I´ve often wished I could travel back 16 years ago and give my "young bride self" some advice. But since that´s not possible, I love sharing what I´ve learned with others.
Recently, I had dinner with a 28 year-old friend who would love to one day be married. During our time together the conversation flowed freely about all sorts of things. Blogs. Writing. Leaving your comfort zone because God said so. Biscuits. You know, girl stuff. And then we moved on to the subject of relationships and marriage.
I shared with my friend that when I was single I thought marriage was all about finding the right partner. I thought if you find "the one," you´ll be happy, secure, and fulfilled. I do think it´s good to have a list of standards that you look for in a spouse. However, it can never be with the expectation that if you find that special someone, he´ll right all your wrongs and fill up all your insecurities. The problem with this thinking is the pressure it will eventually put on your spouse.
To expect another person to make you feel happy, secure, and fulfilled will leave you disappointed at best and disillusioned at worst. Even a great husband makes a very poor God.
Only God can settle those deep heart-needs. A man can never do this. If a husband could meet every need his wife had, we´d have no need for God. Therefore, instead of just focusing on finding the right partner, let God work on your heart to help you become the right partner. The time to start working on becoming a wife is now. Before the white dress, delicate bouquets, unity candle, bacon wrapped shrimp, and reception punch, there is some heart stuff to consider:
Getting married doesn´t instantly make you selfless... it makes you realize how very selfish you can be at times.
Getting married doesn´t make you feel loved... it makes you realize love is more of a decision you make than a feeling you feel.
Getting married doesn´t take away loneliness... it makes you realize true companionship comes not when you demand it but rather when you give it to another person.
So, what does marriage give?
A beautiful chance to make the choice to ... Laugh whether or not the jokes are funny.
Love by folding his collar over his tie every morning.
Pretend like you don´t need flowers, but delight when he buys them anyway.
Cheer him on through both failures and successes.
Tell him he´s a great man everyday.
Thank God for the privilege of being his wife.
After our time together, my friend thanked me for our talk. She said it gave her a lot to think about. To be honest, it gave me a lot to think about as well.
Dear Lord, only You can fill my heart, right my wrongs, and make me feel loved. I pray that You would show me how to keep my expectations of my husband in check. Help me to be the wife he desires. And help me to remember that marriage was never meant to make me happy all the time. Marriage is a decision to honor You by honoring the one you´ve entrusted to me to be my husband. In Jesus´ Name, Amen.