Our single digit story begins
My SAMM and I have been married for 7 years. We are still celebrating our single-digit achievements and in many ways we are still working out the kinks, hang-ups and stick-ups of being married. Neither one of us would be willing to claim that we have a perfect marriage. Neither one of us would even be willing to declare it idyllic or picture-perfect. There are probably wiser, more experienced, more successful couples out there who could give sage advice, but we have learnt so much in our time together that I fear I might explode if I do not share with you the joys, trials, woes and the wonderfuls of what being married is to me (and us).
Just as I met with teenage angst, anger and attitude; my mother was met with the trials and challenges of being a single parent after a divorce. Despite a good relationship with my father, I have very few recollections of ‘happy marriage‘ in our home. I do, however, have a very well defined understanding of what happens when marriage doesn’t work. I know from early on that I DEFINITELY did not want a broken marriage but I had no understanding of how to put a successful marriage together.
And then I met my SAMM. His parents are celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary this year. For him there was (and is) no question – marriage was designed to last.
So here’s what happened…
He pursued me and I established parameters of independence and self-reliance. He tried to lead and protect and I tried to prove that I could do it all on my own. We fought wars of territory, testosterone and self-righteousness. We were apparently determined to be two strong-willed, independent people linked by bank accounts and a marriage certificate.
I was led around my myths from the big screen, personal assumptions and gross ignorance. I knew nothing of successful relationships yet never even tried to read a book or question a friend about growing, nurturing and sustaining my marriage. Until a friend (older, married, mother) shook all my preconceptions out of a stale-heart that was in desperate need of a reawakening. (You can catch up on this story here.)
So what now?
I finally realised that:
- We (woman) are designed to be pursued, romanced and adored. We aren’t brainwashed into these feelings by Hollywood and fairy tales – NO! Our Father created us with these qualities and longings in our hearts. That still is great news for me. This simple truth set me free to shake off the burden of self-reliance, self-protection and self-preservation. I could finally admit that I wanted to be loved, adored and protected BY MY HUSBAND. This desire didn’t make me weak, it made me ‘woman’ as God designed me to be.
- We can’t be two separate people in one marriage. We needed to be two complimentary people committed to the same marriage. We needed to find a routine, a dance, that allowed both of us to add our strengths and capabilities to the pot of our marriage to give it an opportunity to become the relationship God offers us. This meant that I need to relinquish my attempts at leadership to concentrate on other areas like supporting, honouring and loving MY HUSBAND. In turn, he has stepped up as a strong, reliable and wise leader for our family.
- Honour, respect and support is not archaic or out-dated. The concept is foreign because it isn’t often modeled in the relationships around us or encourage by a world focused on self-gratification, self-reliance, self-destruction. If our marriages are to be successful then we need to make RADICAL changes, we need to implement UNCONVENTIONAL strategies and pursue INNOVATIVE techniques that will strengthen our marriages and our partners while disarming the enemy at EVERY opportunity.
- Love is more than butterflies. I suppose I am lucky in a sense because my SAMM still gets my motor racing but our marriage cannot be built on the assumption that the butterflies have enough wing-power to carry us the distance. We needed to learn that love is about putting the needs and desires of your partner ahead of your own selfish ‘wants’. Not because love needs to be pathetic or wimpy in any way but because LOVE IS POWERFUL ENOUGH to facilitate change. Change in our hearts, change in our lives and change in our world.
Here’s what I know for sure
Marriage isn’t for weaklings or wimps. We need to fight for this beautiful institution that allows us to bring honour and glory to God as we pool the balance of our separate selves to become what He called us to be. Man and woman | husband and wife.
Being married might at times take work and commitment but it is a RICH blessing that continues to give much more than it demands. It gives us opportunity to find a true sense of self and belonging, it is an opportunity for a life-time friendship, a chance to love and serve not because you have to but because you WANT to. It is an opportunity for us (ladies) to be open our hearts to romance and passion and intimacy.
My SAMM and I aren’t experts by any stretch of the imagination. But we ARE convinced of the value and joy of marriage. We ARE committed to succeed more than we fail. We ARE ready to encourage other single-digit couples to pursue God, prioritise each other and commit to a marriage that is MORE, DEEPER and STRONGER than any story ever told on the big screen.
My single digit perspective
“A good woman is hard to find, and worth far more than diamonds. Her husband trusts her without reserve, and never has reason to regret it. Never spiteful, she treats him generously all her life long. ” Prov 31:10 (MSG)
I want to be a GOOD woman. I will remember that I AM worth more than diamonds because my Father says it is SO. I want to be a BLESSING to my husband and my daughter. I want to be GENEROUS, KIND and TRUSTWORTHY. I really simply want to be all these things and more because I resolutely believe that God wants this for you and me.
Single-digit-novice, double-digit-expert or triple-digit-sage; learn where you are now. Change what you can now. Be all that you can be now.
We really don’t have the perfect marriage. But we do have a WONDERFUL, BLESSED marriage because God opened our eyes and hearts to the possibility of love and relationship beyond ourselves.
Fix your coffee, take a breather, mull over it and let me know what you thought of this Cuppa!I would love to hear your thoughts on marriage, relationships, romance and God’s design.