Monday, March 31, 2008

Not just enduring, but blossoming in marriage

This weekend Jeremy and I got to enjoy a wonderful sushi date at Sugami thanks to a gift certificate that we had saved from my bridal shower (thanks Aunt Lo and Alison!!!). It was such a blessing to have a night out with my sweetheart and best friend, enjoy some conversation together and good food. So often it’s so easy for us to get caught up in routine and busy schedules and find ourselves having gone several days without truly connecting hearts or drawing each other into anything deeper than a superficial conversation. We both desire to do this, we both desire to connect with each other, draw each other out, and know all of the details about each other, but so often fail in our execution of this. We can easily be caught up in chores around the house or the toll that our busy days take on us and then we come home and shut down. We try to be aware of this tendency and when it hits the most… like when we are super busy, so that we can plan a strategy against it. (Like plan a walk date in the middle of the week between our activities so we have some time out of the house where we can talk.) We have definitely noticed that the house is our comfort zone, and just getting out of the house for a walk, coffee, dinner or a drive helps us to make more of an effort to ask each other heart felt questions rather than just hang out and “veg” with each other.

If Jeremy and I, two very relational people with the best intentions to connect with each other and draw each other out, who have only been married 7 months and still have a freshness to our marriage (free from years of built up walls that could exist between some couples) can already notice some difficulty in connecting with each other and drawing each other out then I can see why marriage takes work, and why so many marriages fail when the two parties involved no longer put in that work. I have soooo much respect for all of the couples that we know that have persevered through the difficulties and stayed married for 5, 10, 15, 20 or more years (57 for Grandad and Grandma Diggs!). I know that I haven’t even begun to understand the depth of the complications that marriage can hold, especially once children are added to the picture. I’m just thrilled that I have an amazing man, who has a heart to tackle marriage with me while we roll up our sleeves and get our hands dirty putting in the work necessary to not just endure marriage, but to blossom in our union.

One thing that I loved about our wedding ceremony is that our vows weren’t quite the standard traditional version. (see below)

I, Jeremy, take you Shannon, to be my wife, my friend and my life-partner for the rest of our lives. Before God, family and friends I pledge to you my life. I will be faithful to you in sickness and in health, in good and bad times, in times of joy and well as in times of sorrow. I promise to love you as Christ loves His church.

I, Shannon, take you Jeremy, to be my husband, my friend and my life-partner for the rest of our lives. Before God, family and friends I pledge to you my life. I will be faithful to you in sickness and in health, in good and bad times, in times of joy and well as in times of sorrow. I promise to respect you and follow your lead.

Our vows were based off of Ephesians 5:22-33 (below). This shows a man’s need to be respected, and a woman’s need to be loved. One point that Doug made at our wedding was that marriages lacking those needs (love and respect) will not be joyful, they will just be endured. I’m looking forward to many years of respecting my husband, following his lead, and though it’s a bold statement, following God’s will and submitting to my husband in everything. That statement alone is so hard for so many people to stomach today, in the days of women power they seem to think that takes us back in time and looses the “advances” that we’ve made in recent years. I don’t think that God meant just through the 1980’s when he said “submit to your husband’s in everything”. I believe that those words stand for all time, and I should direct my life accordingly. As long as the husband is doing his part and loving his wife as Christ loves the church it makes it a lot easier to submit in everything. When you know and trust that your husband truly has your best interests in mind then it’s easy to follow his lead and submit to him. The challenge may be on the days where your husband doesn’t seem to be loving you quite the way Christ loved the church, then it gets a little harder. These are the days where we as women have the opportunity to show our husbands extra grace and respect by still submitting to them and following their lead. It’s not always easy, in fact I fail miserably sometimes, but fortunately Jeremy knows my heart and desires to show me grace also.

Ephesians 5:22-33 You wives will submit to your husbands as you do to the Lord. For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of his body, the church; he gave his life to be her Savior. As the church submits to Christ, so you wives must submit to your husbands in everything.

And you husbands must love your wives with the same love Christ showed the church. He gave up his life for her to make her holy and clean, washed by baptism and 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 is actually loving himself when he loves his wife. No one hates his own body but lovingly cares for it, just as Christ cares for his body, which is the church.

And we are 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.

All that said, here’s to my quest for a joyful marriage and not just purely enduring the time that I share with Jeremy. Thank you to all of you for your prayers, encouragement and admonishment along the way. I'm always here to do the same for you in your endeavors.

In love,

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