I remember the fall day in 1982, it was a windy blustery day in North Dakota. The leaves were already well into change. I remember a limb of a tree blocking the double doors of the church as I went to open it, to prepare for the day. The church was a little white country church with a steeple and even a black bell in the bell tower. It was so sweet, and I thought so romantic, but at 18, I thought everything was romantic, right out of a Victorian novel.
My white wedding dress was not a traditional dress but more like the long peasant dresses that were popular in the late 70s and early 80s. Sort of a Hippy carry-over dress, including the white floppy hat. I remember that we found it in the basement dept at Norby’s. We paid 33.00 on clearance and there was a matching bridesmaid dress that was sunflower yellow. And oddly It was priced at 10.00 more than the white wedding dress, but at those prices, I did not take long to decide my “color” would be a sunflower yellow and white. Fancy things were never something I wanted; I grew up in a home where “stuff” mattered little, people mattered most.
The day was fueled with butterflies of nervousness bustling and meeting aunts, uncles and cousins of my soon-to-be husband. My mind was filled with very idealistic thoughts that very much resembled a fairy tale. ……and we were married and lived happily ever after.
My thoughts were not realistic. While I think back about that day and the naivety of that young lady, I know that if I had a chance to go back and talk to her, I know what I would say.
This is the day that you will be married. I know that you are excited, and your hopes are so high as you imagine walking down the aisle, and what you imagine will be the happiest future.
Please take a moment to read this. All I ask, is that you take what I say, very serious. I have lived my life….your life, and have learned so much in the process. God has brought me so far, and yet I still know that I have not arrived. I still have plenty to learn.
You had your marriage counseling with the pastor; last week and one of the questions he asked, was “Between your husband and your children, who should come first, in your marriage”?
As you will remember, you answered that your children would come first. This is what you believed. After all, children are helpless, they must need their mother to put them first. And the Pastor, after your answer, told you that answer was the wrong answer. You were certainly bewildered. As the pastor went over Genesis explaining to you God’s intention for His Creation. You didn’t believe the man with a collar in the Lutheran Church. But I am here to tell you that you should believe because God has ordered the family in such a way, that you will join your husband and become one. He, as your husband, must come first in your marriage, in your family. Your children will be the blessings the Lord will give to you, but only for a time. The Lord will entrust them to you, for you to raise up to preach the gospel, to fear and love Him. Then they will go on to start their families and you will give them this same counsel. And you and your husband, as in the beginning, will be together, alone. Together. This is a continuing investment in “…. till death do us part.”
Remember to always put your husband first, and your marriage and your children will be the better. Children love to see their parents love each other, in service to one another. Our lives are living testimonies to our children. Children can smell hypocrites. Don’t model that for them. Model a godly marriage. Put God first, then husband then children.
I know you haven’t thought much about this, but I think you should understand that you are marrying a sinner, and so is he.
It’s true. When the pastor says for richer or poorer an in sickness or health, these words sound romantic and fitting but they mean something. Sickness and poverty are hard things. It means there will be very hard times that you will endure, in sickness and in financial distress. These times are not to define you, nor should they break you. Instead, while you will find these times will be trying, some very trying, you may be tempted to give up, but your faith will see you through. You will cry out to God, and you will understand there is nothing to “give up” to. That God is your Rock, and you really learn from where your strength from.
Your faith and your love for your husband and children and your love of God’s Word will provoke you to endure when the world gives you an easy way out. You will endure and you will draw closer to your husband. Do not let your circumstances define your view of God and His Word. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
Trust the Lord and do not lean on your own understanding. Hard times will come, some will be wrought from your choice to marry an unbeliever when you have already been counseled against it. You have believed in your heart that you can change him and “save” him. And you will soon find out that that is a pipe dream, that you can’t change your husband. Only God could do that.
You will be involved in churches that do not value God’s Word or His doctrine on marriage, and you will be disappointed and fall into spiritual depression, but you will endure, because you will stand with God’s Word, and not the fanciful imaginations of men and women. You will be disheartened to learn that those you respected in the Church will choose to serve feelings over sound doctrine, that friendship and praise of the world will be esteemed over and above the counsel of God’s Word.
