In honor of my 9th wedding anniversary, I edited a post from the archives. It’s still as true today as it was then. God gets all the credit and glory for my marriage. Hope you enjoy it.
Originally posted February 24, 2012
There was a time in our marriage when Travis and I pretty much went our own ways on the weekends. We asked each other, “What are your plans for this weekend?” and both did our own things.
But in September 2011, things changed.
We still ran the same errands on the weekends. But we ran them together. Yes, it meant things took longer. And that we spent time doing things that weren’t our first pick (grocery shopping for him, Home Depot browsing for me). But we were together. And we were having FUN!
We also went on one impromptu date each weekend – which gave us time to talk, laugh and enjoy one another.
And those things made something else happen.
When Travis came home from work, instead of giving him a slight head nod and a “Hey beads” while I continued making dinner or changed out of my running clothes, I’d intentionally stop what I was doing and go hug and kiss him hello. He was happier because I was talking his love language. I was happier because I actually wanted to hug and kiss him (which sadly, hadn’t always been the case).
When I talked to him on the phone, I enjoyed hearing his voice.
When he smiled and his eyes crinkled, I felt so in love with him.
We laughed over well-timed movie line quotes and inside jokes.
We watched the dogs frolic from our kitchen window, silently daring them to jump the fence.
When Travis mused aloud about Roth IRAs and whether or not he should take the new job, instead of rolling my eyes, ignoring him, or lamenting that we’ve already talked about this, I listened and offered him my advice…again.
Travis would ask me to come look at, or help him with something, and I didn’t get frustrated.
Travis wanted to buy a ridiculously expensive antelope hunting tag and I didn’t demand the same amount of money to spend on myself.
I won a pool table competition and instead of running out to buy a new shirt with my $30, I offered to take Travis out to lunch.
The best part about all of this?
I did none of it. It all happened organically, by the grace of God. I honestly look back at all this and think, How did this happen? I surely did not cause this! This is not MY handiwork!
God did this. And He did it by inspiring my obedience in one little thing: painting our front door brick red. I hated that door. Oh, how I hated it. I painted it once, 3 coats of painstaking strokes. Only to have the beautiful red paint peel off in my hands as I removed the painter’s tape. The door remained white for at least another a month. It took me that long to get over being angry.
Finally, at Travis’ request, I tackled it once again, this time armed with primer. I still remember standing in the hallway next to our kitchen, glaring at the door. I did. not. want. to paint the door again. I was done with it. But out of a desire to serve my husband by helping with a house project, I did it. And I swear, that was a turning point in the way I thought about our marriage.
Things only got better from there. Yes, we still had disagreements and tension from time to time. But it was no longer the door-slamming, fruit-throwing, cuss-word-yelling that
our marriage my responses once were (Travis has not resorted to my form of temper tantrums).
Which proves that I, unfortunately, do not have any marriage advice. Because I could not have written this story. God’s ideas are always infinitely better than mine, though often harder to understand. Why did it take me almost 5 years of marriage to get to that place? Why did God bless me with my husband, though I abused him for so long? Why am I still learning these same lessons in different contexts after almost a decade of marriage? I don’t know.
But I do know that the best advice for anything is: Get to know God. The real God of the Bible. Jesus, who died for your sins. He is amazing. And He is the only answer you ever need.
That is not just a trite saying. I don’t say that flippantly. I say it with the full force of my being and my heart behind it. I say it as I look back on 5 years of hating the wife I was and wanting to throw in the towel, and another 4 years of still falling short of who I want to be. I believe that God has the power to redeem and glorify any marriage, even ones that have been torn apart by infidelity, loss or deceit. Because this God – He ransomed us from our sins. He has granted us eternal life. Surely He can do ALL things!
Put Him to the test. Ask Him to do amazing things in your marriage. Stay alert to the ways He works in your life. He will stun you.
Though I am dry and barren
By grace this love springs forth
Love for You and Your kingdom
Joy in Your glory Lord