Monday, June 17, 2013

On Preparing for Marriage

Today I am interrupting our usual Monday posting from Jonathan Edwards' Resolutions to participate with a group of lady bloggers, headed by Wholesome Womanhood. One of Carrie and Melinda's readers recently sent the following questions, and they thought it would be beneficial if  a handful of women with different perspectives answered. Be sure to check out the responses of the other participating bloggers!


The Question: How did you transition between singleness and marriage? Was it difficult? Were there some things about marriage that surprised you?

Marriage for Niall and I was a relatively smooth transition. By the grace of God, it was an extremely natural progression and the best next step in our relationship.

I don't say this to boast, nor do I say it to discourage women whose marriage transition proved to be more difficult. I say it because lots of people throw a negative spin on marriage, and would have every engaged couple believe that the first year is incredibly, almost unbearably, difficult. Dear single sisters, it doesn't have to be that way! 

Marriage is a wonderful, beautiful gift from God. I thoroughly enjoyed life as a newlywed! 

Now that I've gotten that out there, I will say this: each year has only gotten better. As much as I loved the first year, it was probably our worst, comparatively speaking :). I'm not saying that it was bad, the early days just weren't nearly as good as our marriage is now.

We immensely enjoyed being able to spend so much uninterrupted one-on-one time together. Setting up our own little home, developing daily routines and structure, and creating new traditions together was a blast!

One thing that did surprise me was the realization that divorce could be so easy. I'd always grieved and wondered how a couple's relationship could slide down to dissolution. While divorce still grieves me, I think I understand it a little more now. If you don't tend to the little things- little conflicts, little disagreements, little habits or actions that drive you nuts- they can build up and fester, becoming very ugly, very quickly. Open, gracious, loving and honest communication are vital. Choosing to forgive and to place your husband's needs before your own will free you from much grief and bitterness.

Another surprise was that I do actually struggle with submission! Silly me, what sinful human being doesn't? For about the first year I thought I had the submission thing down pat- I understood and agreed with it as the clear teaching of Scripture, and I let Niall make the big decisions... wasn't that all there was to it?

The Lord used a book study with my Pastor's Wife to show me how much work I desperately needed in this area! Submission is an attitude- a willing yielding of my own preferences and desires to those of my husband's. Oftentimes I want to manipulate a situation to go my way. Or I fuss, pout and fume {internally or externally, depending on the moment} when things don't go my way. The Lord is still sanctifying me in this area- aren't we all works in progress?

The final thing I'd like to say is that being committed to a local church where the Word of God is clearly and constantly preached, and where mature believers actively engage in your life {encouraging, exhorting, and correcting}, will be a huge game changer for your marriage. Niall and I have been immensely blessed, and seen great improvements in our marriage, as a direct result of our local church. It has been God's grace to us, I know we would not enjoy the relationship we have today without that precious group of believers!

How would you answer this reader's questions? 

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