My husband and I are celebrating our five year anniversary. In some ways it seems new. Like we got married yesterday. And in other ways, knowing him feels like knowing every last word to my favorite song.
I cannot expect to become the woman God wants me to be by being a lady in waiting in the way the fairytales paint the picture. God made me for so much more than that, and He wants me to become a woman after His own heart. God’s top priority is not giving me what I want, it is making me into who He wants.
The part that most people tend to overlook is that we are to submit to one another. We found that we appreciate each other so much more when we serve one another and share everyday responsibilities instead of merely focusing on our own. So my husband washes the dishes. I do too. Usually I cook. Sometimes he cleans. He pulls weeds. I mow the lawn. I do a load of laundry, then he does. We are careful not to assign jobs based on gender roles because we know being husband and wife isn’t about who works indoors and who works outdoors. It's a mirror of Christ and the church.
Deep inside our hearts is a longing to be loved - a longing that’s not sinful. In fact, it’s a longing that God has placed within us. But if we’re not careful to lay this longing down before our Lord, it quickly turns into a craving. Dannah calls it the “Violent Craving.” She writes in her book, “I believe that every daughter of Eve is burdened by both a Craving for a husband and a rebellion against God’s design for marriage.” It was the Fall that warped the good and beautiful longing for love into a violent craving and created in us a spirit of defiance.
We sent some Q&A to some of our favorite couples to get their advice on life, love, and keeping God at the center of it all, including... what qualities did you look for in a husband? What's your best advice to young women in dating relationships?What's your best advice for those pursuing sexual purity?
A generation of girls made an abstinence pledge with the doe-eyed hope of a passionate wedding night only to discover their new husbands (who often were virgins themselves) had no clue what they were doing. Depending on how good your communication with your new spouse was, this night could still end up being sort of what you hoped and dreamed for. But, it could also end in frustration. Your first sexual encounter, what you had been waiting for and saving yourself for, could seem to be a disappointment.
The Purity Movement of the 1990s and early 2000s encouraged women, like myself, to save sex for marriage. Unfortunately, sometimes the message sounded more like this:it’s wrong to be sexual.
Rather than looking forward to their honeymoons, women felt like their sexuality was a bad thing, and these same women reportedly had trouble “flipping the switch” to enjoy sex in marriage. It’s no wonder! They perceived sex as bad for so long that they continued to do so, even after they tied the knot.
Let me do you a favor and clear that up right now. Sex is NOT bad. It is good… in the right context.
We’ve all had days when life won’t let up. Days when when our circumstances just seem to drag us down. Days when we feel the brokenness of our world so keenly. On these days, the despair threatens to swallow us up. Our circumstances bring feelings of loneliness. Hopelessness. Negativity. Anger. Defeat. Stress. Rejection. Anxiety. Shame. Fear. Bitterness. Our emotions can blind us and tell us lies about our circumstances. It’s only when we encounter Jesus, the Truth, that we can be set free from these lies.
Is there marriage in heaven? If it is such a good and beautiful thing, shouldn’t it last for all of eternity? I was always puzzled and upset by Jesus’ response. My idea of the perfect fairytale had me believing that marriage was the ultimate.
As Christians, we are all stretched to grow and mature in our faith, but we aren't meant do it alone. We need Christian community to encourage and challenge us.