’til death unites us: fighting for marriage

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.

We are willing.

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.

 

 


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In loving memory of… me, I hope

Every time someones death makes headlines, I get an opportunity to think about how I might want my world to remember me. Chances are my death won’t make headlines (unless you count Facebook) but I am certain that I will die… the statistics are alarming. That being said, thinking about life in terms of the impact I want it to have is not a bad a way to live. Life is short, and I hope to make mine count.

  • If I was a good wife, I hope they say I loved one man and loved him well. That I respected him and became a crown on his head and not a thorn in his flesh. I hope they say that I encouraged him to dream even bigger by standing beside him when times were hard. I think it’d be best if I “went” first… this might even out the score for all the times I kept him a praying man.
  • If I was a good mom, I hope they say I fought for my kids, even when it sometimes sent me to a padded room. I hope they say I sacrificed pieces of me so that my children would feel nurtured and blanketed.
  • If I was a good daughter I hope they say I eventually rescued my parents from the padded room I sent them to in my teens. I hope they say my life brought them honor and not shame. I hope they say that I was grateful and I never let them forget it.
  • If I was a good friend, I hope they say I laid down my life for them. That being my friend built them up and did not tear them down. I hope they say I smiled, even when it hurt, and challenged them to do the same. I hope they know I was sometimes silly because I’d rather see them laugh at me then not laugh at all.
  • If I was a good mentor, I hope they say I had no secrets. Instead, I lived my life an open book so that their reach far outstretched mine.
  • If I was good student, I hope they say that I listened well and didn’t waste their time. I hope they say my wish was never to be them, but to learn from them that Jesus in me was the only reflection I needed.
  • And if I had talent, I hope they say I worked my butt off to multiply it. That I didn’t settle for what was easy or natural but that I took what God gave me and did everything I could with everything I had to get better, to grow, and to go to the ends of the earth with it so that Jesus would be glorified through it.
At the end of my life, I hope God says well done, that I fought the good fight, and that I was faithful until the end.
When I started writing this, I was thinking of all the time I had to get this right before I die. Since none of us are promised tomorrow, however, I hope I live this wish list out every day, by God’s grace, starting today.
How do you want your world to remember you? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear.