Struggle in marriage and Victory in Christ


The other day Ben and I were reflecting. Back when we began marriage preparations we read a book we loved. Its unfortunate I can't remember the name right now (fail), essentially it was on the first year of marriage. The book talked about how crucial it was to work out problems in that first year, to not be willing to remain quiet when something really hurt you and talked about different aspects of life. From time management, to in-laws, to sex, the book covered quite a bit of it.

That book was referenced continually that first year and for us, really allowed us to work through some incredibly hard conversations.

When the first year was over, be both sighed a big sigh of relief. We made it! That incredibly hard first year was now over and we were on to pure easy-life bliss. (I can see some of you couples married for 20/30 years laughing now.)

I would say that sensation lasted about 3 months. Maybe. We still were working through struggles even after that first year, and a few months after that first year mark, we got the exciting news we were going to have a baby. It was planned as much as anything else is, but I don't know how aware we were of all the hardships this would bring.

In the car yesterday, I asked Ben if he thought the first or second year has been hardest. He thinks the first-I think the second. I made the comment that it seems like all the stuff we had to go through that first year was small refinements, where as this year its felt like fire. We've had some incredible stuff to overcome.

Ben replied "Yeah, but we wouldn't have been able to handle this last year. And now we can."

The more I reflect on that, the more I see the wisdom in Ben. I easily forget that first year. The 'little' fights that lasted for 30-45 minutes past their time because we simply did not know how to communicate love for each other. The first year was a million refinements.  A zillion apologies.

This year? There's still a zillion apologies. But, we've learned/are learning the concept of identifying the problem (which is usually brought on by ourselves), rather than blaming the problem on the other person. We're learning to see it in light of everything else. We've had moments when both of us realize "This is God allowing us to love each other better." and moments when we realize "this is because we're tired and we need to just extend grace."

We're learning the significance of bringing God into the conversation in the beginning, rather than at the end.

I like writing about how awesome marriage is on this blog. Because it is. But to say its easy, or even all the time 'fun,' is a lie.

 However, looking at that handsome man that I've spent near 2 years of being his wife, and being his friend for almost 5, I'm left incredibly thankful.

I remember thinking that if we did things right, then we wouldn't face any struggles. Makes sense? That hasn't proven to  be true (although we certainly haven't done everything "right"). A lack of sin does not indicate a lack of struggle. (Although a presence of sin certainly will bring struggle.) God has allowed us to struggle-sometimes intensely-because we've decided to pushing more towards Him, and that means we welcome him to get rid of the stuff keeping us separated from Him. He's unwilling to leave our character and our hearts where they're at. He's unwilling for Ben and I to skip experiencing the deep love and appreciation of each other after we've survived struggle. And God, knowing how rich it is when two people move towards each other past hurt, and choose to love each other because of their relationship with Christ and the value they place on one another-well, he makes sure we get to experience that.

I would say that for a good majority of my life I have intellectually believed in Christ on a pretty constant basis. My heart, however would often times waver. This year has allowed me to cling to Christ with my heart even when it doesn't 'make sense.' He has shown up and proven that he is trustworthy, that he doesn't leave in times of struggle and he delights in making all things new. I don't think I was convinced he was 'for me,' as in fighting on my [like Brittany Sprague-individually] behalf, until this year. I am now convinced of it. God has worked good in every situation-often times in different ways than I had expected-but I have at the end seen it was most certainly the best. He's done well. He knows me and where I need to be and he has ensured he brings me there.

I have a deeper understanding that God is a whole lot bigger than any trial I could ever face-because he's already overcome things in my life that I thought were too big for Him. They aren't. He's won the battles and He's reigning victoriously: In our marriage, in my heart, in life. And whats so exciting is I know he's faithful to complete the work that He's started. Which means I can live without fear. It leaves me giddy.

I'm thankful that he doesn't let me or Ben stay in the sin that we sometimes are oblivious to. He's faithful to bring it out and to then allows us to practice being vulnerable in front of each other and get to experience both the weight of how it affects one another, and the freedom of forgiveness in Christ.

I think I'm growing to appreciate struggle (even in marriage) more and to even see the 'wounds' as areas of beauty. I can see how God has allowed Ben and my heart to be broken so he could reset it into the right spot. I can see how he's allowed pain to correct our posture and because of that, our responses to each other and others even outside of us has changed. 

So, I'm thankful. I'm thankful that there is no medium God can't use to bring good. 

Praise God.  

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