The Perfect Wedding
One of the most life changing experiences many of us encounter is exchanging vows with our significant other. In an ideal situation we marry our best friend, the love of our life. What a perfect union, right? Well, did you know as soon as you exchange vows the enemy as knocking on your door, ready to accuse and cause trouble?
We women often plan our dream wedding whether it’s small and intimate or an extravaganza in hopes that our marriage will last for all eternity. Our wedding day is filled with laughter, tears of happiness, and optimism. Who wouldn’t want that day to last forever?
But, when the dust settles and the guests return back to their personal lives all that is left is you, your new husband, an unpredictable journey through life together, and hopefully, God. I warn you without God at the center of your marriage your new role as wife and possibly mother, will be beyond challenging. I’m here to tell you how marriage will test your faith.
Marriage is Hard!
Marriage is hard! These words have echoed in my mind for the last five years. They were spoken to me by my sister, who tried to share her wisdom regarding marriage. It’s easy to remain optimistic about marriage when everything is going right, but the moment you hit your first real bump in the road it can shake you up. This is what happened to me.
I will admit that I was a bit prideful in that my husband and I hadn’t encountered real troubles within the first year. My sister knew better and tried to warn me that it will happen and that I need to accept that ALL marriages will be tested.
In response I would say things like, my husband and I don’t argue, our marriage is different from yours and everyone else’s. Yeah right... Talk about naivety.
Before we exchanged vows we took marriage counseling classes from our church pastor, so I figured we were ahead of the game. I also believed that since my hubby and I dated off and on for 6years prior to marrying I was reassured I knew enough about him, and myself for that matter.
But God has a way of humbling His children. He allowed us to have a fairly blissful ride until He felt it was time to rock our marriage and our faith foundation. I began questioning what had I done to deserve this season of misery.
The Big "D" Word
The first test began August of 2013 when the love of my life expressed he wasn’t happy being married. I was completely blindsided by this because we weren’t an argumentative couple. I assumed that unhappy marriages were a result of constant bickering and fighting.
The revealing of his unhappiness turned into talks about divorce. It was one of the most painful realizations I had to come to terms with. We just celebrated our 1year anniversary that May. Through the grace of God we were able to throw out the idea of divorce and decided to work on our marriage, but not without tears and anguish.
Within the same month I got this great idea that it was time to grow our family. Yup, right after nearly divorcing I wanted to bring children into a volatile marriage. My husband was not on board with this, but I didn’t care (so selfish of me). I longed to be a mother.
God obviously agreed with my husband because He didn't opened my womb until 4years later (I'll discuss my infertility in a future post). Having a baby at that time was not God's perfect plan and it was a difficult pill to swallow.
Financial hardships & Ministry
Two months later my husband left his 6 figure a year salary as a strategic career move, and decided it was time to relocate to Atlanta. For three years we struggled financially as my hubby tried to find his way in a foreign job market. We took the worst financial blow EVER in our lives. I felt stripped and vulnerable.
It was during this time I was led into online ministering. It was God’s way to allow my testimony to be heard and to remind women not to give up and to turn to Him, always.
I will warn you that when you have a ministry of any kind, especially if you are a woman there will be people who desire to do you harm. Their sole objective is to get you to give up on what God has called you to do. Don’t give up!
The enemy isn’t in the business of bringing people to salvation or uplifting and encouraging others. Satan want’s to kill, steal, and destroy. And that includes marriages and ministries, remember that.
So, there I was growing my ministry and being attacked by those who opposed it. Talk about adding insult to injury. I was dealing with so much as it was, now this.
Loosing my breath
So in three short years I nearly filed for divorce, moved multiple times, suffered extreme financial difficulties, discovered I had fertility challenges, and had my ministry assaulted. It was like I couldn’t breathe. I questioned how much more could I bear?
Despite it all…
Despite all that my husband and I have endured our marriage bond has grown stronger. No longer are talks of divorce discussed. In fact we often talk about our future children. It was the difficult times that increased our faith and matured our relationship with God.
I want to share back in December 2012 the Holy Spirit told me my season of peace and rest was coming to an end. I became all too comfortable in the way life was going and it was my time to endure a season difficulty. As you just read everything began to unravel nearly 9 months later.
Keeping God close
To be honest, I couldn’t imagine going through something like that without God by my side. I know people do it every day, but if they could only come to realize they don’t have to suffer alone.
That taking their own life when things get too overwhelming is not the answer.
That walking away from your family is not the solution to life’s problems.
God’s mercy and grace is sufficient enough. This is why it’s imperative we share the gospel to the lost and uplift brothers and sisters in Christ who are struggling – they need to know Him intimately.
There are lessons to be learned even in our trials and tribulations. I learned firsthand how God is the ultimate provider regardless of how paying your rent or electricity looks impossible at the moment. He can bring comfort in the midst of a hurricane. My prayer life is on a whole new level now because of these experiences.
God showed me weaknesses that lied dormant within me. I realized I wasn’t a Miss know it all and I needed my husband’s wisdom in this situation. For once in my marriage it was okay to give up control and to allow my husband to lead. It also brought out the worst in me which solidifies that we are merely filthy rags and sinners without Jesus Christ.
That season of difficulty revealed strengths in my husband I didn’t know existed. I am beyond blessed my husband did not take the easy way out and stayed to fight for everything the enemy took from us. When I was down he was an encourager and reminded me the goodness of our Creator. Through his faith and actions, too many to list, my husband confirmed I married that right man.
Some Things Really Don’t Matter
I want to share with you a few things that don’t matter in marriage. Society has created this fantasy that in order to have a successful marriage you need this and that. Sometimes it takes a situation such as mine to realize the importance aspects of marriage. Here are a few things that should never determine your happiness in marriage:
Owning your dream house
Having children that are biologically yours (a blended family & adoptive children are a blessing too)
Having a 6 figure salary
Wearing a big rock on your finger
Driving fancy cars
Taking extravagant vocations every year
Having a loaded 401K
Having a perfectly decorated home
Having children because people say you should
Going to extreme measures to maintain your youthful appearance (vanity)
I created this list because everything can be taken away from you within seconds. God forbid if that happens is your marriage built on solid rock or sinking sand? Can you continue on if your home gets foreclosed, your car repossessed or you lose a child? Don’t allow these things to make or break your relationship with your husband or even God.
I made up my mind that I would love and honor my husband just the same if we lived in a cardboard box.
You + Husband + God = a blessed marriage
Keep God at the Center
The bottom line is marriage is hard and don’t be fooled for one second that it’s not. When the honeymoon is over be prepared for a reality check. But, and a big BUT, if you keep God at the center you can overcome anything and walk out stronger, wiser, and more encouraged than ever before.
When your marriage is built on Godly principles you can weather the storms that strip you of the things you hold dear to your heart.
My marriage struggles may differ from yours especially, if there are children involved but, remember the vow you took before God, it’s a very serious commitment not to be taken lightly.
Regardless how challenging your present circumstance may be always speak life into your marriage and into your children.
Lastly, find lessons to be learned in good times and bad times. It will make you prudent and your wise counsel can help another couple reframe from splitting up. Remember, that’s what the enemy wants - don’t give him the satisfaction.
Yes, marriage will test your faith but it is also a beautiful thing and a blessing from above. Enjoy it and never take it for granted.
––Call to Action––
If you are married, how please share how long was it before you encountered rocky waters and what advice would you give someone thinking about marriage?