It boggles my itty bitty mind that my husband and I have been married for three years this month! I still have moments where I’m like “Hey, I’m a Wifey!” To many, three years is not a lengthy amount of time and they’re probably right. But at the same time so much can change so quickly and you can learn quite a bit in a short period of time.
As I pondered our marriage and the years proceeding, I started thinking about the lessons I’ve learned. I decided to ask a few godly women what they wish they had known approaching the covenant of marriage and I’m excited to share their nuggets of wisdom later in this article. Lord willing, this will be part one of a two part series. In this article I’m talking about 3 things I’m glad I learned before I entered marital bliss. Keep an eye out for part two- “3 things I’ve Learned in 3 Years of Marriage” next week (Lord willing).
Marriage Takes Work
Contrary to the popular article entitled “Marriage Isn’t Hard”, I was told by various people that it is hard long before my wedding vows were on my tongue. And I am SO glad.
So many couples jump into marriage believing everything will be smooth sailing simply because they’re Christians. But that isn’t found in scripture anywhere.
As soon as we are saved, the Lord begins working in our hearts to shape us into his likeness (Philippians 2:13). We don’t just sit back and coast. Instead, we are called to strive for holiness (Hebrews 12:14). When we enter into our covenant with Christ we are called to die to self and pursue him daily. Likewise, when we enter into the marriage covenant, we are called to lay down our selfishness and wholly pursue our spouse every day. No one coasts toward holiness and unity. It takes work and work is hard. Extremely rewarding, but still hard.
Love is a Choice
This truth has become more popular in recent years but is still incredibly important nonetheless. It showed up in blogs, books, conversations and sermons during my season of singleness and proved to be a necessary lesson in my life.
We had a rough start to our marriage. Working opposite shifts at work made it hard to connect. We were ships in the night. There was lots of crying paired with resentment on my part which was intensified by the birth control I was on at the time. One night, anger consumed me; I could barely think straight. I was reminded of the words I heard before we married. Women would say to me “There will be times when your feelings aren’t there. This is when you need to remember love is a choice.” When I said “I do” I declared to the world that I would choose Jim over and over again until I die. I’d choose him over other men, I’d choose him over family and friends and I’d choose him over my feelings. Feelings flee so quickly (for example, I was fine the next day). To allow them to dictate my love for my Husband is fatal. Love is an action; It’s a choice.
“To allow feelings to dictate my love for my Husband is fatal.”
My Husband Isn’t the Key to My Happiness
If I could implant this into the mind of every woman I would. Our fairy tale world named Hollywood has convinced us all, that men and relationships are the path to ultimate joy. I can’t tell you how thankful I am to the Lord for showing me a better route.
Happiness cannot be discovered in the things of this world. Whether it’s a person, place or thing the joy it brings you is only for a moment. People disappoint, places change and things grow boring to us.
Do not idolize your Husband. He is a sinful being just like you. Would you want him to try to find his happiness in you? Talk about pressure! It’s not fair to him and it’s destructive to your marriage. Set your heart on the things above where Christ is (Colossians 3:2). True joy is only found in the Lord.
Wise Words From Wise Women
I’m really excited to share some thoughts from a few wise women the Lord has placed in my life. They are all dear to my heart and have a lot of experience in the marriage department. I asked them what they wish they would have learned early on in marriage.
Here is what they said:
“My advice to young women is to take off your rose colored glasses. Don’t place your poor husband on a pedestal and assume that he is in your life to meet all of your spiritual and physical needs.”
Lois, married 37 years
“The point of marriage is not my personal happiness.”
Lizz, married 16 years
“Marriage takes work, gospel work. It’s not always easy. God will use your marriage to sanctify you through it. Some people give the impression that if you choose the right person and love them enough it will be a thriving marriage. Love is more than just a feeling. Love is a verb that requires you to act selflessly and with humility and grace toward one another. And that is work because of our sinful state.”
Kristi, married 20 years
Is there anything you would add that you wish you would have known before you got married? Let me know in the comments! I’d love to read your thoughts!
I loved this! Wise words from wonderful ladies as well. Thank you!
I love YOU! Thanks for reading dear friend!
Very wise words! I’ve been married 13 years, and I still sometimes forget to heed the advice not to allow my feelings to dictate my love for my husband. I wish I knew that he wouldn’t always think just like me! I didn’t realize how hard marriage would be when we first started out, but it is so true that God sanctifies us through it.
It is SO easy to follow our feelings isn’t it? But God is good to give us his truth when our feelings don’t seem to be on board. I’m so thankful that he uses it to sanctify us as well! Thanks for reading!
So true. Always working at our marriage and always making sure that your joy and happiness come from the Lord.
Invest time in you so that you can be a better wife to him. Sometimes we get so wrapped up being a wife or parent, serving them that we fail to spend time with God, pamper, get the necessary rest or socialize. Our marriage is enhanced when we treat ourselves before we treat them.
I see your point friend. Sometimes it is harder to be a good wife when we are stressed. And I agree that we have to make time for the Lord and his word. After all, that is where our rest truly comes from. I can’t help but think of our amazing Savior who always put others needs above his own. What a beautiful example he is for us! Just another way to think about it. Thanks for reading and for your thoughtful comments!
Ugh, if only every woman/couple would know these before embarking on marriage! So important! I think most importantly is that our husbands are not the key to our happiness. This is something Josh and talked about on the 1st or 2nd date. We talked about how we cannot be each other’s saviors. If we put each other on a pedestal we would be very disappointed! Christ is our identity not our spouses! Great article friend!
GREAT conversation to have with each other before marriage! I agree, I wish every woman could learn that truth before marriage too! Thanks for reading girl!
Giving you a husband (that is, an imperfect man) to keep for the rest of your life is God’s way of growing you up. It’s God’s design to have you up against somebody who forgot you’re the Princess, who actually knows you’re a sinner and chooses to forgive and love and cherish – and when he forgets that, you’d better not! You’d better forgive and love and cherish because that’s what Jesus does daily for you. Marriage thickens the skin and tenderizes the heart, and enlivens the Forgiveness Nerve. The sooner we get that, the sooner grace infuses our marriage.
I’ve been blessed with plenty of opportunity to learn this the hard way, being married now for the third time. Oh, I’m grateful for all that I’ve learned, and grateful my husband didn’t have to bear up under all that. (Thank heaven he doesn’t know what he’s missed!)