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5 Unexpected Ways Marriage Provided Stability in My Faith

  • Anne Peterson Poet and Author
5 Unexpected Ways Marriage Provided Stability in My Faith

We stand at the altar all dressed in our best. And we whisper, “I do.”

The only problem is, we don’t know what life will be like after the wedding, when marriage begins. People show you their best when you’re dating, in marriage, all pretense is gone.

So what lessons can we learn in our marriages? I can tell you 5 unexpected ways marriage provided stability in my life.

God, I pray for anyone reading this article. If the reader is struggling in their marriage, I pray that you will encourage them with these words. If someone is struggling with their faith, God, let these words ignite the spark that seems to have dwindled. God, help them in their marriage. I pray this in your Son’s precious name. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Photo Credit: ©Thinkstock/Yasin Emir Akbas

1. I learned about submission

1. I learned about submission

At the home of my husband’s aunt and uncle, I let Lois know about our latest struggle.

“Can you believe it? Now he wants a humidor? And I can’t stand that he’s smoking a pipe! Now he has three!”

Seeing her puzzled look, I explained a humidor is for holding your pipes as well as the tobacco in a covered jar.

We sat down to eat and Lois turned to my husband, “So Mike, did Anne tell you what she’s getting you for Father’s day?”

“No,” he answered surprised, but I was the most surprised when she said, “A humidor.”

Flashing a quick look at Lois, she said, “Isn’t that right?”

I knew she was all for me and for our marriage, so I answered, “Yes.”

Lois told me in private. “This is a power struggle.”

The next time I saw Lois I could hardly wait to share.”He’s stopped smoking a pipe! Right after I bought the humidor.”

Somehow she was not surprised at all.

I learned to check my attitude when there is a power struggle. Sometimes it takes me releasing my grip from something. This was a good lesson I learned about myself through my marriage.

Read Ephesians 5:21. While we were both wanting our own ways, no one was submitting. One person submitting releases the struggle. And for the record, submission applies to both parties. 

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2. I learned about honor

2. I learned about honor

One day, I asked my husband, “Do you consider me your friend?”

Without hesitation he said, “Yes.”

I admitted, “I don’t consider you my friend.”

And God showed me I did not honor my husband, which simply meant I did not respect him as I should. So God taught me how.

First, God wanted me to stop rolling my eyes when Mike said something I didn’t agree with.

Second, God stopped me from doing it inside my head.

One day, I was leaving the house and Mike told me, “You better bring a hand towel with you because something is not right with the defroster.”

I walked out without the towel and the Lord reminded me what Mike said. A struggle ensued, but I was determined to learn honor and respect. So I got out of the car and headed back in the house. And Mike was on his way out the door with the towel.

“I forgot the towel,” I said, and I watched as my words seeped into his heart. I respected what he thought.

Take a look at Ephesians 5:33. When we read this verse, wives seem to notice the part where husbands are to love them, but overlook the second part which mentions us respecting them.

In marriage, women need love. Men need respect. Marriage had taught me a second valuable lesson.

Before marriage, I would have guessed I was doing fine with honoring others and submitting to them. Boy, was I wrong. But there were other areas I could still grow.

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3. I learned what true forgiveness was

3. I learned what true forgiveness was

Surely marriage couldn’t teach me about forgiveness. Didn’t I have that one down? After all, I had forgiven my father, forgiven my mother, my siblings. Yes, I thought I was good in that area.

I learned a valuable lesson. My husband could forgive and forget. I had a closet that I kept grievances in. And time to time, I would open the closet and bring them out.

Read Colossians 3:13. We are told to forgive as the Lord forgave. And in Hebrews 8:12, we are told how we were forgiven. Jesus didn’t keep a log so he could bring them up again, when it was convenient.

No, he forgave them and then forgot them.  And it is possible with God’s help. No offense committed is bigger than the sacrifice Jesus made.

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4. I learned giving without strings

4. I learned giving without strings

I used to consider myself a giving person. I gave my ear to those who needed to talk, and I gave my time when someone needed it. I gave a hand when someone needed help. That’s pretty giving, I thought.

Somewhere along the line, I found that giving meant there would be no expectations on my part. Now that is a different story.

In marriage it meant giving without expecting my spouse to reciprocate. Wait a minute! Shouldn’t they want to? Yes, in a perfect world they would. But if we expect them to reciprocate, are we truly giving?

I believe that if we have expectations, they dangle like strings off the end of whatever we gave.

I made you breakfast—shouldn’t you jump at the chance to bring me coffee?

Maybe you never struggled in this, like me. One quick way to gauge if you are giving with no strings is to ask yourself: If they do not reciprocate, how do you feel?

Read 2 Corinthians 9:7. God loves it when we learn to give like He did. And He gave us His most prized possession when he gave us Jesus (read John 3:16). And even with that precious gift, God knew some would not receive it. God loves a cheerful giver, and a cheerful giver does not attach strings. 

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5. I learned who I serve

5. I learned who I serve

I bent down to pick up something off the floor. In my flesh it would have been so easy to be resentful. Why should I pick this up? What am I, a servant?

Then I read the verses Colossians 3:23-24. When it looks like we are serving each other, we need to be reminded that the one we are truly serving is God. In Philippians 2:19, God tells us how to serve. We are to do it joyfully.

Jesus was a servant and he did it without complaint, without murmuring. Oh what a gift it is to serve our families with the same attitude Jesus had. Who would not feel loved with someone serving like that?

Realizing that we are serving Christ makes all the difference in the world. Every little thing you do, you will do more willingly when you realize it is the Lord Christ we are serving.

I remember how I felt differently when I picked up a piece of laundry from the floor. I saw it as a way to give to God.

Marriage taught me the importance of submission, honoring someone, forgiving someone, truly giving without strings and what it looks like to serve.

People get married and wonder if this will be the person who will love them for the rest of their lives. I look at the person I married and I thank God for someone I will love.

It all depends on how you look at it.

Anne Peterson is a poet, a speaker, and an author of 14 books. Anne understands abuse as she has written a memoir, Broken: A story of abuse and survival. You can see more of Anne’s work by checking out these links. And although Anne has many titles, her favorite is still ‘Grandma’ to 4 grandchildren here and one in heaven. Download a free copy of her book Real Love by joining her email list. Sign up for anne’s newsletter and receive her free eBook, Helping Someone in Grief: 17 Things You Need to KnowVisit her website at www.annepeterson.com. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Google.

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