Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
I hardly recognized myself. There I stood screaming in my my kitchen, words pouring out of my mouth, like lava from erupting volcano. All around me felt buried in ash. My, husband returned the heat and I felt that we had turned down a dark road, unknown. I crumpled to the floor in the midst of the ash pile and wept...
He's my very best friend. I would never intentionally hurt him. We made it to the alter after 20 years of friendship. We have stood by each other and with one another through the seasons of Good, Bad, Ugly and Outright Foolishness.
We have only been married for ten years...and the day he slipped the engagement ring on my finger, my best friend turned into my enemy without me even understanding how or why.
When I say the enemy with regard to my husband, I mean to say, more accurately, the one who suddenly became The One. The One that was supposed to have all the answers, The One who was supposed to read my mind, The One who was supposed to make all my dreams come true. OK, seriously, I did not actually say that, or even realize that I was expecting more from my husband than he could give. I came to realize in this one transaction called marriage, something so many refuse to see. See, before we were married, being friends for so long allowed me to see clearly the way the enemy connives in the lives of those set on marrying before and during marriage.
What changed? My best friend, was now a friend I had to ...cough, choke, gag- submit to. Huh? Wait, there's more. In my wildest imagination, I dreamed of marriage and how easy it would be to "submit" to my Prince Charming. Because he of course, would be perfect. Oh, stop snickering, you believed the same lies, I am so sure. Before I married and lived with my hubby, we had a great friendship. A lasting friendship, and in it, God showed me a lot about lasting relationships, authentic friendship and commitment.
My Hub (friend at the time) and I did something needful to survive in life and community with others. We were committed to our relationship. It happened over time. We grew and built upon it. We were bold and honest with one another. Eventually we shared the skeletons in our closet, and took them out to dance together before dismembering and throwing them away.
Becoming one, is a beautiful process, beyond a physical experience .
We held our dreams and hopes tenderly and supported on another. We walked and talked, and drank lots of coffee together. We confided in one another. We became the safe place for each other. What we had before we married was what was needful and is needful for relationships to survive the daily grind, time and tedium and attacks of the enemy. We mutually submitted to one another, and were committed to our friendship through all seasons. There were seasons when we were closer, by design, and others more distant. But the port remained open for the ship to safely find shelter in the harbor of this commitment.
We are opposite in many ways. Yet we have this common core, our commitment and mutual submission to one another.
The third and most important thing that we have is our commitment to Christ who inextricably brought us to Himself and then to one another in accordance with His will. Which I still don't always understand.
The enemy seeks to strike these things and in our current season as we go through a difficult trial, the enemy strives to destroy that which God has given to us which is precious in His sight.
I cling to the fact that what God has brought together, no man can destroy. No man and no enemy. The enemy seeks to kill, maim and destroy anything that is of value to Christ. Christ values souls. Christ values the covenant of marriage. Christ values sinners who have followed Him into uncharted territory and who rely not on happily ever after or perfect circumstances but who rely on His grace, truth and mercy. Christ does not turn His back on the broken hearted, and God says that He will not despise a broken and contrite spirit.
All this to say that when the enemy strikes your marriage, in order keep it from being a casualty of the schemes sent your way, Consider these things:
1. Your individual commitment to God-I became a Christian later in life as did my hubby. We have a history before and after. But, my commitment to my individual walk with God is also the key for me not wanting to smash the wedding China and runaway from home. But sometimes I do entertain the idea. Which leads me to the saving grace of number two.
2. Your commitment to one another- Whenever I am angry or feeling misunderstood, and contemplating action, one of the things that really helps me with perspective is considering my best friend's feelings. How can I feel good when my best friend is hurting? How can I hurt my best friend? Our friendship is a constant when I feel our marriage is on the rocks! Go figure. It keeps the ship firmly docked in turbulent times.
3. Your ability and willingness to mutually submit to one another- The self is sacrificed on the alter of marriage, in a way that it is not destroyed but able to be more beautifully revealed. Marriage is truly and act of daily dying but not in a way that brings death. It brings life, beauty and blessing. I'm still learning, and so is my hub, but we have a history behind us, a future glory awaiting us and Christ in the present moment before us, leading us to number 4.
4. Your Covenant before Christ - A covenant is God initiated, and as so, also is God maintained. If God is for you and your spouse, nothing can separate what He has joined.
It all begins and ends with God, doesn't it?
You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me.
Lord, you made marriage, for your own glory. You have made everything for yourself, to reveal your perfection and beauty, and we belong to you. Help us to learn your ways, which are above our ways. That we might be wholly submitted to you, the One True Living God.
May we not forsake that which you consecrate and call together in holy union.
Let us be as little, needy children, desiring your grace and truth now and forever.
Bless our marriages, give us humility and a desire to serve, not grudgingly but with reverence. That which is unseen, is eternal, let our hope remain in You alone.
In Jesus name, Amen.
Linking with Michelle for Hear It, Use it; Inspire Me Monday @ Create with Joy; Timewarp Wife; Cornerstone Confessions, Soli deo Gloria @ Finding Heaven, Juana Mikels for Wednesday Prayer Girls & Link Up.