If you would have asked me back in December when Tim and I were going to get married, I would have answered with, “I don’t know but I’m okay with waiting a while.” Meaning waiting indefinitely. I was okay with just putting marriage off.
Around Christmas time, I was having a conversation with my parents about marriage to which I bitterly said, “I would be okay if I didn’t get married.” I remember both of them staring blankly at me, meanwhile they were probably panicking because here I am saying I didn’t want to get married, and Tim had just recently asked for my father’s blessing to marry me. I can still remember the looks on their faces, and my mom worriedly asked me, “Don’t you love Tim?” Of course I did! But marriage was scary. I couldn’t really explain it without getting teary so I decided to just leave the conversation and change the subject. She looked somewhat baffled by me and somewhat saddened for me. I went on with my night and I’m pretty sure my mother went on to do what she does best – pray.
The end of December rolled around and my sister told me about this book her and her boyfriend (now fiancé) had just bought to go through together, called The Mingling of Souls by Matt Chandler. I had heard of this book before and wanted to read it in the past, so I just went ahead and impulse-bought it from Amazon Prime. Two days later, it showed up at my doorstep (Praise the Lord for Amazon Prime delivery, am I right?) and I started reading it.
And then the next day I got the worst sickness I’ve had in years, to the point of not even having energy to get out of my bed to walk Lemon (I wish dogs understood these things, poor Lemon was so bored). I was so sick that I was forced to rest… I say forced because I cannot stand lying down and resting – I’m a busy body and like to be accomplishing something at all hours of the day (Hence why it’s past midnight and I’m still up writing this blog LOL). Part of me believes God gave me that sickness. I know that sounds crazy because God is good, so why would he make me sick? Just hear me out…
In my utter boredom, I decided to go ahead and binge read this book. A couple chapters in, things started changing for me. I felt like crying when I was reading, and I wasn’t sure why. In hindsight, I believe it’s because as I read this book, I knew that I had to let go of my bitterness towards marriage.
You see, I had become bitter towards marriage because I’ve seen a lot of pain come from broken marriages, disloyalty, adultery, and you name it. People would always say things like, “no one ever tells you how hard marriage is!” When in reality, all I had ever seen and heard was how hard it is. So I thought to myself, “well if marriage is so hard, why on earth would I want to put myself through that?” Mine and Tim’s relationship was golden. It was easy, we were happy… So why would I want to ruin that with marriage?
I’m just being vulnerable, these were the thoughts I was having.
I continued to read the book because Matt Chandler has a way of keeping people engaged in his anecdotes. He’s just as good an Author as he is a Pastor – that man is anointed! As I continued to read, my ideas, perspectives and beliefs about marriage began to shift drastically. I began to see that marriage is in fact hard, which confirmed everything that people always told me, but I began to see that in a different light. Marriage is supposed to be a representation of Christ’s relationship with the church – every Christian knows that…
But what does that mean practically?
What does that mean in my life personally? Well, in love, Christ gave his all for us, even to the point of death, so…..
I guess that means I have to sacrifice everything for my spouse. I guess that means I have to love in the same way that Christ loves me.
But what a beautiful privilege that is! As I kept reading this book, I began to be amazed by God’s relentless pursuit of me. I began to laugh while reading the book because I started understanding things a little more. God loves us with a never ending love. He passionately pursues us the way we all long to be pursued. He shows mercy time and time again. He loves us so much that He gave everything through Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. In light of this, I can only give Him all my worship…
And now I see it. Marriage is going to be incredibly hard, but marriage isn’t for me, it’s for God and his glory. Marriage is worship. The ultimate sacrifice of praise I could give my Lord is to receive the love he showed me and in turn, love my spouse to the same degree. The greatest worship I can give God (apart from loving God with my heart, soul mind and strength) is by loving Tim the way God loves me: sacrificing everything, day after day; Passionately pursuing Tim; showing him mercy; loving him to the fullest, even when he doesn’t love me in return… I won’t do it perfect all the time, but what an honor it is that God has entrusted me with an imperfect human to love and lay myself down for.
“Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?”
Jesus replied, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”
And that’s what marriage is: love and sacrifice even to death. Marriage is our covenant with God and our spouse in which we commit to love each other the way God loves us. And if y’all were anything like me, you ran from God for a long time, but He never gave up – he kept pursuing and kept loving. How could I ever worship God enough for this? Well, truthfully I can’t ever worship God enough because God is TOO GREAT, but I can surely give my everything to love Tim to that same measure. That means even when Tim doesn’t love me the way I want him to, when he doesn’t hold my hand in public the way I like him to, or when he doesn’t tell my I’m beautiful when I want to hear those words, or when he doesn’t satisfy some expectation I might have of him, I still get to love him… Because that’s what God did for me. I feel a little teary eyed thinking about what a privilege this is.
I’m so excited to worship God in this way. I’m so excited to lay myself down, to be shaped and molded to become more like Christ, ultimately bringing glory to God.
So that’s why I think God made me sick. He knew I needed to read this book and let go of some bitterness that I had. He knew that in January, Tim would start ring shopping…And funny story, Tim actually told me that he was planning to propose in January, but the ring he wanted to get for me was going to take 5 weeks to make, so he had to hold off on the proposal. God has a funny way of working things out in His timing huh?!
Tim proposed on March 25th and I said yes! (scroll to the bottom to see some photos of that :D)
I’m so ready to marry him! I’m so ready to pursue God’s calling over our lives together. I’m excited to sacrifice for him daily, and do my best to love him the way God loves me. I know I’ll fail, but I’ll always keep trying, because GOD is good and the least I could do in return is to keep loving and loving and loving and loving, until death do us part.
Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. – Matthew 5:48
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. – John 15:12
Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm, for love is strong as death, jealousy is fierce as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire, the very flame of the LORD. Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it. If a man offered for love all the wealth of his house, he would be utterly despised. – Song of Solomon 8:6-7
And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church. As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything.
For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word. He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault. In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself. No one hates his own body but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ cares for the church. And we are members of his body.
As the Scriptures say, “A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.” This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one. So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. – Ephesians 5:21-33
(Photo Courtesy of Joseph Kang Photography!)