I want to express my thoughts very carefully today. I don’t want them to be misunderstood. So please keep an open mind and hear me out, and I will do my best to articulate my thoughts and my intentions as clearly as I possibly can.
My husband and I have a blessed marriage. As I repeated several times, this blog is about being real. I’ve written about some real challenges we’ve faced in our marriage (see Marriage and Anger or Marriage and Disappointment). We definitely experienced some communication glitches (especially during our dating stage), and we still do at times. We’ve had some external factors (such as the café trial) that brought some tough seasons into our marriage.
But as I look back on the last seven years together…I can honestly say, we have a very blessed marriage. There’s never a time either of us have felt, “I want out.” Apart from the dating stage, I don’t remember anything being so tough in our relationship that we’ve felt, “This is so hard. I don’t know how my spouse and I will get through this.” Again, we’ve had some difficult life challenges, but our bond has only grown through every challenge. We truly enjoy spending time with each other. We share everything with each other. We laugh together, a lot. Most of the time, those moments don’t involve our children. This is a common scene you’ll find in our home: Allan and I laughing our heads off about something at the dining table, and our children looking at us like, “Here they go again.” We flirt over texts and phone often, and we still can’t get enough of the kisses, hugs, and cuddles. This is not to “show off” our marriage, but to paint an honest picture of how truly, deeply we enjoy our marriage…every day.
Here is the part I want to mention but don’t want to be misunderstood. I believe, with all my heart, that this blessed marriage didn’t happen by some good luck. I believe it’s directly tied to how we honored God in our dating relationship, as well as how we continue to honor God above all else. This is not about “look how good we are,” and I certainly don’t mean to cast any judgment on other relationships. I know that God has a different story for each person/couple. I felt strongly in my heart though, that I should not be ashamed to tell our story of how God has been guiding us to keep Him first, and how much joy and blessing have come out of our very intentional journey. My hope is that this will encourage other couples (dating or married) in their journey.
I’m currently doing a Bible study on the book of James by Beth Moore. James 4:7-8 says, “Therefore, submit to God. But resist the Devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.” Here is how Beth Moore puts it: “Put your sweet self under God. Entirely.” Then the devil will flee, but he doesn’t flee from us. “He runs from God who is standing there right over us every time we submit.” What an incredible picture…and one that Allan and I can very much relate to! We submitted our relationship to God from the very beginning. Did we do everything perfectly? No. But with every possible effort, we made sure to stay under God’s covering. We honored His commands, with the biggest one being abstaining from sex until we were married. We sought after His wisdom and His guidance before making any big decision. We cried out to Him for help when we faced those communication glitches I mentioned. We sought out godly counsel through books, sermons, mentors, and pastoral counseling. Now I can look back and see – the devil that did NOT want to see God honored in our relationship ran from us, because God was standing right over us. This is still the case today, and the prayer of my heart is that we will always submit ourselves under God’s protection and guidance. This is not a one-time commitment; it’s a daily commitment. We humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God, and we’ve seen Him lift us up (1 Peter 5:6).
I want to encourage you, singles, and those who may be facing challenges in their marriage. By submitting to God, you cannot go wrong. You can’t. Maybe your partner/spouse is not willing to submit. Keep submitting yourself to God anyway, by yourself. Under His covering, you are safe. He will never let you go. You and I will stumble, yes, but we will never fall. He will never let us fall. Blessings will always follow.
Trust in the Lord and do good.
Then you will live safely in the land and prosper.
Take delight in the Lord,
and he will give you your heart’s desires.
Commit everything you do to the Lord.
Trust him, and he will help you.
He will make your innocence radiate like the dawn,
and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun.
The Lord directs the steps of the godly.
He delights in every detail of their lives.
Though they stumble, they will never fall,
for the Lord holds them by the hand.
Be encouraged, my friends, the Lord is for you…not against you.
Oh, I almost forgot, I also don’t mean to imply that there’s no hope for those who didn’t submit to God. I will always be a firm believer though, that the best blessings are experienced when we follow God 100%. It is never too late. God is the God of second, third, one-hundredth chances. Hallelujah.