Thursday, December 22, 2011

How has Marriage Changed You?

We went to dinner with some friends the other day and had just an incredible time connecting with them and receiving wisdom and encouragement from them. One of the questions they asked us has me thinking more this morning, and I thought I would share my thoughts on it with you.

*paraphrased because I can't remember the exact question.
How has marriage shaped you and changed you?

My first and initial response was marriage has revealed to me how selfish and self-centered I really am. Through Mark, I see a lot more of my sin because his reflection of God helps refines me. He lovingly corrects me, influences me, and encourages me in our journey of marriage together. The experience of living with him, loving him daily, and serving him as my husband and partner forces me to see more of who God is. And for those who don't share my christian beliefs and may think this sounds weird, maybe unfair or unbalanced, let me say that Mark never demands or asks for these things, but as a Christian wife, these are part of my commitments to love and serve him as his wife as we function as one in our marriage. It's my part, the wife's part, of our vows to one another in a Christian marriage.

Before the "I do's", life was about ME. I cooked for me, ate for me, exercised for me. I worked for me, cleaned for me, watched TV for me. I visited friends because I wanted to, I saved my money or spent my money because I wanted to, and I got a cat--because I wanted to. I prayed largely for my sake, and sometimes for the friends and family that I loved, and I prayed for the husband of my future--again to bless me.

I find myself in selfishness (ultimately sin against Mark) often. When I'm grumpy, I find myself expecting him to cheer me up. When I'm bored, or tired, or hungry, I expect him to respond or wait until I can change my mood. It's incredibly humbling to realize I've wasted hours wallowing in whatever puddle I'm in and he has patiently helped me, encouraged me and served me through my filth. He's an incredible image of Christ's love. Leaving me thinking, how often is Jesus waiting for me to turn around and stop fixating on myself and look up to Him for love, comfort, and satisfaction?

As the months pass, I've prayed and tried to pay closer attention to my thoughts and actions and look for the opportunities to serve my husband (as well as others). It can be simple things like remembering he doesn't like mushrooms in his veggie medley or that it's been a few days weeks since we ate his favorite food (pizza!). It's occasionally taking time to do some extra chores around the house knowing he has a buttload of homework to do, or even making sure he takes a ten minute break from that homework so he can stretch, drink fluids, and eat something!

So in a long round about way, I would say the biggest change marriage has brought about in my life is the way it revealed to me my sin. Selfishness is a big one, but there are more to be sure. Thankfully I have a great God to run toward, rely on for strength and receive forgiveness for all my sins--past, present and future--and sweet, generous, and forgiving husband who loves me even when I'm selfish.
He's all ready for his ugly sweater christmas competition at work today!

So for you, how has marriage shaped and changed you? Do share!

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  1. Thanks for sharing some of your life with us. We continue to enjoy getting to know you two the more we hang out together!

  2. Eryka, this is a REALLY great post. I couldn't have put it better myself. Before marriage, it was all about me, me me. And now that I'm married, I'm constantly having to think about John's needs before my own. And not because he forces me to, but because it's what God asks of me and it's what I really want now.

    Marriage has been an incredibly refining experience for both John and I but it's SOOO worth it. We're both becoming better people and more mature believers. And, we have a blast and are more in love now than we ever were while dating. It's pretty awesome and I thank God for my marriage and how He's worked in it every day!

    Marriage is truly a blessing!


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