Love & Marriage
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her…”
– Ephesians 5:25 –
I marched into marriage on 31 October 2015, armed with the belief that my husband should love me just as Christ did.
Just as Christ did… What a high calling!
The love of Christ for me is immense – He forgave me of all my sin and hypocrisy, and restored me to a place where I was once again able to worship God freely, without the weight of sin standing as a wall between me and God. He walked with me through various heartaches and gave me assurance of His faithfulness. He was patient with my character flaws, and never once condemned me for them, but gently reminded me that I was not to be flippant about changing and becoming a better person. Christ is the epitome of perfect and loving faithfulness to me.
And my husband was not. Or so I thought.
I found myself constantly picking on everything that he did or didn’t do, and measuring it against what I thought the perfect, sensitive, husband and leader of the household should be like. I wondered why he couldn’t always be gentle and kind with his words and actions. I was embittered by his dedication to serving others at work and in church, seeing it as costing me his time and affection. I was fearful that I wouldn’t have enough of his love. That left me constantly grasping for more, and never satisfied.
Of course, this lack of peace in my heart took its toll on us as a newly wedded couple. But I thank the Lord that He saw us through that, and used that season to mature my perspectives.
I learnt that I needed to trust that my husband loved me, just that he didn’t always love me in exactly the way I wanted to be loved. I learnt to give him the benefit of the doubt that his intentions were good, instead of being prejudiced and suspicious of him.
I learnt that whatever ideals I had of marriage needed to negotiated between the two of us, not just insisted upon and imposed on the other. I needed to bear in mind that if I believed in, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her…”, then I should also believe in, “Wives, submit to your own husbands as to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:22).
Finally, I learnt to not make my husband’s love an idol, but to be satisfied in God’s love so that I wouldn’t substitute my husband’s love for God’s.
This first year of marriage has not been the easiest, but it has been a place of great encounter with God.
If the flapping of a butterfly’s wings a few weeks earlier can alter the formation and trajectory of a hurricane, Charlene who finds joy in being a special needs teacher, hopes to flex the power of writing to make a difference in the lives of readers.