Let’s be honest. Every girl daydreams about her future husband. I imagined mine would be a romantic, handsome, understanding and Godly man. My husband is all of that and more! Our wedding day was the most beautiful and magical day. Marrying Ben helped me fully grasp the meaning of the marriage between Jesus and His church, and how precious that bond is. I became Benjamin’s wife, and my world became a thousand times brighter.
We all envision marriage to be a dream come true. Let me tell you: your wedding day will be magical, and you’ll feel super prepared after reading Christian marriage books and seeking wisdom from couples you admire (like we did). But I’m here to tell you first-hand that marriage will not always be what you expect!
Prior to marriage, Ben and I never fought, and we rarely had to apologize to each other for things. We had issues come up every now and then, but we were great at communicating with each other. But when you are married, live together, and your whole life involves another person… things are different.
Through marriage I have learned that my husband is perfect for me, but he is not perfect. Sometimes he says things that unintentionally hurt my feelings. Sometimes I’m hurt by his choices. Early in our marriage these things hurt a lot, but once I realized that one of the most precious gifts in marriage is forgiveness and grace, I came to love my imperfect husband in a much deeper way. I don’t need a flawless man - I already have a flawless Savior.
Ephesians 4 tells us: “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you”. One of the most important lessons marriage has taught me is that imperfection is a gift because it gives us an opportunity to show each other grace.
When I say that my husband isn’t perfect, multiply that by 100 and that’s me. I’m not afraid to admit it! Marriage reveals your strengths and weaknesses. My marriage has definitely revealed my weakness of selfishness, and my husband’s strength of grace. At times I have been selfish with my time, my energy and my actions. I’ve failed to submit to Ben in certain aspects because of my selfish desires. But he has always forgiven me without hesitation, and I’ve learned from each mistake. God teaches us in our shortcomings! Marriage sheds light on the areas in which you need to strive to be more like Christ. I have so many areas that need refining, but I love it! It’s a humbling blessing to have a relationship that challenges you to grow.
Once you accept Jesus, you begin the journey of becoming more like Him. God will always use situations and people to challenge and strengthen you to become more Christ-like. Philippians 1:6 says: “And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Through marriage I have learned that I have a lot of growing to do, and God is moving in my marriage to refine me in the best ways.
So my husband isn’t perfect and neither am I. On top of that, life can throw some curveballs at us. Doesn’t sound like a relationship destined for success does it? Thankfully God is always good! Many people told us that “marriage is hard”, but honestly it’s not. It just takes work. That work will be hard only if you rely on your own strength. We’ve had unexpected financial problems, illness within our family, deep insecurities to work through, and extremely busy schedules that left us with little time to spend with each other. Try being selfless, loving and serving each other when you’re physically exhausted and emotionally drained…
We could have easily said “marriage is hard,” but Ben and I know that the Lord is steadfast and faithful. We relied on Him for peace, guidance, and especially strength. Because we trusted God in each trial, we were able to walk without carrying those burdens. And because of that we were able to fully and joyfully] love each other despite the circumstances.
Jesus said in Matthew 11: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” When you face trials with your friends, family, in your relationship, or as an individual, remember that life is not hard. It takes work, but it’s only hard if you rely on your strength instead of the Father’s. We aren’t meant to hold the troubles of this world. Run to Him and lay your burdens at His feet. He will give you rest.
Marriage has taught me more about Jesus in eleven months than I learned in the 2 years before I met Ben! But no matter what stage of life you’re in, God’s truth applies. Show grace, be honest about the areas that God is still refining in your heart, and rely on Him no matter what!