Yaaay! It's year 5 for us! What a great mile stone! On June 1, 2013, I was blessed to marry my Jarrett. I couldn't stop laughing on my wedding day! I was truly all giggles and smiles and full of joy and anticipation! I laughed with my family, I laughed with the wedding staff, I laughed with the caterers... I mean, I was giddy!
I thought I knew a lot about marriage when we stood before our family and friends, because my parents have an awesome marriage and I learned so much from watching them. I also gleaned a lot from books I'd read and from premarital counseling and marital conferences we attended with my parents. Jarrett and I felt prepared. We'd waited in purity by withholding sex until marriage, we'd sought Godly counsel, we had mentors, we prayed, we loved each other... life was good. And it was good!
Our Hawaiian honeymoon was a living dream and the following 12 months of marriage felt like easy sailing. I mean, of course we hit a few minor bumps in the road, but nothing major. We were still love birds... still happy, still attracted to each other, but still quite naive.
The year we had Kailyn was the year our married "work" began. I laugh because so many times before our daughter was born, Jarrett and I would joke about how our marriage wasn't "work"... it was joy! Why did everyone always say, "marriage is work"? We hadn't a clue, but soon found out.
Although our daughter is a true blessing, and baby #2 is due in only 4 weeks, Kailyn's addition brought along some growing pains: growing pains of surfaced selfishness that neither one of us was aware of before hand. Growing pains of proper time management, growing pains of learning how to build boundaries around in-laws (and out-laws)! Growing pains on how to still love each other, even when we were tired, uncomfortable, unwilling and uninterested.
God is good though. He knows what we each need and what circumstances of life are required to bring certain fruits out of us. In His faithfulness, He has helped us both to grow, mature, and experience a portion of the joy in which He always intended marriage to be. He has surrounded us with Godly examples of married couples, in various seasons, who have been
tremendously influential in our growth and development and He has positioned us to be examples for others as well.
Marriage is work. If you're dating, engaged or hoping for marriage, know with confidence that love is not a convenience. Anyone can get excited about a wedding, but thriving marriages require daily attentiveness and devotion.
As scripture commands, "So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loves his wife loves himself" (Ephesians 5:28).
Although this instruction is given specifically to men, it would do us, as women, a good favor to follow suit.
As a woman, I bathe everyday, sometimes twice a day. I shave my legs with jojoba oil, I smear moisturizer on every part of me. When my hair is dry, I condition it with creams and oils. I comb it and detangle it carefully. I purchase make up with SPF in it, to take care of my skin and when I am not wearing makeup, I'm sure to wash my face and moisturize it, to protect it. I brush my teeth, get my hands and nails taken care of, I pluck the three weird hairs from the middle of my eyebrows, I dress myself in nice, clean and wrinkle free cloths. I eat fruits and vegetables and lean meats. I don't smoke. I don't drink. When I'm sick, I visit the doctor. I drink plenty of water. I don't consume poisons or play in traffic.... why?
Because I love myself!
Because I don't want to walk around in my fabulous 30-year old body smelling like fish or wearing dry hair that sheds flakes on my stunning outfits. Because I want to be healthy so that I can continue to have an amazing sex life and produce more gorgeous babies! Because, when someone takes a picture of me, I actually want to feel good about the image that gets posted on social media. Because, when i look in the mirror, I want to be pleased.
We take care of ourselves because we value who we are.
Since scripture says that we should be loving our neighbors as ourselves and we should be loving in our marriage just as we love our own body.... we must be sure to tend to our husbands, love our husbands and devote ourselves to our husbands in the exact same manner as we would do for our selves. We take care of our marriages because they are of sacred and holy value.
The world will tell you different: that it shouldn't be hard, that love should be easy and free, that a good man will put you first and meet your needs. But, see, a good woman will do the same for a man she is devoted to.
Maybe, the problem is that some of us are only really devoted to ourselves.
But marriage is not about you. It's not about your happiness, or your security or about your Princess-Barbie wedding day. Truely loving means dying and self sacrifice by putting the other person first! This is devotion. Just as Christ has done for us, so we must do in our marriages- in order to reflect Him in the way we live and in the way we love.
Listen, I don't know any woman who would expect to feel, look or smell clean if she never bathed. We can't expect to have healthy growing hair and nails if we are consistently eating unhealthy meals and we can't expect to look good if we are unwilling to dress in front of a mirror. In the same way, marriages require consistent effort, attention and devotion.This is achieved by daily cultivation of kindness, forgiveness, time together, encouragement, and various other virtues (1 Corinthians 13; Galations 5:22-23). And like stubborn eyebrows or hangnails, we must also pluck out anger, bitterness, selfishness, rudeness, jealousy, dishonesty, pride, and any other negative dispositions that effect our mentalities towards our marriages. When we pluck out the bad, the good has a better chance to thrive and shine!
We will only see growth in our marriage when we are devoted to each other through consistency, not circumstantially. Yes, it's easy to enjoy marriage when things are going your way, but devotion says, "no matter what, I'm taking care of my body. I'm taking care of my marriage, because I am devoted to it. It's a gift from God and the only one I desire to have, so I must treasure it and invest my time and energy into it"!
We pamper ourselves and give ourselves TLC, so we should do the same in our marriages! Such
devotion is always worth the effort and time. If you are married, pray with your spouse that the two of you become more devoted to one another. If you are single, use your time of preparation to gain maturity in serving, giving and putting others first. It's good practice, because a healthy and thriving marriage is based on such things!
Blessings for your heart!
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