I dedicate this piece to the realest ones I know. What we have is so rare <3
My husband is my best friend. We do everything together. There haven’t been many times since we’ve been married that we’ve spent more than two days apart. We often try to be the first person the other shares news with (or dreams - we both have ideas for days). Eating, showering, sleeping, etc. happens together regularly. All of this can be healthy and necessary for a marriage, but there are definitely times when we need community outside of just each other. I’m sure you and your spouse have been there too. You know, those times when you’ve been so isolated, that when something difficult happens or an argument rages for days, you tend to think no one else understands or cares. No one else is going through this. This problem is unique to us because everyone (on Facebook) has great relationships… *insert side eye*... Lies, girl, lies.
Let’s talk about that a little more, plus, a few other benefits to inviting community into your relationship.
Anyone who’s been married for 5 days knows that the enemy does not care. All of a sudden, exes show up congratulating you on your new marriage. If you go to the beach for your honeymoon, can you safely say that neither one of you will have wandering eyes? And it gets increasingly more difficult after you pass the honeymoon stage peak (about two years in). Maybe you or your spouse has been addicted to pornography. There are all kinds of things, big and (seemingly) small that can threaten our marriages constantly. But things could be easier when we have trusted people in our lives that we can confide in, ask for prayer, and kinda keep us in check. I believe choosing your bridal party is very serious. In my opinion, these are the people who you have chosen and whom have agreed to be the closest people to your marriage. In a sense, as a bridesmaid, I feel a level of responsibility to help encourage you and help you uphold your covenant as a married couple. So think of those few people that can be there for you when you’re tempted to give up.
2. You’re not always right; neither is your spouse
1 Corinthians says that we are members of the same Body. So let’s think of marriage as hand-eye coordination. As the hand and as the eye, you both have very separate and unique functions. Together you have a certain purpose that takes practice to master. That process can be frustrating. When the hand and eye aren’t unified, there’s a tendency to blame the other member. If the eye would just do things my way… if the hand would just see things how I see them… The eye can’t be mad at the hand for not being an eye. And vice versa. As individuals, as men and women, etc., there are things we each do very well. But we’re not always right, and our spouse won’t always see things our way. And that’s fine! Sometimes we need a reminder of that from a different member of the Body. Even with hand-eye coordination, there are other parts of the body that are supporting members to that function (the arm, the head, neck, etc.). So we need others to help us keep a right perspective, celebrate our differences and continue going forward with a unified purpose.
3. We tend to believe lies, often
I can’t tell you how many times my friends and I have discussed situations we’ve gone through with our spouses that were a result of lies we were believing. Whether it be lies about their character, lies about our worth as wives, or lies that tell us that this relationship isn’t going to work out. The enemy will use anything he can to steal our joy, kill our hope and destroy our identity. My husband and I are both thankful that we have friends we could go to in those times of insecurity or doubt. I’m thankful for the opportunity to be a sister to my friends when they go through it as well. It’s such a blessing to have people who will lead you back to Truth.
4. Sometimes things get boring
I mentioned that Matt and I do just about everything together. It’s great, don’t get me wrong. We need space sometimes though. Sometimes we need to see our friends. Sometimes we need to have people over or go on a double date. Isolation is very dangerous; even for two people who are supposed to be one. I asked an officiant friend of mine once what he thought was important to remember when you’re going into marriage. He said that something he will say to the bride and groom is that, in a few days, after the excitement of the wedding has died down, you may not notice your ring on your finger anymore; it just fades to the background. He encourages the soon to be newlyweds to not let that happen to the actual marriage. Being together everyday, doing the mundane things of life, we can easily go through the motions. Having a flow is not a bad thing, but we can find ourselves in patterns sometimes that lead us into places where we feel less connected or disinterested or even feel like you’ve reached the peak of the relationship and there’s no more you can learn from or about each other. Lies. Maybe you all just need a remember that the world has so much depth. God has so much depth and he put that inside of every one of us. Don’t take it for granted. Don’t be afraid to go deeper and allow others to help you get there.
5. Opportunities for Growth
Iron sharpens iron. Facts. I’ve learned so much from others’ experiences in marriage. Also, I don’t know much about the iron sharpening process, but what I assume is that when those iron pieces collide, it’s not exactly music to anyone’s ears. I’m sure carving through layers of iron to get the desired outcome doesn’t come easy either. Such is life in community. Sometimes my friends and I have to say things to each other that are hard to hear and even harder to put into practice. It’s so needed though. Having people in your corner who want to see you succeed and grow in your marriage is such a blessing.
It’s hard to share our business, I know. I’ve been there and tempted to go back, often. I’m not saying you and your spouse shouldn’t have anything that’s just intimately between you two. I’m just saying, there is so many beauty and growth that takes place in your marriage when you invite others to help you learn to do it well.
I want to leave you with these two charges that I hope encourage you and help you see the benefit to having healthy, loving community support your marriage.
13Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the LORD forgave you. 14And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
24And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another-and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
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