Monday, June 23, 2014

The Gift of Marriage

I found myself reflecting about how much fun marriage is several days ago. It is literally one of the best adventures that I have ever been on!

It caused me to reflect on how important our dating experience was for my husband and my relationship. When we were dating we had very clear boundaries. These boundaries were in place in order for us to focus on our communication, our relationship with God, and others, as well as keep us both pure & blameless before God.

We were very careful to never make compromises in any way and I am very glad that we stuck to them! One of the reasons why I am glad that our boundaries were never compromised was because I can see now looking back how it built trust in our relationship. I knew that he truly loved me when we removed ourselves from possible compromising situations or places just to ensure our own foundation would not crumble. We even went as far as inconveniencing ourselves just so our example screamed Gods purity & protection.

Unfortunately others at the time proclaimed that it just meant that we were working that much harder to hide ourselves but this was the furthest from the truth. There will always be someone or groups of people that will not believe the example that you are setting. Countless couples have told us of similar claims and have described pain and heartache from the slanderous claims of others. But the most amazing thing about the truth is that no matter what, no matter the negative people, God will bless you and your spouse. Do not let those lies get you down because you are showing just how much you love each other by remaining pure.

At the same time keeping boundaries and remaining pure during a relationship reveals a selfless heart. Whenever any person attempts to push the limits this is never love and is very selfish. If you are a selfish person (many of us have this to some degree) marriage will be very difficult. Marriage is selflessly giving of yourself to your spouse. This does not always come naturally at times. In fact this can be very hard. But this is an area of growth that God will consistently work on.

In a loving marriage, the desire to give of yourself to that person should naturally grow as the years go by. I have experienced this just the short amount of time that I have been married. In fact marriage keeps on getting better and it is so much more fun than dating! Many people tell me the opposite. But I have experienced the joy, freedom, and immeasurable love that is intended to be a part of a relationship. It is supposed to portray Gods heart for us. His love never runs out and the depth of His heart for us goes on for eternity.

It is also the most fun when the physical perks enhance the emotional and spiritual perks/gifts that make a relationship with your spouse. Here is a list I put together of some of these perks/gifts that come with marriage:

The freedom to make out (we didn't do this while dating)

Holding hands anywhere and everywhere

Not having to watch where your hands are in an embrace

Living together

Staying overnight at friend’s homes & hotels (no brainer right?  When we dated we never stayed under the same roof overnight even to visit others)

Sex (One of the most beautiful gifts from God in a marriage. It truly is amazing)

Sleeping and lying in the same bed (Our first intimate experience like this was on our wedding night)

Staying up late into the morning just talking (we even were cautious how late we were out together in our dating relationship)

Being able to boldly check each other out

Going out on weekly dates (dating doesn't end after marriage) 

Reading Song of Songs (we saved reading this book of the Bible until our wedding night)

The list above could go on (feel free to add your own in the comments below or email them to me if you would like).

I have realized that if there have been any physical compromises made during dating then marriage may be a little disappointing to you. Let’s be honest here. If you open up presents early, it takes the excitement level down in large percentages. It also hinders your relationship with your spouse later down the road. Marriage is not easy. It is both, husband and wife, giving 100% to one another. It is hard work! To add compromise as the foundation of how you first began causes a weak foundation. Add issues from that weak foundation with the issues that will arise from other things and marriage will be that much tougher.

But do not fret if compromises took place or your beginning did not go very well. God is in the redeeming business and He is the best one at it! As long as both of you are willing to follow Him with all that you are and not just listen but also obey, your marriage will rock. Given, there will be tough times but it is worth all of the hard work.

If one of you compromised yourself (or perhaps both of you did) before marriage also know that in Christ you are not the same person. You have been made whole and complete again (2 Corinthians 5:17). I believe wholeheartedly that God restores virginity as well as heals the emotional and mental scars that come with it, when one offers their entire being to God. Full surrender and passion for God will bring joy and healing into what was once given away or stolen.

God is so good at what He does! Believe in His miraculous handiwork. Allow your heart to always be open to God transforming every area of your life. When you do this together as a couple, your marriage will reflect God’s heart.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8a

"Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 
                                                                                                                                Love never ends."

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