When I received the good news today that my niece is engaged to be married…I started thinking about all the things I’ve learned over the past year. The lessons are many from falling in love, to being engaged, planning a wedding, going on a honeymoon, starting a life together, packing, moving and buying a home to name a few.
So that I might pass along some of the things I’ve learned, remember where I came from and how far the Lord has brought me…I thought I’d write to my precious niece as she begins a new adventure in her life.
Our circumstances are much different in many ways. My niece is young and will soon be starting college. I on the other hand was 49 years old when I got engaged after many years of being single. But there are challenges both of us will face and nuggets of gold that we will find along the way. I don’t want to waste what I’ve learned through hard lessons or forget God’s faithfulness.
There is so much to tell…I hardly know where to begin. But I think I’ll start at the most important and critical element to brave any marriage. That is to make sure that as a Christian you are equally yoked with a fellow Christian. It makes all the difference in the world. At this point…I can’t even imagine what it would be like to marry an unbeliever.
I can’t tell you how often I thank God for the prayers He said no to. Those times when my heart went pitter patter and I prayed that this one might be the one I would marry, but God said “No”. Thank You Lord…for Your “No’s!
Marriage…as good as it is…is a whole lot of work. More than you can ever imagine. On occasion…I’ll have people ask me if it’s been hard being married after being single for 49 years. My answer and my husband’s answer is a loud resounding “Yes”!
Marriage is wonderful…and I thank God daily for my husband. But I’ve got to tell you…I’m glad I didn’t know just how much work it was going to be…otherwise I might have gotten cold feet. But I’m glad I was relatively ignorant because if I had waited too long I would have missed seeing God at work in our marriage and in changing and conforming both of us in to the man and woman He desires. Marriage is just one of the tools God may use to change us.
Because marriage is a lot hard work, that never ends, in the middle of deep, heartfelt emotions…you need to make sure that you are marrying a man of godly character. That godliness and character, needs to come from a man who loves the Lord, knows and seeks God. One who knows he gives an account to God for how he acts, what he says and even what he thinks in the inward part of his soul.
You need a man with whom you can pray…both together and individually. Someone who will be faithful to lift you up in prayer. Someone who has a tender heart for God and who yields to the convicting power of the Holy Spirit.
I don’t care if you are marrying one of the kindest, nicest men that you know. At the end of the day…you are marrying a human being. One, who just like you, is sinful and carries the baggage, pain and hurts that life throws at us. Those scars come out when we are tired, hungry, angry, hurt, lonely, insecure and prideful to name a few.
As husband and wife we see each other at our best and worst…and everything in between. We see each other without our game face on. It’s not long before you start to see the inward person that the world really doesn’t see.
I married a man who is one of the kindest, most humble and gentle men that I know. Yet I didn’t marry Jesus. But thankfully I did married a man who loves Jesus Christ and is growing in his relationship with the Lord. Likewise…my husband didn’t get a guarantee when he ask me to be his bride…that everyday would be a breeze. There are day I’m sure it feels more like he married a category 5 hurricane named Susan.
But the one thing that we do have is Jesus Christ at the center of our marriage. That means that we both have Jesus Christ within us. That God is at work in each of us conforming us into the likeness of His Son. We have the Holy Spirit who convicts us of sin, guides and directs our steps as we yield to Him.
We both know God’s word and what He says about marriage. We hunger and thirst for the word of God which He uses to cleanse us and grow us as individuals and as a couple.
That only holds true if you are both believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. Even then…you are going to have your bad times. The times when you are exhausted beyond measure and so tired that you don’t even want to try anymore. That’s where prayer comes in.
God is so amazing and so faithful to answer our prayers. It’s amazing to see God at work in our relationship…as He works in both of us, helping us to yield to His will and plan.
As Christians…we have the firm foundation of God’s word. It’s unchanging and the Bible is the ultimate source of authority in our lives. We have our church and fellow believers who hold us accountable, who pray for us and encourage us in our marriage. We receive godly council from friends and family and from various ministries who share what God says in His word about marriage, family and relationships.
Marriage…I wouldn’t want to begin it or keep it without Jesus Christ at the center of our marriage. I wouldn’t want to be in a marriage with someone with whom I can’t share the most important thing in my life…my God and my relationship with Him.
Dear one…I pray that you too will have a marriage build on the solid, firm foundation of Jesus Christ. May He keep you and uphold you all your days. May your marriage be a reflection of Jesus Christ and His glory and love for and His bride, the church.
July 7, 2009