I was watching a movie last night, and I had one of those moments I call “blogger moments”, but I think most people refer to them as those moments when God speaks to you by some random means. In the movie, the main character was dealing with a lot of difficult situations, he was angry and stressed, and he was handling everything the wrong way. The whole time, his wife was alongside him, praying for, loving, and supporting him. That wasn’t the point of the movie, but it was something that stuck out to me.
As I was watching that, it hit me more than it ever has before: marriage is going to be hard!
I can guarantee it, and I’m just a teenager with zero experience in the field of marriage. Yes, I can hear you right now – “who is she to talk about marriage? She’s fifteen, for crying out loud! She can’t know anything.”
Okay, I’ll give you that one. I’m not one to talk about how hard marriage is. But I can talk about the aspect of marriage that pertains to me and every other teenager hoping to get married one day.
My mom’s always told me that these years that we have right now are the years we should be preparing for marriage. This is the time that we have to become the husband, wife, father, mother that we should be one day. I admit, she’s been telling me that for years, and it’s only started to sink in as I’ve gotten older and realized more and more how much of my life needs to change. So last night, I wrote down some things that I need to be praying that God helps me to change in my life before I ever consider marriage and having a family of my own.
- I need to grow closer to and fall deeper in love with Christ. If I don’t love Christ as I should, if I don’t have the relationship with Him that I should, then every other area of my life will show that. How are you supposed to show the love of Christ to your spouse if you don’t have it in your heart yourself? Not to mention that in general, having a close relationship with the Lord makes life 103x better (and often times easier).
- I need to learn self-control. Just, yikes on this one. I’m a naturally very emotional person (a personality trait I dislike a bit), and I need God’s grace extra here… I need to control my outbursts, and not act off of immediate emotions and anger (or not “fly off the handle”, in the words of our dear friend Glinda).
- I need to learn how to be a humble servant. My job will be to serve my family, and I must do it with a servant’s heart – with joy and humility. Unfortunately for my non-existent future family, I’m not completely there yet…
- I need to learn to respond in love. Again, I mentioned how I tend to respond in outbursts of anger. A gentle answer turns away wrath; I’ve got to think before I speak!
- I need to learn to surrender. In a marriage, the wife submits to the husband’s authority. The mother puts the family before herself. It’s selfless submission, loving surrender. It’s a beautiful picture, actually, and it makes me appreciate what my own mother’s done! God’s got to tame the stubborn, independent spirit inside of me if that’s the future He has in store for me…
- I need to learn how to deal with my problems in a Christ-honoring way. NOT by moping for days on end and letting my emotions do as they please. I can see how God has been working in me at least for the past few months here. This is something I really struggle with, but there have been moments that I can clearly look back on and see how I handled things by going to His word and finding peace and fulfillment in Him.
- I need to gain strength. I need to be ready to carry burdens and do things like I’ve never done before. It’s going to be hard, and if I were to go into marriage and raising a family with the strength I have now, hahaha… I’d collapse. God will have to strengthen me.
- I need to learn as much as I can about love and how to really, truly love. This is honestly something I enjoy learning about, though. It’s a choice with feeling, as I like to think of it. We choose to love, but the feeling that we always associate love with is just a side effect of that choice. It’s hard, but strong.
- I need to live for an audience of One. Yikes… With the place I’m in in my life right now, that sounds like an impossible thing to do. I know that sounds bad, but it’s true. I fear man so, so much. I need to learn to live for God instead of the world. His opinion ultimately matters so much more.
My mom also brought up some interesting points (she’s the one that has experience in marriage, not me, so I asked her to look over this before I posted so I could hear her thoughts), so here’s basically what she said: Understand that your commitment should be to God and not to your spouse. When you are committed to a person, it is easier to leave when the going gets tough. If you have promised your marriage to the Lord, then your commitment is to Him and He is your anchor during the rough patches that you absolutely WILL have. It was mentioned briefly that love is a choice, and that cannot emphasized enough. There will be MANY days (especially during the first year or two when you are trying to figure out how to live with each other) when you don’t necessarily LIKE this person, much less feel like loving them. Romantic “love” fades away and your heart eventually doesn’t race so readily at the thought of your spouse, but true love matures and becomes more than a fickle feeling. Don’t confuse the loss of romantic love to be the same thing as “falling out of love”. True love matures and becomes a selfless act of service as you grow in your relationship and as you spend your years together.
Along those lines, it was also mentioned about becoming a humble servant. So true, but also, you have to give up any selfish thoughts and desires. If you fall into the “What about my feelings?” or “What about what I want to do?” mentality, then you have made your marriage about serving yourself. You have to understand that by definition, serving your husband and family will automatically mean that there will be many things you would love to do but cannot for various reasons. However, if your spouse has the same attitude of serving you and his family, then you each will have your needs met.
As I thought about it all last night, it was really hitting me that marriage isn’t just a field of roses. I already knew that, but the reality of it was… real. (Do I get the reward for the weirdest thoughts a 15 yo. can have at 11:30 at night?) So now, we have to ask that question – is marriage worth it? Marriage will be harder than anything we’ve ever known. She’ll give the silent treatment. He’ll respond in anger. She’s stubborn. He’s overbearing. Can she be enough? How will he handle her reactions? Can he control himself for her? Can she live every day putting him first? All the questions and thoughts swirl around in our heads as we envision different scenarios based on different traits… will the roses be worth the thorns? Can we make a life-long commitment to an uncertainty?
Mk. 10:6-9, “But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”
Gen. 2:18, The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”
Marriage is God’s design for mankind. Marriage is the unification of two people delighting in the Lord together. It’s the beginning of new life. It’s a picture of Christ’s love for us. It’s sanctifying. God delights in and endorses marriage! He created it to fill a need inside us, to glorify Him, and to do His will on earth. What God desires will always be worth it! Just like following Him is incredibly hard sometimes, we can’t expect marriage to be much different. But I believe in the bigger picture, it is worth it.