I was talking with a good friend recently and one of the many subjects we discussed was marriage. Our conversation really got me thinking. There is a certain disillusionment all married couples go through after the initial lovey-dovey state is over. Especially with us girls. I mean, what happened to the happily ever after we were supposed to get? You meet your true love. The one and only person meant just for you. You get married and then go riding off into the sunset. Isn’t that what every little girl dreams about? (OK, maybe not ALL. I’m sure there are exceptions.)
Cinderella, Aurora, Snow White, Rapunzel, Belle….they all got their happily ever after. Yes, these may just be Disney fairytales, but there is something to be said about this fantasy that is learned at a very young age. Little girls are inundated with movies of the prince coming to the rescue on his white horse. Nobody ever really tells you the truth: Marriage is hard! Very hard. It takes work. A LOT of work. It takes faith. It takes trust. The list is nearly endless. But I believe the most important trait in a spouse is…… selflessness!
Putting your spouse’s needs in front of your own is vital to a successful marriage!
It doesn’t take long to become disillusioned. Some crash quickly while others can stay in the honeymoon stage for years. It happens to all couples. The important thing is to move into the next stage of love instead of calling it quits.
In hindsight, I now see all of the mistakes I/we made. I just wish I would have seen them back then. I guess I just didn’t want to face the truth…..unfortunately/fortunately I was forced to.
It was year number nine when tragedy burst my bubble. On February 5, 2009, I delivered my son Hunter. He was stillborn. The instant an ultrasound confirmed there was no heartbeat, my entire world crashed down on me. Everything that I thought was important to me meant nothing. It was almost like my life was flashing in front of my eyes. I had put my job, my life, my needs, my wants, all ahead of my husband and our children. Up until this time, I didn’t really put any care into my marriage. We were both paying bills, raising kids and leading our lives. Separately. And herein is where the problem lies.
When you continue to live as if you were still single, conflict occurs. Eventually, your plans will end up ruining his plans. His plans will ruin your plans. You get mad that he didn’t take out the garbage because he made plans without telling you. (ok that may just be me….I don’t like taking out the garbage. That’s a man’s job lol)
How many couples do you know that live this way? It is fairly common. Hence the high divorce rate! Not only do we become dismayed when the high of a new relationship ends but society tells us that divorce is ok at this stage.
We are cultivated to believe that we don’t have to check with our husbands before making important decisions. It is a sign of weakness to do so. You can’t be a strong independent woman AND respect your husband at the same time. It is either one or the other. It is almost like our spouse is the enemy and marriage is the battlefield!
Living this way leaves us lonely and will result in one of three things:
1. Divorce. You give up and throw in the towel. If he wants to live his own life, he can do it without you. Why should you have to answer to him?! You don’t deserve being treated badly.
2. An affair. One or both of you decide to get your needs met elsewhere.
3. Your kids become your life. For whatever reason, you don’t want a divorce. You may have religious convictions or a sense of loyalty or just don’t want the kids to be hurt. Whatever the reason(s), you stick around, continue to live separate lives but now you look to your kids to meet your needs and depend on them to make you happy. (There will be a future article on why you shouldn’t put your kids above your spouse and the consequences we face when we do.)
All three of these situations are dangerous and can cause irreparable damage to all involved.
So, now what? The honeymoon is over and every day seems like all hope of a good marriage is gone. Well, what exactly is marriage anyway?
I believe Matthew 19:5-6 sums it up perfectly:
‘For this reason, a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.’
Take some time to think about that. Read it out loud a few times. You have probably heard it many times before. This verse was read at my wedding. But what does it mean?
God said, “It is not good for man to be alone.”
God created Eve to complete Adam. He was not whole without her nor was she without him. They needed each other.
God created us to need our spouse. We are incomplete without them. Marriage was created to be the closest relationship on earth. Not even our relationship with our mother or our father can come close to the oneness we should have with our spouse. When you begin to understand this and start putting your spouse first, your marriage will forever change. You will finally realize that what hurts your spouse, hurts you. What makes them happy, makes you happy. Marriage is the death of yourself. You must be selfless and live each and every day for your spouse. And although it may take time, your spouse will respond in kind. Now that is the real happily ever after. 🙂
Let me add that complete selflessness is extremely hard. Actually, it is humanly impossible. It is human nature, even to givers, to eventually want their needs met. We must ask God for His grace and help in becoming more like Him.
I highly recommend the following two books. Both are great for dealing with selfishness and the giver/taker that is in all of us.
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This post in no way condones any type of abuse nor staying in a marriage with such abuse. If you are being abused, please get out and get help.