I believe life unfolds according to our belief systems.
Before I met Kris, I dreamed of what my future marriage would be like. I had hopes of having a loving, adoring marriage. But, as I grew older I saw that happy marriages were harder and harder to find. Many marriages seemed to either be ending in divorce or were unhappily together for the sake of religion or the children.
The biblical concept of submitting to one another seemed suffocating to me. I thought, “Why would God command women to submit to the authority of a man? Especially if he isn’t a good husband?”
I wondered if I could ever marry. How would I find someone I could trust to have the same character over time? How could I trust myself to stay loving and committed if my needs and desires weren’t being met anymore? Marriage started seeming less like a fairytale and more like a death sentence.
I thought, “Maybe it’s better not to marry. I can do the long term relationship thing with the freedom to leave whenever I want. And I’ll have more leverage that way. After all, what motivation does a guy have to continue romancing you and to be kind and loving if he’s already locked you down?”
I couldn’t stand hearing couples say, “Marriage takes a lot of work.” That sounded so unromantic and blah to me.
I’m an idealist. I wondered if a marriage could ever stay ideal. My thoughts boiled down to this:
Was it realistic to believe marriage could be in a honeymoon phase forever? And if not, was I even interested in the idea of marriage for my life?
Today is Kris and I’s four year wedding anniversary and we are still in love, still dote and are still kind to each other.
As I was reflecting on these four years, our relationship, and what we have built, I realized everyone can have this kind of love with the right person, a shared belief on love, and intention.
- God did not create the idea of love and marriage for us to suffer. He created it to emulate the covenant He made with us. Christ is the pursuer and men are called to emulate His pursuit for us. Kris shows me this kind of love and pursuit, and in turn I am compelled to respect him.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. Ephesians 5:25
Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Ephesians 5:24
- You don’t have to repeat family cycles of divorce or unhealthy marriages. You can have the kind of marriage and love that brings you life, that is exciting to wake up to and that compels you to be a better woman.
This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! 2 Corinthians 5:17
- You don’t have to live according to the world’s twisted, sad thoughts, and statistics on marriage. As a believer in Christ, we are partakers of His divine nature and get to dwell in the Kingdom of God while on earth. Being a Christian doesn’t just mean going to heaven after you die. No, you get to abide in the Kingdom and bring a foretaste of Heaven to earth now. That includes flourishing in your self-worth, your calling, relationships, marriage, and parenthood.
His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. Through these He has given us His precious and magnificent promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, now that you have escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. 2 Peter 1:4
- Kris and I do not say maintaining our marriage “takes work.” We say it takes intention. The reason is because if you are proactive from the beginning in nurturing the love you share, it shouldn’t feel like work. The key is not to neglect your marriage long enough that you are forced into reaction mode.
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. 1 Peter 5:8-9
- Marriage can be whatever you want it to be. The idea of love is different for each person. For instance, my idea of love looks like a fairytale full of adoration, kindness and romance. One of my former boyfriend’s idea of love was…not that. I remember commenting on couples who would embarrass each other or snap at each other. He thought it was totally normal and okay. He’d say, “What do you mean? They love each other.” I thought, “Uhh, that is not what I want love to look like in marriage.”
In order to have a beautiful marriage, you must both be on the same page with what your ideas of love looks like.
I decided that a marriage should never have to leave the “honeymoon stage” if both parties are intentional about maintaining it.
Whatever you decide on a matter, it will be established for you, and light will shine on your ways. Job 22:28
I hope this encourages you whether you are single, dating, engaged or married. The “honeymoon phase” doesn’t have to die. Your marriage can be whatever you want it to be, whatever your ideal is.
The kind of marriage you have all starts with the belief you hold about it. Next is choosing to partner with someone who shares the same vision on love and marriage. Lastly, you are equally committed to nurturing that love every day.
That’s not to say you won’t have challenges come up or different seasons of your relationship. Conflict is always inevitable. But the way we choose to handle it will either strengthen our marriages or tear them apart.
A happy marriage is possible. The “honeymoon phase” four years into marriage is possible. Decide what you believe. Study the Word of God on marriage. Partner with a person who agrees. You can have a beautiful marriage too.