The Joy of Marriage

24 Jul

Well, it has taken 14 months but I feel like Travis and I have finally gotten into a marriage groove. We understand each other more (but not completely!), have learned what to do and when (and what NOT to do) for the other person, and have adopted our individual chores–Travis, financial and big-picture stuff (like researching vehicles and mortgages); me, cleaning and menial daily stuff (like making lunches in the morning and going grocery shopping).

But more than all that, I feel like I finally appreciate him. When we were dating, our relationship was too exciting for me to appreciate Travis. I didn’t need to appreciate him. I was so head over heels for him that anything he did was good enough (except waiting so long to propose!) But then we got married and after the newness, excitement, and “I’m a wife; now what?” wore off, his idiosyncrasies and little quirks drove me up the wall and seemed so rampant in daily life that I couldn’t focus on anything else. “Who is this man I married?” I thought. Bitterness and annoyance took root in my heart. There were times I couldn’t stand being by Travis. He would try to hug or kiss me and I would push him away saying that “I was in the middle of something” and that the way my personality is makes me hate stopping something right in the middle. Each time I pushed him away, I knew something wasn’t right with me.

One night about every other month, something would happen–either sexual disappointment, an argument, or my stubborn emotions not being what I thought they should be for my husband–and I would break down into deep, heaving sobs for 10-15 minutes. It was always good to have my loving, tender husband there at those moments of need. Those times grew my appreciation of him.

But to my dismay and helplessness, those times of sorrow over our marriage and my emotions toward Travis didn’t change anything. I continued on, liking a emotionless zombie, desiring for my heart to change but feeling like my hands were tied over what to do about it. I read marriage books and articles. I read Bible passages about marriage and Christ’s love for the church. It’d work for a while. But there were so many things about our marriage that I was unsettled about. Where was the romance? Where was the feeling that I was finally with my soul mate, the man chosen for me by God? I did feel like Travis was my best friend, but a little bit too much like a friend. I wanted a passionate marriage filled with sexual chemistry and intellectual foreplay. Instead, our marriage was butt-slapping and wrestling.

I kept thinking about the people I knew who said that marriage was wonderful. They said that they loved their spouses more that day than they did on their wedding day. I couldn’t help wonder about my own affections. I knew I still loved Travis–I was committed to him for life–but why didn’t I FEEL love for him? Why was I so cold-hearted? Why couldn’t I change?

I would love to say that I was faithful in prayer but I wasn’t. I’d pray about it for a few weeks after one of my sobbing episodes and then life and marriage would go back to normal–not bad but not great. But then one day, something changed. I can’t put my finger on it and I can’t even remember what exact day or month it was. But something in my heart changed. I wanted to cry, it felt so wonderful.

I loved Travis–and felt it.

I knew that God had flipped the switch in my heart and I am still so thankful to Him for it. It is a reminder that in my flesh, I don’t naturally love anyone but myself. Only through the power of the Holy Spirit in me do I love my husband–and my Lord.

Since that day a few months ago, things have only gotten better. I don’t get as angry with Travis during fights, I don’t let his little quirks get to me (I just laugh at them now because they’re his quirks), and I have made a concerted effort to kiss and hug Travis slowly and passionately, like my lover, not my buddy. I have also seen the impact of my relationship with the Lord on my relationship with my husband. I can’t expect Travis to fulfill my every need. Jesus alone can satisfy. I have seen the ways I’ve failed and sinned against Travis and felt like I could finally DO something about it. And you know what? It has fanned the flames of our marriage.

The past few weeks of our marriage have felt like a honeymoon. I love seeing him after work, I love kissing and hugging him, and I love sharing my life with him. This is what marriage is supposed to be like. Now I can say with those other married couples that I love Travis more today than I did on our wedding day. Praise be to our faithful Father in heaven!

Speaking of which, our photographer just sent us all our wedding pictures burned onto a CD (he kept the rights for a year but we did get a wedding album in October 2007). Here are a few of my faves:

A sweet kiss

A sweet kiss

Sophisticated

Sophisticated

My favorite picture--so relaxed

My favorite picture--so relaxed

Our first dance as husband and wife to "Love of a Lifetime"

Our first dance as husband and wife to "Love of a Lifetime"

The head table with the bridesmaid bouquet

The head table with the bridesmaid bouquet

Me and my dad during the Father-Daughter dance

Me and my dad during the Father-Daughter dance

Tearing up the dance floor

Tearing up the dance floor

The happy couple

The happy couple

2 Responses to “The Joy of Marriage”

  1. pook from the nest July 29, 2008 at 3:46 pm #

    I know exactly how you feel! It took me a year to start feeling “married”. As I was reading your blog, I thought that you were able to put into words many of the feelings I felt.

    The book “For Women Only” is great and helped me quite a bit. It is about our relationships with men, by a Christian author.

  2. MOSES September 11, 2008 at 11:10 am #

    I’ve been really challenged by your inspiring story.A happy marriage is the joy of any sane and upright person.Thanks alot.Keep on posting such encouraging information

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