Tomorrow (June 7) Jay and I will be married for seven months. It’s crazy to believe that just a couple months ago we were in the Dominican Republic standing before our friends and family, sharing our vows and becoming one.
It’s been a very stretching journey thus far. We have accomplished many firsts in this short span of time. We’ve learned what triggers us to annoyance and we’ve also learned what makes us feel the most loved. Though some of the lessons come from failures, I am thankful that we get to spend the rest of our lives learning together.
As I reflect on these past seven months of married life, I’d like to share some life principles that have challenged me to become not just a better wife but, a better person with a purpose.
1. Jesus is better.
I love Jay, and I am so grateful that God handpicked him for me. I cannot imagine doing life with anyone but him. I’ve learned to trust Jay with my deepest darkest secrets and have watched him extend forgiveness, gracefully. I am thankful that he chooses to love me beyond my imperfections. He’s a godly man.
(There’s some valuable truth I’ve learned on that simple statement.)
He is Godly, but, he is not God.
Though Jay is a tool of sanctification in my life, I need to constantly remind myself that I need God more. I need God to help me love unconditionally. I need Him to teach me how to forgive quickly. I need God to be a godly wife. Truth is that marriage shows me my love for Christ must be supreme.
Our God is greater; and it is not enough to see Jesus as simply being “better” than what came before Jay. He is more than better; He is the best.
2. It’s not about me anymore.
Marriage is wonderful. There are many sweet benefits that come with this package; then, there are also some sour patches that bring us back to reality.
It’s all butterflies and rainbows until we let our selfishness slip in.
The enemy of harmony and unity is selfish ambition. It quickly divides us.
I can remember one of the first “discussions” Jay and I had to have. I’m sure he wouldn’t mind me sharing, especially because he says we aren’t the only ones who have struggled with this.
Before we got married I’d sleep facing the wall and covered from head to toe with my little teddy right beside me. I like to sleep comfortably. I like to be warm and I absolutely love to cuddle.The first time I put my cold feet on Jay’s warm legs he screamed. “Fina put some socks on!” Then I tried cuddling with him, and while being half awake he said, “Fina I’m hot.” I laugh about it now but took it so personal then. We had to learn to consider each other’s needs. To compromise. (Philippians 2:3-4) (Which is still a work in progress.)
It’s not just about my preferences but what would best work for us. Considering one another in love and not seeking selfish ambition. Some days we cuddle, some days we sleep facing opposite sides. But that doesn’t change the fact that we love each other.
3. Pick and Choose Your Battle.
When infatuation fades away, real love begins.
– Claire Huxtable
The first couple weeks of marriage were a bliss. Everything was so surreal. We had finally arrived to the moment we were anticipating for a long time. We were married. No longer had to say goodnight and go opposite directions. We went to sleep together, woke up together, went to work and got out together.
Everything we did, we did it together.
The more settled we got, the more comfortable we became with each other. The way that we pursued each other while dating had soon faded.
I was starting to become that dripping faucet wife (Proverbs 27:15) that I promised I wouldn’t be. The smallest things would upset me. There was one time Jay said to me, ” I don’t want to fight anymore. ” He said those words in the most weary voice I’ve ever heard. It crushed me.
I didn’t confront Jay in love when he would mess up on these little things. I would fuss, fight, and nag him. That was my way of “communicating and confronting.” Not healthy for either of us. But, just as we make the decision to pick and choose our spouse, we have the choice to pick and choose our battles. And as we do that we communicate in a healthy manner.
1. Inquire and Listen
2. Don’t get angry, ASK
4. Love Vulnerably.
Love is such a powerful word. We tend to throw it around like nothing completely neglecting it’s true meaning.
C.S. Lewis said it best: “To love at all is to be vulnerable”
I’m gaining a better picture of God’s love through marriage. The Gospel has been so clear and evident through this entire journey. I am learning what true love really looks like. It’s not just saying I love you during the infatuation phase but, saying I’m sorry when all you want to do is run out of the bedroom and sleep on the couch. It’s learning to be completely honest with your spouse even if that means he needs some time alone. It’s learning to stay silent and trust your husband’s leading. It’s being encouraging when you yourself need it.
“To love at all is to be vulnerable,” and to be vulnerable is not a sign of weakness but a sign of God’s strength.
5. Savor the Adventure.
One of the biggest things that attracted me to Jay was his personality. He is very outgoing, enthusiastic, wise, and spontaneous. I knew that with him, life itself would be an adventure.
A couple months before Jay and I got married Jay and I began to pray individually for our future. As we prayed The Lord really begin to stir our hearts. We shared with one another what The Lord revealed in our hearts and I knew that we were entering a time of transition. At the time we were working with Word of Life Bible Institute in Florida, and I told him, “This is our last year here.”
I felt it deep in my heart that change was coming, and not just in marriage but also in ministry.
I am writing this blog from our new home in Brandon. Tomorrow is our first day as family pastors in Centerpoint Church of Florida in Valrico. If someone would’ve told me that I would be married and a pastor’s wife at age 23, I would’ve laughed at them. But truly God has been so good. Life has been a sweet adventure and I am learning to savor each and every moment. I am ending with a sweet promising verse that has encouraged me in this season of life. I hope it is a blessing to you as much as it has been to me.
Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.