Today marks the first anniversary of my marriage!
So how’s marriage, you ask?
It’s both wonderful and difficult… and thanks to the wise words of those that mentored me… that’s pretty much what I expected going into marriage. Still, I’ve learned a lot from my marriage and I’m sure I’ll learn more in the coming years.
Here are five observations from my marriage thus far:
I am really selfish.
The bible teaches that a primary effect of the sin in us, is that we live for ourselves, rather than for Christ (2 Cor. 5:14-15). As a single person, it’s often hard to tell how selfish you really are. When you’re single, it feels natural to do things for yourself and worry mostly about yourself. It’s still a selfish lifestyle, and it’s still sinful, but you hardly notice.
In marriage, I quickly realized how selfish I am. I often did things for myself before I did things for my wife. I had myself in mind when making decisions, and I would forget to gather my wife’s input. I would plan around my schedule, and not so much my wife’s. All because that’s how I lived for 30+ years… for myself. It was wrong then and it is wrong now. I should be loving my wife like Christ loved the church… selflessly.
There are many opportunities to serve your spouse.
Once you realize how selfish you are, you begin to realize how there are endless and daily opportunities to serve your spouse. A single person can strive to serve others daily, but in marriage, you don’t even have to leave the front door.
I can say nice things to my wife in the morning, plan things for her, do things with her throughout the day, prepare her meals, take my wife out on dates, study the bible with her, meet her friends and family, figure out what she needs, try to meet those needs… and I can do this any day and every day. There’s no excuse not to exercise the grace and love of Christ with my wife nearby.
It’s a simple thing to stay together.
At my wedding, I remember my pastor saying that it’s a simple thing to commit to your spouse in marriage. It’s not an easy thing, but it’s a simple thing. And that’s true. As a married man, I have one simple task everyday: Stay with my wife.
I think this is important to remember because marriage can be stressful at times, and being faithful and committed to my wife doesn’t mean I have to solve all my marital problems. It just means: I will stay with my wife. So I will commit myself to her and work on my marriage daily.
It’s hard work to stay together.
As my pastor said, marriage is a simple thing, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Staying committed to a spouse means you are going to do the hard work of dealing with any and all marital issues and conflicts.
I’ve learned first-hand that it is hard and humbling work to deal with conflict in marriage. It’s hard work to communicate effectively. It’s humbling to admit and address my own faults (of which I have many). It’s humbling to show grace when you wish you could vindicate yourself. It’s a constant reminder that I need and depend on the grace and love of Jesus Christ.
Marriage is a blessing in a life that’s not about marriage.
Marriage is not only hard work. Marriage is not mainly hard work. Rather, marriage is a very special blessing. It’s a blessing to spend time with my wife and best friend. It’s a blessing to be loved by someone. It’s a blessing to worship God with my wife by my side. And what amazes me, is that I was already loved more than I need!
God loves me. Jesus laid his life down for me. I am a child of God, free to worship my Father in heaven every day. That’s what life is all about. And yet… on top of all that… I am still blessed with a wife. Wow… all I can say to that is… God is so good.