The first time I met Matty was at a game night at his brother's house. His brother had married a long time family friend. I was headed off to college and this was sort of a last hurrah hang out time. I knew who Matt was, but had never spent anytime with him. I walked away from that night thinking he was the biggest dork ever. Time passed, I would come home for the summers, serve in my church and then head back to school. Matt says there are a couple of times I even sat right next to him. I honestly don't even remember. At one point he even showed up on my college campus with a buddy to meet a girl they had been chatting with online. That was a new rage back then. We ran into each other in the lobby of my dorm, I wished him luck and continued on my way. Poor guy, at the time I was very focused on my studies & friends.
My hard work paid off; I graduated a semester early and headed home with zero idea of what to do next. It's going to date me a little, but at this time there weren't any IPhones and even though I had a hunk of a computer, I didn't have internet. So I would head over to my someday sister-n-law's house to hang out and borrow her's. I eventually ended up helping her & her hubby with the youth group at our church, which Matt was a big part of. He also started showing up every time I came over for lunch or what not. There's so much more to this story, but in an effort to keep it somewhat short...we spent the summer hanging out and serving together and by the end of it, without much discussion, both knew we were the one. Without any dating, Matty asked my dad for his blessing and then proposed.
We have now been married for 17 years, lived in 12 states, worked for several different radio ministries and are raising three amazing young men. It hasn't been easy. Marriage and parenthood never are. I can remember a few times that I have wanted to give up. I specifically remember screaming, " I finished!" as I jumped out of the car in a corn field in the middle of nowhere Arkansas. There have been days when the adventure of it shines brightly and days that the fire just wasn't there anymore.
So what made it all stick? We barely knew each other when we got married, wrestled through infertility, waded through disillusionment in ministry, sank a couple of financial boats and have experienced more change than several couples put together. There's are a couple of ways to look at it...
#1 - It's not about me.
I think sometimes, we women carry a bridezilla complex into our marriages. It's easy to focus on what he is or isn't doing for us. Most often the poor guy isn't even aware of our expectations and when he doesn't meet them we hold a grudge until he figures it out.
I remember one time, in our first year of marriage, I felt like the dear hubby wasn't pulling his weight around the house. Instead of just asking for help, I stormed around angry and when he didn't catch on, I left in a huff prepared to squeal the tires as I left. Little did I know he followed me out of the house and was standing behind the car. There was definitely a tire squeal as I slammed on the brakes just bumping into him.
It all boiled down to selfishness. And it usually always does. Whenever we are having a problem, I need to step back and observe my motives. I cannot make Matty do want I want, or see things my way. But I can lay down my will, wants & self. Marriage isn't about me, it's about love. And real love serves and it sacrifices.
This is my commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. Greater love has no man than this,
that one lay down his life for a friend.
#2 - It's not about him.
When I make this statement, I mean he isn't the answer. Yes, he's my best friend, my helper and he's walking this journey with me. But it cycles back to my expectations. He was not created to fulfill my every need. He is not my Savior. If I am looking through the eternal lens, he is my brother in Christ. We are to be iron sharpening iron; pointing each other to Jesus. This has been the number one freeing truth in our marriage. When I truly embrace this fact, I can have more grace. My love does become patient & kind & serving.
#3 - It's all about God.
It's no secret here at So That God that the purpose of life is the glory of God, and marriage is no different. It's a wonderful picture of our relationship with God. He calls us His Bride. When we are living selflessly, serving one another in love it points back to the ultimate love of Jesus dying and giving His life for us. We can makes goals for our lives together that include financial stability, healthy well adjusted kiddos, family vacations and more. There is nothing wrong with those things, but we need to do so through the lens of glorifying God.
...whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
1 Corinthians 10:31b
It's not over...
Lord willing, we will keep counting the years as they roll through our lives together. The key is to remember these two truths and glue it all together with prayer. Somedays will be easy, others will be messy. It's a cycle of remembering, forgetting and remembering again. I can keep loving when I see through these lenses So That God is glorified and my marriage is made whole.