People sometimes joke their spouse will be the death of them; mine really is, and I’m glad.
My husband Nick and I met and married in three months. I’m sure people assumed I was pregnant, I wasn’t. I just felt ready. I knew exactly the kind of man I wanted to marry (seriously, I had a list), and Nick exceeded my expectations. He sort of came at me like a freight train and, even though I was a little off guard, I was totally smitten.
We were ready
I cared very little about the details of our wedding. We even considered just going to the courthouse but the very idea sent my mother into a panic. In retrospect, I’m glad we had a wedding, it was awesome, and if I could parade around like a princess in my wedding dress every day I would… in fact I am wearing it right now. You know I’m kidding right? Back to the wedding… in 3 months we met, we got engaged, and got married (I think we went on a date too, but I honestly can’t remember if we were already engaged at the time). It was fast, but I was ready, and now looking back, I had been ready for years, and so had he.
Not that we were desperately seeking soul mates or anything, but I had decided long before meeting Nick that when I got married I would not stay married until death separated us, I would stay married because death united us.
Marriage isn’t about two separate lives coming together and hoping to beat the odds and somehow make it work, marriage is about two people dying and becoming one flesh.
“That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh”. Gen 2:24
God intended marriage to include total unity. The price of unity is death.
We were wrecked.
Our first year of marriage was really hard. To say we argued a lot doesn’t really describe what was going on in our heart and in our home. I felt lonely, needy, clingy, and I let my mind dream of a non-existent man who could bear the weight of my emotional baggage. I was dying. Nick felt suffocated, tricked, trapped, and frustrated that I wasn’t more of what he needed and less of what he could do without. He was dying. On more than one occasion I stormed out of our house with an empty suitcase, loaded it up in the car, and drove around the block until I remembered I had no place else to go. (Yeah, living on an island that first year was definitely God’s plan.) I always hoped my theatrics would entice Nick to run after me, desperate to make things right, he never did. I hated him for it. I was dying. Nick closed himself off emotionally and retreated to an office full of books and void of the constant dripping that was his new bride. He longed for days of old, when he could surf every day, leave his clothes on the floor, and eat what he wanted, when he wanted it. He wished I wasn’t so needy and emotional, and he hated me for it. He was dying. Death is sometimes painful to experience and is always painful to watch.
But there were days we woke up dead. Those days were different.
We were different. On those days we were a team, but not just a team, more like an impenetrable force to be reckoned with. It was powerful, bigger than us, stronger somehow. We were better together, we were one, and we magnified the Lord as one.
O magnify the LORD with me, And let us exalt His name together. Psalm 34:3
Some will say we just needed time, but the truth is what we needed was Jesus. We needed Jesus to shed blood on our selfishness, to cover the multitude of our sins with His love, and to give us a new perspective on unity in marriage. We needed to learn that unity in this life was possible if we are willing to die for it.
Seven years and two kids later our marriage is perfect. We never fight, he always loves me, I always respect him, our children are insanely cute (at least that part is true- see pic). The problem isn’t even that our marriage isn’t perfect, the problem is that we are not perfect, so we die and let Christ rule in our heart and in our home. There are still days when our marriage is threatened by that man and woman we thought we’d killed…our former selves. So we kill them again, and again, and again, and each time we do, the bonds of our marriage are strengthened by the God in our heart. There is no unity without death, only a battle of the wills.
So, is it worth it? Heck yeah it’s worth it. He is worth it, I am worth it, we are worth it, but more importantly, God is worth it.
See God created marriage as a picture of His union with the church. The church united by His death. Sometimes it seems as though the gates of hell are set to destroy marriage and families, but by God’s grace, the gates of hell will not prevail.
It’s worth it…if you are willing to die.
To the married reader:
I hope you die. I hope you die every day, twice, maybe three times a day if that’s what it takes to strengthen the bonds of unity. I hope you lay down your life and fight for your spouse, because you are stronger together. Even in your weakness, as you submit to God’s will, He will be strong on your behalf.
To the unmarried reader:
Whether you are divorced or never married, I hope you die. I hope you die every day, and are united with Christ in heart and mind. And if you do marry, I hope you are prepared to wake up dead to be united to your spouse.
When marriage is the death of you, something far more powerful survives.
If you need prayer for your marriage, lack of marriage (single gals :0) ), or want to share a testimony of how God united you and your spouse through the death of your self, please leave a comment. I love to hear from you.
Praying for you this week, for your marriages, that they would be radical, restored, and resilient. And please, pray for mine too. This is how we change the world.