Do not despair. As the years wax on, you will find the world will become more wicked and that those that stand behind the pulpit do not always represent God, but many represent themselves. That is why we are told to be like the Bereans. God’s Word is truth. Always default to that. No matter what man will say to the contrary.
You will love your husband and you will serve him. You will love your children. Your heart will be broken by your husband and by your children. You will break their hearts, also.
But you will forgive, and you will continue to love them, as Christ has loved you and forgiven you. And they will forgive you. Do not hold bitterness in your heart for those that have sinned against you.
Life is so short. That is not a cliché, that is true. I encourage you to seize your moments, gather them up. There will be happy ones, sad ones, mundane ones, and hard ones. Cherish them all. They will be what God uses and has given to you to grow you and teach you. Do not grow bitterness in your heart, no matter what comes your way.
Bitterness is such a waste of precious time. Grow, instead, love, compassion, patience, kindness, forbearance, charity, understanding, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
Always know that what is in front of you is there by the providence of God and choose to learn from it by God’s grace.
So many times we can despair and we often cause this despair ourselves. Why do we do that? I don’t know but you will do it. Try not to look at our life in an unrealistic light, because that can cause us to despair when our life does not live up to it. We can avoid this by keeping our expectations real.
Your husband is a man. He will not always be interested in your decorating or your sewing. And that’s alright. He may not always notice new hairstyle or new clothes. He may know more about theology, or cars, or how to change filters in heating systems. His interests don’t have to be your interests to love him. Love him because he is the man God has blessed you with. And always think of him as a blessing and appreciate and respect him. Let him know that you are blessed to be married to him. He will love to hear it, and it will be a great encouragement to him. Love him in service, respect, and intimacy. Husbands are not to be our clones. Husbands are not the “Princes” on the Disney cartoons.
No, my dear, husbands, in God’s creation and purpose, has made them very different from us. You will do well to love and embrace what God has made in your husband and not get caught up in how you think you need to change him. You want change? Love, honor and cherish you husband. As God has command, and God will bless your union.
Now, remember, God blesses as He chooses. Do not miss the blessings, because they are not the ones you wanted or thought you wanted.
Pray for your husband. Pray for your children. Be a good example of a godly wife and mother and trust the Lord, He is faithful. God will work in the heart of your husband and your children. Trust Him. Take care with all that God entrusts to your care.
In Christ’s Love,
Your future Self
Looking back is so often so hard because we, or I, tend to cringe at the bad choices and roads I took. But this is part of why I decided to write this blog. I see so many young ladies, as myself thirty-eight years ago, that have no godly counsel. They are starting out with unrealistic expectations. Their expectations are worldly centered instead of Scripturally centered. And I often times am saddened when I hear of the struggles that befall them.
This world is hard, and it seems to be getting harder by the day. I honestly cannot think that Sodom and Gomorrah were worse than we are at now. But the circumstances are not our hope. Our Hope is in our God, IN our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. In our homes and in teaching our young women in the Church, we must keep our eyes on Christ. What I mean by that, largely is that no matter what the noise is saying, whether it be books, magazines, movies, or television, we are to focus on God’s Word as our guide and not the destructive counsel of worldly devices.
The world screams themes contrary to the Bible such as “self-love,” “my body my choice,” “self-esteem,” and “Me first.”
The sound bites of this wicked world, if believed, will most definitely destroy your marriage. The world hates God, and God’s order for the Family, Society and the Church. The worlds counsel destroys and kills marriage, but God, the Creator of marriage, alongside His counsel, wisdom, and commands, will nurture, heal and grow your marriage. Just one thing you always need to remember. Well two, very important commands:
- Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, and soul
- Love your neighbor as yourself.
Marriage is about putting God first, honoring our husbands, like Sarah obeyed Abraham calling him lord. Yes, loving, honoring, and submitting to him. Finding our place is at times, difficult in a world that is contrary and a Church that is bowing to appease. Trust God. Obey God.