Today (March 18, 2013) is our 41st wedding anniversary. YEAH GOD!!! We’re happily celebrating a life lived well together. It has been and IS quite a journey. Prayerfully, we will have many more years together, to live and especially to love.
As Steve and I look back and reflect, we sure have learned A LOT! One of the biggest things we’ve learned is to become students of each other, and students of marriage lived out God’s way, rather than our pre-conceived ideas of what marriage should look like (which sure wasn’t working before, because it almost led us to divorce).
And yet, even though we have learned A LOT through the years, even now after 41 years of “practice” concerning this marriage thing, we still don’t have a “perfect” marriage (whatever that can look like when two sinners get together). But I can tell you that we’ve lived our lives well because it’s not just what you’ve lived through, but what you’ve learned through that’s important… and we’ve learned through A LOT!
With that said, Steve and I decided to set aside time to share with you a few things we’ve learned, which might help you in some way. Steve says, “ladies first” so here goes.
I recently read the Crosswalk.com article, How to Enjoy a Lifelong Love Affair with Your Spouse, written by Whitney Hopler. In it she gave 2 excellent points (among many), which summarize what we’ve learned and apply continually to our own marriage. One of them is:
“Move beyond the small story to the greater story. Recognize that your marriage is about much more than just the small story of you and your spouse sharing your lives together; it’s about a much larger story of the great work God wants to do through both of you in your marriage. Your marriage is a covenantal relationship that can show everyone who knows you what God’s love looks like in action.”
When Steve and I realized this important point about marriage, our whole relationship and how we treated each other began to change, in a positive way. This thing called marriage is not so much about us, but about God and HIS story —God’s story that He wants to write through us in how we live our lives together. We are to be “imitators of God, as beloved children and walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us” (as we’re told in Ephesians 5:1). That is our continual goal. May we never forget that!
Here’s another point that Whitney makes, which God showed us, as well, and our marriage has never been the same (in a WONDERFUL yet challenging way):
“Pursue God’s dream for your marriage. God’s great dream for your marriage is for it to reflect you and your spouse’s relationships with Jesus and show the people around you how true love and commitment should work. When it does so, your marriage will have great power to inspire people and draw them closer to God. So view your marriage from God’s perspective: as a gift that can bless not just you and your spouse, but others as well.”
Again, this is a continual goal and prayer for Steve and me –that our lives reflect and reveal the heart of Christ in all we do, especially in our marriage.
It’s also one of the reasons why Marriage Missions came into being —to share God’s “greater story” with others, concerning marriage, and to “inspire people and draw them closer to God.” It’s our prayer that as others see us, they see Christ and want to know our God better.
Yes, we know, there are some who respond the opposite way (we get their emails and comments —some of them very vile). But that was and is true for Christ and how people receive what He has said to them, so we try not to take it so personally. We’re in GREAT company. But the over-whelming majority of response we get is amazing! God is working through ordinary people to help in ways that we can only stand back and say, “that is truly AMAZING!!!” Thank you Lord!
Here’s what Steve wants to share with you, concerning what he has learned about marriage:
I would say that the greatest lesson I’ve learned that has made the biggest difference in our marriage is that it is for “grown ups.” By that I mean for many years in our marriage I acted like an adolescent. I was a selfish, self-centered, “marriage is all about ME” husband. It’s not that I never “gave” in our marriage, but I was definitely more interested in what I could “get” from the relationship.
Now, I can’t tell you the day that I had an epiphany or the circumstances that led up to it, but there was a definite time that I became aware that I hadn’t been showing love to Cindy “as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her.” I began to pray and ask God to show me how I should love Cindy as “Christ loved the church.” And He began to reveal to me ways I could demonstrate or “be Jesus” to her.
Over the course of time I began to really cherish Cindy as my wife, partner, best friend and lover. I thank God multiple times every day that she is my wife —the woman He chose for me. It is also my goal to “super-serve” her every day. In other words, I want to make our marriage more about giving than getting.
I can’t begin to tell you how happy I am that I had that awakening, because today our marriage is so full and rich. I am also thankful that I obeyed God’s call on my life as a husband because if I hadn’t I would have missed His “best” for me (and for us) in our marriage.
In closing, as we go off and just enjoy being together, celebrating, and loving each other all the more, the following, from Psalm 13:6
“I will sing the LORD’s praise, for he has been good to me.“
Yes, He has been good to us, very, very good —through tough times and the fun ones.
This blog was written by Cindy and Steve Wright of Marriage Missions International.