Take heart, my friend! Your marriage does not have to be perfect – it just has to be committed! I remember well the morning, less than a month after our honeymoon, with the sound of the door slamming as Tim stormed off to work still ringing in my ears, when I fell to my knees and cried out to Lord through my tears, “God, what have I done?”
Fast-forward 11 years, and I still find myself on a regular basis, again on the floor on my knees, again with tears in my eyes crying out to the Lord, but now with praise and thanksgiving for an incredible marriage and my wonderful husband. (Yes, still Tim!)
To get from where we were to where we are (and up and down and back and forth time and again) it has taken focused work, commitment, and intentionality on both our parts. I did not rise off the floor that early morning in the spring of 2006 and watch as the Lord worked a sudden miracle in my marriage. Tim did not come in from work that night, kiss away all my tears, and ride me off into the sunset! No, not by a long shot. But each day the Lord gave us the strength we needed to keep going, to press through and to believe that as we sought to honor Him with our lives, He would raise us up. As Alisa so beautifully puts it, “Marriage is about pressing in, leaning into one another and God.”
I am also reminded of what Joyce Meyer often says, “If you will do what you can do, God will do what you cannot do.”
If you will make a commitment to view your marriage through the words of Jesus, to see your marriage as your highest calling – a call to love – and accept that call regardless of cost, and commit to seeing it through and doing your part, God will handle the rest. As one of my current favorite worship songs say, “Where there is no way He’ll make a way!” (Love that song!)
Don’t forget to grab your own copy of “Called to Love” today! Click HERE!!
In my next post I will share with you how Tim and I saved our marriage before we were even engaged! (May even get him to do a guest appearance!) Stay tuned…I encourage you to subscribe above so you can follow along by email and not have to remember to come back! We all have enough to keep up with, right? JAnd please, if you got something out of this post, click on a share button below and pass it along!
See all my posts in the “Called to Love” book review series…