Okay here it is! Part 2 of my “Lifetimes of Wisdom” series. If you haven’t already, check out Part 1: Lifetimes of Wisdom to and from Women and compare how The Lord is working in His children through relationships.
One of the most encouraging things I have experienced as a Christian woman is hearing men share how their love for Jesus trumps everything else as they consider marriage relationships. After living with my own man for a few months, I am overwhelmingly reminded of the love of The Father that he would show me the grace to give me someone who loves Him so dearly.
Ladies, if you are single, reading this, and feeling called into a relationship, seek a man like these. If you are in a dating relationship, consider how and if he puts His relationship with the Lord first. If you’re in a marriage relationship, pray that your husband might embody Jesus more and more daily.
Men, read this story. It’s a story of men who love the Lord and have found their satisfaction in Him alone. Then through Him they might find joy in an earthly relationship. If you are single and looking to lead a family, we want someone like this. Seek to follow the wisdom God has bestowed in each of these words written by these men. They are broken, yes. They fail daily, yes. They are reliant on the grace of God. All the more.
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Noah Edmonson, Single Sophomore at WKU
In a world saturated by fleeting romantic companionships, it can be difficult for the Christian. Staying strong in our convictions to actively wait with hopes to pursue a dating relationship that could turn into marriage is hard.
Some may become discouraged.
Others may become willing to compromise convictions so to find affirmation from another person.
My dear brothers (myself included), in seasons of restlessness, we must remember why we wait with patience. Our intention is to someday pursue marriage: a symbol of the heavenly wedding that is to come with Christ and the Church in Revelation 19:6-10.
Does our life display a steadfast love for our patiently waiting Bridegroom? Is Jesus our soul’s delight and treasure? Are we seeking to cultivate and grow our relationship with Him? No woman can take the place of the role that Christ plays in our lives. As our hearts so desperately yearn for that glorious day, someone may catch our eye with that same passion. But if not, do we believe that God is still faithful? All glory to God.
Almost but Not Yet…
Justin Turner, Engaged 4 Months
Engagement has been an incredible time in my relationship, but it’s an in-between phase. As my fiancée once put it, “You’re more than dating, but less than married.” It’s strange.
We like to joke around about engagement, but the reality is that we are in a transitional phase, the end of which marks the beginning of a lifetime serving our Lord together in love.
In this partnership, husbands are tasked with being the spiritual leader of the family. What an incredible responsibility! When I began to realize the weight of my future duties as a husband, I must admit that I became discouraged. Yet God immediately reminded me that He has already shared with us the ultimate example of who I am to be as a husband through Christ.
In Ephesians 5:25, God’s Word gives us what is perhaps the clearest, most important command for husbands: “love your wives, just as Christ loved the church.”
As I prepare for marriage, I am striving for sanctification: becoming more like Christ. It is only through His perfect example that I can be equipped to love and lead in the way I am called.
Tyler Wittmer, Married 2 years
Having only been married for two years, I can still remember preparing for marriage well. An important thing to note upfront is that marriage is in many ways what I expected it to be, but in a thousand other ways nothing l could have been prepared for. No one is really ever 100% “ready” for the sacrifice it takes to give all of themselves to another person. Luckily, Christ is strong where we fall short.
Here are three things that I wish people would have told me in preparing for marriage –
- Pay closer attention to those faithful marriages around you. During marriage preparation, I spent a good amount of time with two families that I highly respected, and paid close attention to how they lived their marriages out and raised their children. What I gained from observing them was incredibly valuable. Look at those who have gone before you. Seek to learn from them.
- Continue to run the race set before you. As Hebrews says, “keep your wedding bed pure.” In preparing for marriage, there will still be temptation. In fact, I would argue that you may have more temptation. The logic goes something like this: “well, we are going to be married so…” This is a point in which you have to remember, as a man preparing for marriage, that your desire is to above all honor God, and in that, you might honor your relationship with your soon-to-be wife.
- Marriage is hard work. We recognize this at weddings, we all shout when the “married couples dance” ends with the eldest couple announcing they have been married for 40 maybe 50+ years. It is a testimony to God’s grace, and his mercy to us! One thing that each of those couples would say however, is that while it is a blessing, man, at times it is hard work. It is good that it is at times difficult though, because it is in those difficult times, you see the sinfulness in yourself and spouse. You realize that you cannot do this on your own, that you need the Lord, and that you can forgive as you have been forgiven, and you can love because you have been loved.
I will end with this challenge: young people, don’t be so caught up in what your marriage “could” or “should” look like. Having those expectations will be harmful in the beginning and laughable once the Lord has given you something better than you could think up.
See, that picture of the perfect marriage in your head is the romanticized idea of what years of hard work and sanctification may result in.
We can get so caught up in wanting that right now, that we forget to put in the work of loving our spouses well RIGHT NOW. This is why I said that you should seek to “learn” from other married couples, while not seeking to “be” them. Work, every single day, work to love your spouse better. Sacrifice for them, study them, listen to them, and when you fail, ask for forgiveness from them. As I am writing this, it strikes me how unqualified I am to write on the subject. I fail at these things so frequently. However, I remember how unqualified I was to receive the grace from Jesus Christ on the cross, and how I so consistently failed him as well. Yet He is still faithful to provide inconceivable grace. Marriage is a gift of God’s grace. You will be constantly reminded of how desperately you need it.
A Few Years Down the Road…
Lance Sledge, Married 25 years
I guess that I can say that after 25 years of marriage, the one thing I have learned is that there is no magic bullet for “having a successful marriage.” The most important thing for a couple entering into a marriage relationship is that Jesus be the at the center of their relationship.
There are a few mindsets that I have tried to put into practice that I think have helped me the most in my married life.
Her happiness should come first!
I’ve discovered if she is happy, I am satisfied. It gives me great pleasure to bring her joy in provision over her. I have made sacrifices because I knew that doing something or getting something would make her happy. But it’s never been a big sacrifice because she has the same mindset. Yes, there are times when I fail and become focused on myself, but time helps. I have learned to recognize and correct without making it a way of life.
Does it really matter?
News flash: my wife does and says things at times that irritate me. When that happens, I have a few choices: complain, deal with it, correct it myself, or talk to her about it. Complaining cannot be not an option because it gets you nowhere except in an argument. I use the other three options randomly depending on the situation because I always try to stop and ask myself “Does it really matter?” 99% of the time the answer is no.
I have to work at it!
Your marriage is similar to a job, a sport, a playing a musical instrument, or any other acquired skill: you have to work on it to be successful. We have attended marriage conferences at churches, completed small group bible studies on marriage, gone on dates, hung out and watched movies, TV shows, and even a few ball games together. We have to work to make time for each other that focuses first on Jesus, then on each other, and everything else comes after those.
Dan Edmonson, Married 30 years
After being married for 30 years, my wife and I often get a quizzical look from people when we share the fact that we have never gone to bed once mad at each other.
Not even close.
Their look says “How can that be?”
Understanding God’s grace and grasping His plan for marriage.
First, His grace in forgiving me of all my sin just stuns me. So how can I not forgive my wife (who adores me by the way) when she does anything that I may think is wrong? I know it was not her intention so I can graciously say it’s alright.
Second, His plan for marriage was to be a taste of heaven when we, as the church, will become the bride of Christ. Talk about the perfect marriage.
So if I can encourage you men preparing for marriage in the near future, I would say one word: Remember. At all times, the good and the bad, remember what He did for you with no strings attached. Remember what He promises you all the more if you are faithful in the things of this life. Remember!