I want to share with you an honest reflection of 6 years of marriage from a wife who admits she is still learning how to be married. I love her perspective and the encouragement she shares. Her name is Felicia Walters and she blogs at fewalters.wordpress.com. If anything she says resonates with you, no matter how long you have been married, please take a moment to leave a comment!
Today I celebrated the fact that I have had the honor of being married to my wonderful husband for 6 years.
I didn’t wake up with the wonder and excitement of Christmas morning. Nor was I overcome with an extreme sense of triumph or accomplishment. We just got up and did all of the things we do day in and day out. I always think that I should somehow feel like a new person. Like on my birthday, when everyone asks if I feel any different. Usually I just feel like I’m the same me that I was yesterday…except today I get cake.
So, I took some time today to reflect on the last 6 years of my life. I think that’s where the wonder of who you are today is found – reflecting on who and where you used to be and celebrating the journey that molded you into the person you are today.
6 years ago, Roger and I made vows to each other and to God to love, honor, and cherish one another every day we are given this side of heaven. Sometimes I giggle a little bit reminiscing about 21-year-old me standing next to my groom- intoxicatingly happy and feeling as though I had arrived at some sort of plateau in my life. We had no idea the depth of the words we spoke. We didn’t realize that the true meaning of our covenant would only be understood as we walked it out in real life.
I am now incredibly aware that major life changes rarely equate to plateaus. But I was young and more naïve than I care to admit. Really we were babies- entrusted with this gift of life partnership. We soon found that we were standing on the edge of a beautiful fall into the arms of a grace that would enable us to do things and be people that we didn’t even realize at the time would be asked of us.
Many days marriage has been fairytale-easy. After all, I married a wonderful man with a heart after God. He is my prince. He is giving, loving, kind, protective, and so many things that I strive to be. I hope he can say the same of me.
If we’re being honest though, we aren’t those angelic people 24/7. He is infuriatingly stubborn…so am I. We wake up on the wrong side of the bed often – and now we’re sharing a bed – so there’s no hiding our selfish, grumpy selves.
Sometimes we would fight long and hard into the night over things that don’t even matter. It was those late nights crying and laying on the living room carpet (wishing we hadn’t also promised not to go to bed until we had solved our differences) that I wondered if maybe we weren’t actually ready for this. Maybe we were too young. Maybe our marriage is this hard because we weren’t mature enough to handle it at such a young age.
I refuse to believe that.
Our marriage is hard because we choose to be selfish. Our marriage is hard because we lack a deep understanding of God’s grace in our lives. Our marriage is hard because we’re constantly holding the other to a standard to which we ourselves aren’t willing to be held to- one that we’ll never be able to uphold.
But we know the One who did live according to that standard. And He is the reason our marriage has flourished.
So often people tell us that they want to have what we have. I always smile knowing they have no idea that I almost ran Roger over with the car in the middle of a particularly heated argument. (It was entirely accidental – of course.) Needless to say, we wrote a new fighting rule that day: No operating heavy machinery in the middle of an argument!
Our marriage has been a constant (often hilarious) learning process. We have grown up and we have grown together. We know better now how do life as a team- as one. And while learning how to relate and live together has been helpful, it isn’t the primary reason we have such a rewarding marriage.
Jesus lived the life we should have lived and died the death we should have died.” – Tim Keller
Jesus came to serve even though He was worthy of the highest praise. Because I deserved every bit of what Jesus took on the cross yet didn’t receive it, what right do I have not to extend that love and grace to the world – particularly my mate? We can live this life joyfully as humble servants to one another because Jesus came to this earth and not only showed us how, but through the Holy Spirit has enabled us to reflect that love in our own lives.
Just let that gospel of grace sink into your heart a little deeper. Trust me. It will change your approach to everyone in every single situation.
Roger and I have learned how incredibly rewarding serving the other can be – even when one of us is being downright ugly. We don’t always get it right. But we have learned to live a life of service driven by grace and love that allows us to be human and love today as best we know how – knowing we’ll understand and communicate that love better tomorrow because of it.
My marriage is my daily (sometimes hourly) opportunity to allow the love of Christ to mold my motives and my actions. It isn’t always easy. It isn’t always pretty. But it is my joy.
– Felicia Walters