4 Lessons from 4 Months of Marriage

By Emily Pollard

Most people will admit to you that marriage is hard. If someone has told you marriage is easy, they’ve probably never been married. Many married couples will also readily admit that they are still learning after 15, 20, even 30 years of practice. That’s because marriage is just plain hard sometimes. Think about what you’re called to do as a spouse…

*Become one with another person

*Love your spouse unconditionally and selflessly

*Help your spouse grow spiritually

*Submit (as the wife) or lead the family (as the husband)

These responsibilities can be daunting but, aside from our own relationship with the Savior, I can’t think of a more rewarding and God-glorifying relationship than a godly marriage. My husband, Carl, and I have only been married for 4 months. So, I am by no means an expert on marriage, but there are 4 marriage-altering lessons that I have learned through trial and error (mostly error) in the short time we’ve been married.

1. Sharing is caring.

Opening up with one another about our deepest struggles and most shameful moments is something Carl’s and my personalities are naturally resistant to. The fear of disappointing your spouse or shame of admitting mistakes/temptations is crippling for many. However, the husband-and-wife relationship is called by God to be unified (Gen. 2:24). A key ingredient in growing as one is knowing your spouse and being known by your spouse. A strong line of communication between a husband and wife eliminates and simplifies so many problems. If you truly care for your spouse, you will work to share every part of life with them, and you will provide the safe space for him/her to communicate openly with you. As brother and sister in Christ, spouses are also called to speak the truth with one another (Eph. 4:25). It is possible to discuss uncomfortable and/or tense matters with your spouse. Hiding matters that need to be shared will hinder unity between you and your spouse.

2. Silence is powerful.

The power your words have over your spouse’s spirit is humbling. It is also easy to abuse. While honesty is always the best policy, being too honest is possible. If you are an opinionated person (like me), it is so tempting to blurt out advice or correction at every turn. While the peanut gallery comments don’t usually come from a mind of pride and hostility, they are discouraging and demeaning to your spouse. We all need correction at times (Gal. 6:1). That isn’t the point. The point is you married your spouse because you love who they are, and you like the way they think. Micromanaging their dishwashing method, the way they brush their teeth, or correcting them in front other people is destructive. In James 3, the tongue is compared to a small fire that can set an entire forest ablaze (James 3:4-6). The words your spouse hears from you can make them or break them. Don’t nag. Even if your spouse is wrong, it doesn’t mean they need you to tell them (James 4:11). Chances are, they already know and would admit it if you gave them the chance. The world is full of judgment and criticism. Your spouse needs you to build them up, not knock them down more (1Thess. 5:14).

3. Respect your spouse’s role.

While the world often describes God’s design for marriage as degrading toward women and partial toward men, anyone who seeks to fulfill God’s roles for men and women in marriage sees firsthand that there are challenges for husbands and wives. While we know this to be true, we still make our spouse’s job harder sometimes by disrespecting the challenges they face in trying to be a submissive wife or leading husband. The bottom line, it’s hard to be the leader (Eph. 5:23), and it’s hard to be submissive (Eph. 5:24). But what makes it easier is dwelling on the different yet often equally challenging commands you are each striving to fulfill. In the midst of an argument or a life-altering decision, remember that you both have difficult roles to maintain. Above all, you are both still in submission to God’s final say (1 Cor. 11:3)

4. Be willing to sacrifice.

A healthy marriage is not without sacrifice from both parties. As a Christian your goal is to love your spouse as Christ has demonstrated love for us in His own life. Christ was aware of what we needed before you and I even existed. Pay attention to your spouse, not just what they say, but their mood or things they may need that they don’t ask for. In order to provide the salvation we needed, Jesus “emptied Himself” (Phil. 2:7), “humbled himself” (Phil 2:8), and “bore our sins” (1 Pet. 2:24). In other words, Jesus denied His own wants, did so without complaining and fixed a problem we couldn’t fix on our own. Do the same for your spouse. If Christ was willing to endure abuse, mockery, and crucifixion because He loved us, surely we can make trivial sacrifices like helping with chores or letting your spouse pick dinner for once. Christ spent 33 years of His life on earth for us. We can take time out of our day to check on our spouse and provide for their needs.

These are just 4 out of the countless lessons to be learned in marriage. I know Carl and I have a lifetime worth of growing to do together. Praise God for the blessing of marriage!

Dear Chelsea

By Chelsea Pollard

Kathy’s article two weeks ago really got me thinking. Since leaving home I’ve frequently thought, “I wish I knew this when I was younger.” I know this is something everyone’s experienced! While it’s nice to have the knowledge, it’s quite frustrating. I could have saved myself from so much heartache, embarrassment, anger, regret and pain. 

Sometimes I feel like I don’t have any wisdom to offer since I’m still in my early 20’s and I’m not a mom (unless you consider Bear to be my child, because I do #dogmom). But I’ve often thought about things I wish I knew growing up and about what I could’ve done differently.

Here’s what I would tell myself:

  • Your parents are more than likely trying their best. I am ashamed to say that I was maybe 20 when I realized that my parents are people, too. They have their own struggles, whether it’s sin related or mental or physical health. Or all of the above! They’ve been through their own trauma and have to cope with it while raising a child. They are trying to figure it out and they’re not perfect. Show them grace and patience. Recognize what they do for you and thank them every now and then.
  • Take time to ground yourself where you are. We all struggle with this, but focus on the now. Stay out of the past. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side.  Stop creating scenarios in your head. Spend time with people you love and be present.
  • For the most part, your current trials are temporary and likely won’t matter in a year or two. That does not make them any easier, but putting them into perspective and keeping a positive outlook will make a world of difference. 
  • While this is sometimes used as a cop out, there are times when “you’ll understand when you’re older” is a legitimate statement. There are some concepts that you can’t fully understand until you have life experience. Get that through your head, young Chelsea. 
  • Take your relationship with God seriously. Have your own faith. If you have questions, please ask. If you can’t find the answer, keep trying! The answers are out there. Finding your own faith is liberating and exciting! There’s nothing like having a personal relationship with your Creator. 

Learning these things the hard way is unforgettable, but often costs so much more. Some mistakes can live with you your whole life! It might not be glamorous or fun but your adult life could be 70 or 80 years longer than teen and young adult years. Do your future self a favor and remember that your parents are likely doing their best and have troubles, too. Enjoy the present. Your current trials are temporary, and being positive will you make an even stronger person. Accept that there are some concepts we can’t understand until life widens our perspective. Most importantly, challenge your faith and make it your own. Learn from my mistakes and your future self will thank you!!!

11011530_1066532630025909_47565905883826863_n