When we were first married my husband used to tell people that being married was like voluntary suicide. In fact the first time I heard him compare marriage to jumping off a roof, we were sitting at a little cafe and I was dipping my bread into my soup a little stunned. It was not exactly flattering to his new bride... but I happened to agree.
In laying down our lives for another person I have experienced - not just learned - that you are given back life. Not necessarily the life we imagined, but a beautiful life - a life of knowing and following Jesus.
On a Mother's Day a few years back my kids went out with my husband and bought me a necklace with little pendants that had words written on them. The words were what I tell my children they brought to me from heaven - the gifts that their very presence in my life has given to me.
My husband has brought me many gifts. When we got married it altered every familiarity I had with Jesus and how my relationship with him used to look. But I am learning that obedience does give us even deeper and more precious intimacy with Christ. That has both broken me and begun rebuilding me.
It is the most incredible gift.
As a follow up on expectations I have learned to have the last eleven years, these next things are the concrete things being married has taught me are essential:
1. Let Go.
3. Pray as though our lives depend on it. (They do.)
4. Speak kind words.
5. Have a clearly defined idea of what personal obedience looks like. And know that I alone am responsible for doing that - not my husband.
It doesn't have to be
the blue iris, it could be
weeds in a vacant lot, or a few
small stones; just
pay attention, then patch
a few words together and don't try
to make them elaborate, this isn't
a contest but the doorway
into thanks, and a silence in which
another voice may speak.
- by Mary Oliver